As Becoming Steve Jobs launches, its co-writer Brent Schlender ponders what the tech guru would have made of his company’s latest product
“The best way to understand Steve Jobs’ approach to computer technology is that he described it as ‘building the whole widget’; Apple software, tailored to work for its own designs. He followed that approach particularly from 1983 and the advent of the Macintosh.
“The first Apple product to expand the size of the widget was the iPod. Think about it – it was just another hard drive you could plug into your computer. But it also had an amplifier and a headphone socket so you could listen to music – your computer on-the-go. The iPhone took that one stage further, synergising the relationship between computer and person. Then there was the iPad, a lean-back computer used in concert with other devices.
“Now there’s the Apple Watch. You’ll see it a lot in the car where there’s easy screen interaction; it’ll also work in tandem with your laptop or iPhone. That expands the widget further still.
“As for the watches, they’re beautiful objects – they blur technology into jewellery. I don’t know if I’ll buy one, but there are many people who will. We’ll see if it sticks – usually, with Apple, it does. If not, they improve it.
“From the outset, Apple’s and Steve Jobs’ plan was to design a way of interacting with technology to make it almost disappear. The iPod had the thumbwheel. With the Watch, the crown’s an ingenious feature, another is that it’s pressure-sensitive – different options come up depending on how hard you push the screen.
“Jobs helped coin the cultural concept of the personal computer. Then he made these devices even more personal. Before him, computers were a business tool. That left an opening for Jobs. In the last 15 years of his life, he filled this opening with great products – so great they’re being sold to billions of customers. He made the computer something that could fit in the pocket, and now something you can wear on your wrist.”
Becoming Steve Jobs by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli is out now, priced £25 (Sceptre)