Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 15th Oct 2010 20:54 UTC
Apple Is it an indication of Steve Jobs' (in)famous strive for perfection, or just stupid bone-headedness? The white variant of the iPhone 4 was first delayed for a few weeks, but those few weeks became 'end of the year'. Now we know why: the manufacturers Apple employs are apparently having issues matching the shades of white of the various components. This anecdote ties in nicely with a very interesting interview with John Sculley about Steve Jobs' ways of doing business.
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Comment by n.l.o
by n.l.o on Fri 15th Oct 2010 20:59 UTC
n.l.o
Member since:
2009-09-14

Link to the Sculley interview is down. ;)

Reply Score: 1

"Shades of white"
by Elv13 on Fri 15th Oct 2010 21:22 UTC
Elv13
Member since:
2006-06-12

"Shades of white"
There's your problem ;)

Reply Score: 5

Meanwhile...
by thebackwash on Fri 15th Oct 2010 21:35 UTC
thebackwash
Member since:
2005-07-06

Meanwhile, the shareholders turned a whiter shade of pale.

Edited 2010-10-15 21:35 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Meanwhile...
by aliquis on Sat 16th Oct 2010 17:38 UTC in reply to "Meanwhile..."
aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

The Apple share holders must be happy:
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=AAPL&t=2y&l=on&z=l&q=l&c=

It don't seem to care much about negative world views:
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=AAPL&t=6m&l=on&z=l&q=l&c=

At the worlds collapse everyone will be twittering it on their iPhones?!

Reply Score: 2

Comment by Kroc
by Kroc on Fri 15th Oct 2010 21:45 UTC
Kroc
Member since:
2005-11-10

Now Sony want to be Apple.

Reply Score: 6

Hmmm
by coreyography on Fri 15th Oct 2010 22:23 UTC
coreyography
Member since:
2009-03-06

I wonder how can he hold up shipment of the iPhone because of color mismatches, yet not only ship but *design* them with antennas that are in electrical contact with the user's body...

I won't deny he's doing something right, and his company is a refreshing break from the cheap commodity mentality that is consumer electronics (and at least somewhat justifies the price premium), but I guess his meticulous, visionary attention to detail only comes into play in areas he has expertise in.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Hmmm
by galvanash on Fri 15th Oct 2010 23:39 UTC in reply to "Hmmm"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

This was an embarrassment to be sure, but it really is blown all out of proportion... The problem does not occur with a bumper case (or any other case for that matter), and even without one it doesn't occur unless you hold the device a certain way. And on top of that it only matters under certain conditions (you are in an area with poor reception in the first place).

Can it actually affect users? Sure, but it is going to be statistically infrequent. Imo the media latched on to it because reporting that Apple screwed something so trivial up in a product release was something they rarely got the opportunity to do.

That is what the media does - I'm certainly not whining about it, hell its just how human nature works - Apple had built up a reputation of being "Little Miss Perfect" (probably undeservedly, but that was the media image of them none-the-less) and everyone likes taken someone like that down a notch when the opportunity arises.

My only point is in hindsight it really wasn't a big deal, a minor hick-up at worst. Apple has had FAR worse problems in other products...

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hmmm
by flanque on Sat 16th Oct 2010 04:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Hmmm"
flanque Member since:
2005-12-15

You're probably right that it was blown out of proportion but I think what really allowed this grassfire to explode in something worse is that Apple simply made up excuses and denied the issue even existed, when it clearly was present. It was the arrogence of their response.

I would have thought Apple would know to not try and fight the press.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hmmm
by tomcat on Mon 18th Oct 2010 19:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Hmmm"
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

This was an embarrassment to be sure, but it really is blown all out of proportion... The problem does not occur with a bumper case (or any other case for that matter), and even without one it doesn't occur unless you hold the device a certain way. And on top of that it only matters under certain conditions (you are in an area with poor reception in the first place).


I think the real embarrassment was how Apple denied that it was even a problem, in the first place. They care more about industrial design than they do about basic utility. Remember the Cube servers that didn't have a fan that essentially turned into molten blocks? Niiice.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Hmmm
by kaiwai on Sat 16th Oct 2010 03:21 UTC in reply to "Hmmm"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I wonder how can he hold up shipment of the iPhone because of color mismatches, yet not only ship but *design* them with antennas that are in electrical contact with the user's body...


It only happens in certain situations; I'd put money on it the issue was raised but the conclusion was that the number of people who would handle the phone like a gorilla would be few in number. Something Steve needs to understand, there are a lot of gorillas out there who like man handling everything they touch.

I won't deny he's doing something right, and his company is a refreshing break from the cheap commodity mentality that is consumer electronics (and at least somewhat justifies the price premium), but I guess his meticulous, visionary attention to detail only comes into play in areas he has expertise in.


