Tim Cook, Steve Jobs and an apology
- 7 October 2011
- From the section Technology
Yesterday I was occupied from the early hours until late in the evening with radio and television pieces about the death of Steve Jobs. That meant I did not get round to something I needed to do - make an apology to his successor as Apple CEO.
Like many who watched Tim Cook's performance on Tuesday as the iPhone 4S was unveiled, I was distinctly underwhelmed. The whole event was long, ponderous and did not deliver anything particularly newsworthy. And Mr Cook seemed reluctant to be in the spotlight, with other Apple executives occupying the stage for most of the ninety minute event.
Now we know that the presentation was taking place while the company's co-founder, the man who was the inspiration for everything that Apple did, was in his final hours. As the noted blogger Robert Scoble wrote, apologising for his own harsh words about Tuesday's event, that fact must have been known to Tim Cook and his closest colleagues.
It must have been a huge burden to carry, as they went through their paces, trying to keep up to the very high standards set by Steve Jobs.
I called it a "dull debut", for Tim Cook, and said the verdict was that he must do better. But it is now clear that it was completely unfair to judge him on that performance in those circumstances or draw any conclusions about Apple's future under his leadership.
Better by far to examine the way in which the company reported the passing of its founding genius. When I was woken with the news in the early hours yesterday, I went straight to Apple's website. It featured nothing but a simple black and white image of Steve Jobs, and the caption 1955-2011.
The simplicity and beauty of the design in that familiar font made a fitting tribute to a man who believed so passionately that form mattered as much as function. It was also quite extraordinarily moving.
That a corporate website should bring a lump to your throat might seem outlandish. But that is what Steve Jobs achieved with Apple - he inspired emotion about functional products by making them beautiful.