[NTLK] End of year reflections

Forrest newtonphoenix at mindspring.com
Thu Jan 3 15:07:19 EST 2013

On Jan 2, 2013, at 5:46 PM, James Fraser <wheresthatistanbul-newtontalk at yahoo.com> wrote:

> So while what Steve Jobs said might well have *seemed* like a promise (I won't attempt to make any claims about he did or didn't mean to say), once you take the context into consideration, the weight of his words might not seem quite so imposing.  I can't say for sure, exactly.  
> I'm only asking that you sit back for a moment and consider the possibility that Steve wasn't viewing what he was saying as any sort of long-term commitment, but only as how he was seeing things at that particular moment in time during a casual chat with someone whom he hardly knew and who wasn't (at least as far as I can tell) acting in any sort of media representative role at the time.

VERY well thought-out and written. I enjoyed your "take" on the Adam Tow-Steve Jobs exchange, and agree with it. I wanted to add two comments of my own:

1) I also don't claim to have any insight into Steve Jobs' mind or its workings. Like nearly all of us on here (I suspect), I have had no communication with nor have I ever met the man. Having said that, I can add that I believe Jobs did not have very many moments of hand-wringing, sleepless nights, indecision or uncertainty when it came to giving the thumbs-up (or down) to product continuation and development. His legacy suggests that upon his return he made decisions quickly and with a God-given gut instinct that, to Apple's overwhelmingly great fortune, was almost always (or, was always?) correct and true. He strikes me as the kind of successful businessman who made great decisions and whose mind, once made up with those decisions, was already thinking and moving ahead to the next (no pun intended).

2) I've given this next matter a lot of thought. Perhaps, by martyring the Newton, he unconsciously ensured that it would continue on. Think about it: most companies continue to flog a product (successful or semi-successful) until they have wrung the life out of it, long past its useful life span. While the Newton started out with bad PR due to the initially poor handwriting and subsequent Doonesbury cartoon, imagine how bad it might have been if it had been allowed to continue to compete with the likes of Palm (and Sharp and Microsoft CE). The Newton was already much larger and heavier than the Palm and the others, and it seems unlikely that Apple would have given up all that screen real estate for a smaller form factor (perhaps with a color display) just to compete...as Apple doesn't usually follow others, but leads through innovation. So, would we have ended up with a bloated, larger and ultimately unsatisfying device? Or, as James points out, one that was effectively "liberated" for our own use? From what I've read, the iPad concept was already being developed in 1998, but due to emerging technology was still years away.

Just some thoughts on all this.


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