Apple wasn't the only one who did this; years ago before the debasement of technology as a race to the bottom there were companies who would spend time on fit and finish. Companies who realised that yes, having a fast computer is great but what about the feel of the computer and the operating system, the way in which expansions were designed and fit into the main computer.

The problem is we have people on this very forum who want NZ$700 computers but then whine when it doesn't operate like a NZ$2300 MacBook Pro or a Sony Vaio. You get what you're willing to pay for - there is a price you pay if you want something that is above the 'race to the bottom' quality that Dell, Acer, Toshiba and HP/Compaq have indulged in. But even with Sony they're at the mercy of Microsoft, where Microsoft's quality fortunes go so will theirs.

I've always been a fan of the vertically integrated model where the computer vendor owns the operating system itself. I've stated several times that if a big OEM embraced *BSD, built a great GUI and framework on top, created a set of home grown applications in house to bundle with the computer, got third parties on board with a great set of development tools, they would be able to carve out a niche where they can keep all the value in house rather than losing 1/3 of it to Microsoft each time a computer is shipped.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Hmmm
by Neolander on Sat 16th Oct 2010 06:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Hmmm"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

In my opinion, this feeling that engineering both hardware and software makes the product better is totally wrong in the case of desktop/laptop. I rather see it as an error : when people dislike Mac hardware, they ditch Mac software as well, while the latter is arguably much more well-done. It's just a profit loss.

There's really nothing wrong with computer hardware nowadays (well, except the overheating Acers), except if you want something *really* exotic and useless like a touchscreen to be duck-taped on it.

The sole thing that goes currently wrong in the PC market is that after both HW and SW are manufactured, HW manufacturers are in charge of putting those together and put loads of crap in software. For this to change, the OS manufacturer must be very clear : installing anything but drivers voids the hw manufacturer's right of selling the OS. They make hardware, software is not their realm.

Most of the other problems we have with our computers daily rather come from OS legacy, poor OS design decisions, and bad OS-software vendor interaction. It's this, in my opinion, that needs to be fixed... And it's the realm of software, not hardware.

Edited 2010-10-16 06:33 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Hmmm
by MysterMask on Sun 17th Oct 2010 12:34 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hmmm"
MysterMask Member since:
2005-07-12

In my opinion, this feeling that engineering both hardware and software makes the product better is totally wrong in the case of desktop/laptop.


I beg to differ.

Have a look at smartphones (they've become somehow the equivalent of the PC's of the 19xx in the 20xx era). Put something new like a compass in a phone and *poof* - new innovative software is written to the benefit of end users.

It's more difficult to get end user innovations without a vertical model i. e. a clear vision of a feature that consists of HW to support it and software to use it.

HW vendors have no real incentive for innovation without software vendors (which means primarily Microsoft) supporting new features properly.

I even think that the PC industry somewhat (not entirely) relies on vertical integrated vendors such as Apple as a driver or accelerator for progress (others like the game industry influence HW performance). We've all seen what happened to the adoption of things like USB, web cams or DVI out on laptops, etc. when vendors such as Apple start to push such technologies. It doesn't mean that Apple always succeeds (think FireWire), but it's one major first step for certain HW to gain traction.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Hmmm
by Neolander on Sun 17th Oct 2010 13:40 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hmmm"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

The phone market is different from the PC market. There are a lot of possible HW/SW combinations, and no standard has emerged (and hopefully none will ever will, since phones answer much more varied use cases than computer so a single hardware would be a very bad idea)

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Hmmm
by MysterMask on Sun 17th Oct 2010 14:51 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Hmmm"
MysterMask Member since:
2005-07-12

I see no fundamental difference between the PC and the Phone. Just because the speed of change in the (more mature) PC HW market is slower doesn't mean we have to stick to PS2 and be thankful for it.

since phones answer much more varied use cases than computer so a single hardware would be a very bad idea)


??
Up till now I thought PCs were the versatile 'everything is possible' machines while phones are primarily phones and as such, they are restricted to mobile use, i. e. have limits when it comes to size, power usage, etc. You can use your PC as a phone - you can't use your phone with a 30'' monitor, scanner, printer, blu-ray drive, ..

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Hmmm
by Neolander on Sun 17th Oct 2010 20:26 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Hmmm"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I see no fundamental difference between the PC and the Phone. Just because the speed of change in the (more mature) PC HW market is slower doesn't mean we have to stick to PS2 and be thankful for it.

Of course, but on a mature market like PC hardware, you don't expect to see people breaking things everyday in an attempt to make something new, like in the Linux desktop or in the smartphone market. Customer needs have moved towards stabilization and only gradual improvements (faster processing and networking, cheaper devices, a wider range of screen sizes, better battery life).
Actually, I think it's a good thing. Computers have become tools used at work. As such, they need to have the stability of a tool. People don't want added features in screw drivers and drills everyday, they want something cheap and working properly.

No sure if I made myself clear enough.

since phones answer much more varied use cases than computer so a single hardware would be a very bad idea)

??
Up till now I thought PCs were the versatile 'everything is possible' machines while phones are primarily phones and as such, they are restricted to mobile use, i. e. have limits when it comes to size, power usage, etc. You can use your PC as a phone - you can't use your phone with a 30'' monitor, scanner, printer, blu-ray drive, ..

That is a long gone dream. Since that thought was widespread, people have discovered (again) that "one size fits all" is fundamentally a bad idea.

A lcd screen, no matter how well-engineered, is not good for reading books. It's better to have a dedicated device with a e-ink or pixelQi screen. Fundamentally, PCs are also too big to answer some user needs (take texting as an example : if I need to communicate something to somebody quickly in the middle of a crowded train, I just can't put my laptop out of my bag, and using it... well... don't even think of it).

Today, PCs have settled on a range of needs :
-Office work (Worxelpoint)
-Heavy web browsing and communication (when you have a lot of time to spend)
-Heavy data acquisition (from a peripheral)
-Number crunching, data analysis
-Multimedia content creation
-High-end entertainment (high-quality games, watching movies when you don't have a TV)
-Programming

That's more or less it. So until holographic displays and telepathic communication are here... We more or less have everything we need to do that on the average computer. With their nice general-purpose hardware, PCs are more or less skilled in an area or another, you just choose one depending on your needs.

Phones are another story. There is a world between a Nokia N900 and Sagem's "just to talk" mobile phones. Phones generally only target communication, light entertainment and content consumption, but because of their small size and low price they can't even target all of that. They are fundamentally specialized devices. You can, as an example, see the following software/hardware combinations on the phone market :
-Basic phone (extremely good for voice call and light texting, but nothing else. Dying breed)
-Average guy's phone (like the basic phone, but with some added multimedia and light entertainment features at the cost of battery life and build quality)
-Keyboard phone (has a full azerty keyboard and often a decent mail client. Allows much better written communication than the ones above, but worse portability. Either quite expensive and packed with a lot of features, or a variant of the average guy's phone with crappier build quality and battery life)
-Overpriced toy (come with a touchscreen and very expensive. Completely ditch communication in favor of better web browsing and heavier entertainment, close to a portable video game console and a good DAP. Pretend to be able to do everything because the API is disclosed, in practice not so much except if you like farts)

Edited 2010-10-17 20:38 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hmmm
by aliquis on Sat 16th Oct 2010 17:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Hmmm"
aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

What a complete bullshit. I wanted to say this even to the post above.


I've got a Macbook Pro, and it suck. End of story.

Sure laptops in general probably suck much more than desktops, and even more so than workstations. I'd still assume an IBM Thinkpad would had been much better.

And atleast I definitely didn't got what I paid for. How the fuck can someone say that about any Apple product? Unless you think "paying for brand" matters.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hmmm
by modmans2ndcoming on Sat 16th Oct 2010 18:24 UTC in reply to "RE: Hmmm"
modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

isn't that exactly what Apple has done?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hmmm
by alcibiades on Sun 17th Oct 2010 08:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Hmmm"
alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

kaiwai, this is terminally confused about the way the PC market and industry is.

All PC vendors are packaging from a small range of standard components. You have three or four hard drive makers, all of whose products connect to other components identically. You have two graphics card vendors. Half a dozen main board suppliers, and only two processor vendors. Memory, there is more, but one memory chip is also exactly like another in terms of connectivity.

The only differentiation in the OS between Apple, Windows and Linux is Apple's attempts to restrict what their OS will install on. Otherwise, in how it relates to hardware, there is no difference. There could not be, if you think about it, because the hardware is identical. There is no more difference between a given Mac and a given Dell in terms of hardware than there is between two different Dells or a Dell and an HP. They are using slightly different selections from the same set of hardware components.

The cases are very different. But I don't suppose even the most fanatical Apple adherents maintain that what really makes the famous Apple quality is integration between the OS and the case?

This whole thing is a complete nonsense. What we have here is an OS which is slightly different but no better than the alternatives, being deliberately crippled in terms of what it can run on, and then used as the differentiator in a designer brand.

Its all about branding. It has nothing to do with engineering or design or integration or the rest of this stuff. It belongs to the history of marketing, not design or engineering. One has to say that as such, its brilliant. But that is all it is.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Hmmm
by MysterMask on Sun 17th Oct 2010 11:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hmmm"
MysterMask Member since:
2005-07-12


The only differentiation in the OS between Apple, Windows and Linux is Apple's attempts to restrict what their OS will install on. Otherwise, in how it relates to hardware, there is no difference.


Strange. There is e. g. a huge difference in HW usability, though. I've never seen a Dell having something like target disk mode. Do HPs come with EFI? Why has DVI output been a standard on even the cheapest Mac laptops for years while HP's still used VGA, etc. etc.

I see Apple's HW design choices (and yes: even if the number of suppliers of components is limited, there's still such a thing as a HW design) less a restriction than a set of choices that affects their software. It's part of the platform they build on. E. g. iChat (AV) is a SW that directly relies on the availability of a cam on every Apple laptop. Even something trivial as sound output - I've never had a Mac with lousy sound output while the HP I have to use at work - even though it has a distinct sound card - has horrible sound quality.

Do you want to know why HP even bothered to put a sound chip in the PC? Easy - there are still way to much idiots that think a spec sheet tells the whole story. And that's why some people come to the wrong conclusion that it doesn't matter if you buy HP, Dell, Apple, IBM or whatever.
However, consumer thinks otherwise ..

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/macbook-laptops-consumer-reports,7...

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Hmmm
by Neolander on Sun 17th Oct 2010 13:38 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hmmm"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Strange. There is e. g. a huge difference in HW usability, though. I've never seen a Dell having something like target disk mode.

What's that ?

Do HPs come with EFI?

I don't know about HP, but my Asus laptop has EFI (just set up to bios emulation as a default setting, for obvious reasons).

Why has DVI output been a standard on even the cheapest Mac laptops for years while HP's still used VGA, etc. etc.

Because DVI is highly overrated ;) No, seriously, as of today, screen connectivity is moving towards HDMI (which is a good thing since it finally unifies TV and computer connectivity). Most laptops come with HDMI connectivity built-in nowadays, except those from Apple (or have they changed their mind recently ?)

I see Apple's HW design choices (and yes: even if the number of suppliers of components is limited, there's still such a thing as a HW design) less a restriction than a set of choices that affects their software. It's part of the platform they build on.

Not sure of that. On a mature market like the laptop one, the configuration is now more or less standard : a keyboard, a screen, a webcam, speakers, minijack sound I/O, USB, wi-fi g+, legacy and HDMI video output, eSata (I really don't know why this one is so widespread now), and a CD drive. Bluetooth is not always there on lower-end models, don't know why exactly since it probably doesn't cost much.

So software does not have to support a wide range of configuration on the PC market, really...

E. g. iChat (AV) is a SW that directly relies on the availability of a cam on every Apple laptop.

Cam is more or less a standard features of laptops now, so this point is irrelevant. Moreover, what if I don't like video calls ? How come I am forced to buy a webcam in the name of some random software which I will not use ?

Even something trivial as sound output - I've never had a Mac with lousy sound output while the HP I have to use at work - even though it has a distinct sound card - has horrible sound quality.

Not sure what you're complaining about : speakers or minijack output ?
If it's speakers, well, it's no secret that good speakers are expensive, especially when they are small (because they have to defy the laws of physics through careful equalization, and things like that).

But if I want a computer just for work, do I need top-notch sound quality just to annoy my coworkers ? No ! So again, HQ speakers should not be a mandatory part of laptops.

Do you want to know why HP even bothered to put a sound chip in the PC? Easy - there are still way to much idiots that think a spec sheet tells the whole story. And that's why some people come to the wrong conclusion that it doesn't matter if you buy HP, Dell, Apple, IBM or whatever.

Indeed, spec sheets don't tell enough. But good vendors make a selection between the available products, and look for at least some level of quality when they go mid- and high-end.

Myself, I'm a bit of an Asus and HP fan, because I have had a very good overall experience with their computers, and a bit of an Acer hater because I've never met an Acer computer which did thermal dissipation right and computer spontaneously turning off because of overheating should have been left to the Apple III era. But I do think that all computer vendors (except Acer) now more or less sell the same thing, once you leave the low-end market where quality hugely varies between one model and another. Choosing a computer is only a matter of knowing what kind of keyboard you want, if sound quality matters to you, if you want bluetooth...

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Hmmm
by MysterMask on Sun 17th Oct 2010 18:40 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Hmmm"
MysterMask Member since:
2005-07-12


"
target disk mode

What's that ?
"

See? That's what I'm talking about. You may think that HW is just standardized interchangeable pieces with no engineering any more. But it's how this HW is used to the benefit of the user!
(Target disk mode means you can boot any Mac in a 'disk mode' where it behaves like an external drive to other macs. Very useful in various circumstances e. g. when moving to new HW or in support situations)

On a mature market like the laptop one, the configuration is now more or less standard


And you are satisfied with the given? Engineering is not about selling the same piece of HW 1'000'000 times. It's about pushing further. With the "it's standard" attitude we would have been stuck with CP/M and 8bit CPUs.

I really like vendors that are able to disrupt the 'standards' market with new innovations - that do real HW engineering and not only throw together the cheapest 'standards' parts. That try to improve customer experience and not just brag with useless spec lists.

Cam is more or less a standard features of laptops now.


And why has it become a standard feature? (see my point now)

Not sure what you're complaining about : speakers or minijack output?
[..]
But if I want a computer just for work, do I need top-notch sound quality just to annoy my coworkers?


I talk about minijack output with heavy static crackles (I wanted the sound for not being distracted by co-workers talk. It doesn't have to be top-notch, only usable. And why use an iPod if the box under the desk seems to have all necessary parts for that - but alas ..)

My point was: Selling a PC with a sound card that is not usable shows that even though things seem to be standardized, there are still differences between manufacturers. I'd rather buy a piece of HW from a company that does care about the fitness of the final product and not about specs lists.

Choosing a computer is only a matter of knowing what kind of keyboard you want, if sound quality matters to you, if you want bluetooth...


Your horizon is too narrow for my taste.

Edited 2010-10-17 18:43 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Hmmm
by Neolander on Sun 17th Oct 2010 20:37 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Hmmm"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

(Target disk mode means you can boot any Mac in a 'disk mode' where it behaves like an external drive to other macs. Very useful in various circumstances e. g. when moving to new HW or in support situations)

That's just a crappy Mac workaround to replace an ability PC users have had for ages : take the HDD out of the computer with no skills and only a screw driver.

And you are satisfied with the given? Engineering is not about selling the same piece of HW 1'000'000 times. It's about pushing further. With the "it's standard" attitude we would have been stuck with CP/M and 8bit CPUs.

Yeah, I'm satisfied with the current PC market as far as hardware is concerned. Good enough for me, except for the weight/hardness (I'd love to see a computer as light and flexible as a sheet of paper) and those horrible LCD screens that just need to die and be replaced by OLED as quickly as possible.

My main gripes with computers nowadays are in software. Same for most people. There's a lot to fix in there.

I really like vendors that are able to disrupt the 'standards' market with new innovations - that do real HW engineering and not only throw together the cheapest 'standards' parts. That try to improve customer experience and not just brag with useless spec lists.

I think it's that line of thinking that led that engineering failure that shiny LCD screens are to become so widespread. The will to make something new.

And why has it become a standard feature? (see my point now)

I wish it hadn't. I dislike it when I have to buy things I don't need together with things I need.

Edited 2010-10-17 20:40 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Hmmm
by Thom_Holwerda on Sun 17th Oct 2010 22:51 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Hmmm"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

That's just a crappy Mac workaround to replace an ability PC users have had for ages : take the HDD out of the computer with no skills and only a screw driver.


Win.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Hmmm
by r_a_trip on Mon 18th Oct 2010 11:53 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Hmmm"
r_a_trip Member since:
2005-07-06

That's just a crappy Mac workaround to replace an ability PC users have had for ages : take the HDD out of the computer with no skills and only a screw driver.

Sorry to butt in, but taking out the harddrive to troubleshoot? We Linux users have had the ability to boot a Live-CD on the affected machine for years and do what we need to do on the drive in place and copy stuff to an external USB drive if necessary.

Work around or not, the ability to mount a Mac as an external drive on another Mac sounds nifty. It sure beats disassembling the machine to get at the disk/data. Pulling apart a machine should be a last resort, not par of the course.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Hmmm
by alcibiades on Mon 18th Oct 2010 08:14 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hmmm"
alcibiades Member since:
2005-10-12

Target disk mode is a minor feature of the OS, its not because the hardware is any different. What it lets you do is boot from another PC's hard drive, as if it were an external hard drive.

Its of limited interest to Windows or Linux installations since the hardware supported is much wider and one install cannot normally simply be transferred to another. You could go into terminal mode I suppose.

My point was not that hardware configurations are identical across manufacturers, they are not. My point was that there is as much difference between different HP systems as there is between an HP and a Mac. In short, this is not about diffences between populations, but about differences between individuals.

We can all argue about which particular sort of computer configuration we would like, but the fact is, there are no macs any more. There are generic x86 machines packaged together by Apple, HP, Dell Asus or whoever, which differ by choice of components. And that is the only difference. Its not design.

Well, except for the case. Now that really is design.

Reply Score: 2

Akio Morita
by DeadFishMan on Fri 15th Oct 2010 22:51 UTC
DeadFishMan
Member since:
2006-01-09

Despite my feelings towards Sony today I am a huge admirer of Mr. Akio Morita after I read his biography a few years ago and I think that these days there are few if any CEOs that are really comparable, Jobs himself included, so I think that it was wise to attempt to mimic his style.

Mr. Morita had, as stated on the interview, a legendary attention to details but, unlike Jobs, he was a very humble person - which seems to be an inherent virtue of many Japanese people, it seems - and willing to compromise to accommodate other people's ideas, especially from engineers (Seriously, if you what you sell is a tech-based product, you definitely should listen to your engineers first and then look at the design people to see what they can do afterwards with what the engineers created/can create! It is common sense!) which is something that Jobs downright refuses to do for better or for worse.

But it is hard to fault Jobs today and Apple's current performance in the market and its position as an industry trend setter are testaments to his leadership skills. But whatever... I still think that his products are way overpriced and that he is an elitist ass... ;)

Edited 2010-10-15 22:53 UTC

Reply Score: 9

RE: Akio Morita
by thavith_osn on Fri 15th Oct 2010 23:23 UTC in reply to "Akio Morita"
thavith_osn Member since:
2005-07-11

I am a software engineer, and there have been many times we say we can only do something a certain way, but many times that is due to not wanting to redesign something in a different or better way, if it works, why change it. Being lazy is a big decision maker in our industry, just look at all the horrible software out there.

I am sure hardware is similar (though I have no experience in that area). If something is made a certain way and has always been made a certain way, then why redesign?

If you haven't done so yet, check out the book iWoz, Woz explains how he would look at computer designs back in his youth and redesign them using way fewer parts. His design of the 5.25" floppy drive is a brilliant example of that. I guess the time the two Steves spent together rubbed off on Jobs.

I think Jobs pushes his staff because more times than not because the people who say it can't be done just don't know that it actually can.

I have a lot of respect and admiration for Jobs, but I wouldn't want to personally spend too much time with the guy, I think Woz would be way more interesting to hang out with.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Akio Morita
by Radio on Fri 15th Oct 2010 23:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Akio Morita"
Radio Member since:
2009-06-20

I am a software engineer, and there have been many times we say we can only do something a certain way, but many times that is due to not wanting to redesign something in a different or better way, if it works, why change it. Being lazy is a big decision maker in our industry, just look at all the horrible software out there.

I am sure hardware is similar (though I have no experience in that area). If something is made a certain way and has always been made a certain way, then why redesign?

I don't know if I can speak for all engineers out there, but we love doing new, cutting-edge stuff. From my point of view, coding is boring and difficult (debugging takes a while, improving often leads to complete rewrites, golden ideas turn impredictably to mud when actually implemented) so I understand the "lazyness"; but for hardware... Which sane engineer would have resisted the idea of making a multi-touch gizmo like the iPhone? For all the engineers I know, the only thing restraining their creativity is financial means, not lazyness (or more accurately, the idea that "this is good enough, let'sz leave it like that").

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Akio Morita
by thavith_osn on Sat 16th Oct 2010 00:15 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Akio Morita"
thavith_osn Member since:
2005-07-11

Actually, very good points. I love working on new and cutting edge stuff all the time, I was even writing file system drivers at one point (which was a lot of fun for the first few weeks). I feel alive when doing new stuff that hasn't been done, or at least, I haven't seen it :-) I love finding new ways to design things. A good example was working with completion ports to create a very efficient server. I had always approached servers in a very different manner.

What I was trying to say was, once you get your design done and it works and you are ready for a new project, having a boss like Jobs say that the design needs to be 10% faster or able to do x other things would be disheartening, esp. when you have been working 23 hours days to get it done and you think you have pushed it too it's limits. Maybe it's just me. I love finishing up a project and moving onto the next one.

I remember reading back when the Mac was first being created, the boot time was n seconds (I think close to a minute). Jobs wanted it to be 30 seconds or less. The team told him that was not going to happen, but he told them that's what he wanted. They had to go back to the drawing board. They got the boot time to around 30 seconds by the way. I think if I was on that project, I would have been happy with one minute :-) I think most of the companies out there would have been happy with 1 minute. That is one of the differences.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Akio Morita
by Eddyspeeder on Sat 16th Oct 2010 12:52 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Akio Morita"
Eddyspeeder Member since:
2006-05-10

A good tutor is often described as someone who can get his pupils to do or create things that they themselves never believed they had in them. I'm sure Mr. Jobs at times has demanded truly impossible things, but this drive for improving beyond what we think we are capable to achieve certainly has paid off, and without a doubt those on his select(*) design team will consider that a great inspiration to them all.

(*) - Yes, the design team is "select" in that it is a small core group, as was posted on OSNews a few days ago: http://www.pragmaticmarketing.com/publications/magazine/6/4/you_can...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Akio Morita
by galvanash on Fri 15th Oct 2010 23:27 UTC in reply to "Akio Morita"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

I think the difference that arises with Job's approach is that by starting with a design and forcing engineers to come up with ways to implement it faithfully, he can often get results from the engineers that they initially thought were not possible... You tend to approach a problem differently when you know the end result is defined in stone (i.e. it has to work exactly like this) and no amount of arguing on your part is going to change it.

I'm not saying this is a better approach in all instances, but when it does lead to an engineering breakthrough it is usually partly responsible for the products success. For example, the "wheel" of the original iPod is often sited as the main point of differentiation between it and its competitors - and it worked remarkably well and took ages for competitors to create a decent knock-off. It also reportedly took Apple engineers ages to get right too... A compromise on that may have lead to a product quicker, it may even have been a good product, but it wasn't the same product that was originally envisioned - and if an iPod used rocker buttons for navigation it wouldn't have been much different from any other mp3 player...

As the article states, Apple doesn't make a lot of products - their success partly relies on them being able to make a product that their competitors can't duplicate easily - and if they do manage to duplicate it they can't quite get it "right". Imho that is directly attributable to the no-compromise-on-design approach they take.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Akio Morita
by indech on Sat 16th Oct 2010 00:58 UTC in reply to "Akio Morita"
indech Member since:
2005-12-06

Mr. Morita had, as stated on the interview, a legendary attention to details but, unlike Jobs, he was a very humble person - which seems to be an inherent virtue of many Japanese people, it seems

It's a cultural thing. Asia is very collectivistic, where as most of the western world is more individualistic.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Akio Morita
by tylerdurden on Sat 16th Oct 2010 02:06 UTC in reply to "RE: Akio Morita"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

The USA is hardly "most of the Western world" :-)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Akio Morita
by Eddyspeeder on Sat 16th Oct 2010 12:57 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Akio Morita"
Eddyspeeder Member since:
2006-05-10

Surprise, Australia and Europe are also individualistic societies.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Akio Morita
by aliquis on Sat 16th Oct 2010 17:47 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Akio Morita"
aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

Sweden didn't used to be. Though maybe not to the extent of some others.

It's starting to become though because the current leaders goes to election on that making it better for the people who perform and worse for the people who don't will make people richer.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Akio Morita
by tylerdurden on Sat 16th Oct 2010 23:36 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Akio Morita"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

Surprise "individualistic" does not mean what you think it means.

I lived for a few years in Southern Europe, and I have worked for months at a time in Japan. In the big scheme of things, there were not as many social differences, esp. with regards to working hierarchy, methodologies and social support, as there seem to be with what I have experienced living in the USA.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Akio Morita
by Eddyspeeder on Sun 17th Oct 2010 01:34 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Akio Morita"
Eddyspeeder Member since:
2006-05-10

Well I tend to adhere to the social psychological definitions of "individualism" and "collectivism" that Geert Hofstede has used since his authoritative book "Culture's Consequences", which was first issued in 1980. See his site: http://www.geert-hofstede.com/

Your personal discoveries actually confirm his findings. If you click on the countries in the left bar, you'll actually see that Spain and Japan score about the same on the individualism (IDV) scale; Portugal and Greece scoring even lower (so they are more collectivist). Note, though, that Japan is in fact scoring twice above Asia's average on individualism. So it's no black-and-white situation here; it is safe to say that on average many Western countries are predominantly individualist, while many Eastern countries are predominantly collectivist, but there are other major cultural factors involved too.

Surprisingly though, Sweden scores quite high on individualism, but my country of the Netherlands is still one of the most individualized societies. Interestingly though, political forces have recently started trying to turn our culture into a so-called 'civic society' in which we voluntarily take on part of the responsibility to care for the needy in our direct (social) environment.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Akio Morita
by bitwelder on Mon 18th Oct 2010 06:39 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Akio Morita"
bitwelder Member since:
2010-04-27

So it's no black-and-white situation here; it is safe to say that on average many Western countries are predominantly individualist, while many Eastern countries are predominantly collectivist, but there are other major cultural factors involved too.

If you want to be more accurate, you can say that individualism is high primarily in Anglo-Saxon cultures.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Akio Morita
by toast88 on Sat 16th Oct 2010 13:27 UTC in reply to "Akio Morita"
toast88 Member since:
2009-09-23

I do absolutely agree. Akio Morita was one of the best CEOs in the history of the 20th century and I think Sony's huge success in the 70ies, 80ies and 90ies was largely owed to his way of steering the company. It's such a pity that Sony, once one of the greatest engineering companies in the world, has gone so much downwards ever since new CEOs have taken over the company. If Morita was still alive, he'd fire all of those amateurs.

I highly recommend the book by John Nathan, called "Sony". It's so much fun to read and one really learns to appreciate the achievements by Sony regarding electrical engineering, being a physicist who researches in physical electronics himself.

I also recommend watching this interview with Morita from the early 90ies:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGcf_u3QCeg
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yOPXVNynO1U
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYjrn_P8lSA

Adrian

Edited 2010-10-16 13:29 UTC

Reply Score: 2

White iPhone
by henderson101 on Fri 15th Oct 2010 23:19 UTC
henderson101
Member since:
2006-05-30

The "matching shades of white" was a common theory in a lot of podcasts (Mac OS Ken, MacBreak Weekly, TNT, TWiT, Engadget and probably others.) I don't remember anyone claiming is was "fact" but I remember it being discussed as is it was.

EDIT - oh, and my point - this was a month ago.

Edited 2010-10-15 23:19 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Great interview...
by tylerdurden on Fri 15th Oct 2010 23:20 UTC
tylerdurden
Member since:
2009-03-17

... honestly I really like Mr. Sculley, he seems to be a rather genuine and adult/rational person, which is refreshing given the current crop of CEOs. So it was a pleasure to get some honest opinions/hindsight from people who are/were "inside" the beast so to speak.

The comments section is what really frightens me, seriously Apple has some weirdly ill adjusted fans. Apple's products are just a neat shell for a microprocessor board, not a philosophy which explains the meaning of life....

Reply Score: 3

RE: Great interview...
by qroon on Sat 16th Oct 2010 02:49 UTC in reply to "Great interview..."
qroon Member since:
2005-10-21

Well, the site is called Cult of Mac, what can you expect? ;)

Reply Score: 4

Perfection, a sin or a virtue
by shashank_hi on Sat 16th Oct 2010 04:31 UTC
shashank_hi
Member since:
2009-08-27

"That's it. Boom, multi-million dollar profit machine won't ship because the whites aren't exactly the same."

While the HPs and Motorolas of the world are driven by profit (I type this on a clunky HP laptop keyboard (yup, that's how it's been ever since I bought it)), Apple actually cares about what it's delivering, and I don't understand why that's a bad thing. Besides, Apple isn't the only organization that's holding back it's products until they are perfect; GNOME 3 comes to mind as an example right away. Quality over quantity is what makes them great. Sure we aren't getting our white iPhones, but when we do, we'd be assured that they rock.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Perfection, a sin or a virtue
by aliquis on Sat 16th Oct 2010 17:53 UTC in reply to "Perfection, a sin or a virtue"
aliquis Member since:
2005-07-23

Yeah, if they sell 20-30% more of it because it looks great then who cares if it's delayed?

Microsoft Ergonomic 4000 is a very comfortable keyboard with shitty quality.

The Unicomp keyboards are probably nice to. And with better quality.

The Razer Blackwidow is mechanical to.

You can probably get a Sun keyboard from Ebay to.

Reply Score: 2

Fascinating
by Soulbender on Sat 16th Oct 2010 05:42 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

Almost as interesting as Dallas or Falcon Crest. What's with this soap opera crap?

Reply Score: 2

If Apple = Sony...
by UltraZelda64 on Mon 18th Oct 2010 17:08 UTC
UltraZelda64
Member since:
2006-12-05

...then I really don't want any of Apple's shit.

I despise Sony with a passion since they overthrew Nintendo with the sssss*lll*ooooooo*wwww*llll*oooo*aaaa*dddd*iiii*nnnn*ggg PSX and turned gaming to mainstream shit in general (all of a sudden, it turned to mindlessly blowing shit up and the fun suddenly disappeared). Thankfully Microsoft came to the rescue to f*** it up even more by making dull and boring two-weapons-at-a-time first-person shooters the norm, which ended up influencing Duke Nukem Forever (which I've been anticipating since Duke Nukem 3D) in a bad way (yeah... nice... they took out the ability for Duke to haul around a complete arsenal of weapons. Nice way to turn a former badass into a pussy). And I'm not too crazy about Apple as a company either.

If Apple is striving to be like Sony, then I guess they've succeeded all these years... in keeping me away from their products. I have yet to buy an Apple product, despite how much OS X has tempted me. Primarily because of all of their restrictions on how you can use their software/hardware, and how just about every god damn program will need to be updated upon the release of a new OS version--or vice versa. And way back in the Mac OS 9/Win9x days, Windows blew Mac to hell and back.

Unfortunately I can't say the same about Sony though, since I bought a PS2 for a select few games (especially the Silent Hill series and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night). I have basically promised myself, though, that I *will not*, ever, buy a PS3. And I'm sticking to it.

Reply Score: 2