Details and excerpts are beginning to surface from the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.
Some of the more compelling segments have to do with Jobs’ relationship with Jony Ive, Apple’s head of product design and the way that Jobs felt about him and exactly how strongly Jobs felt about the way that Android phones mimicked the look and feel of the iPhone.
Jobs’ eye for simple, clean design was evident from early on. The case of the Apple II computer had originally included a Plexiglas cover, metal straps and a roll-top door. Jobs, though, wanted something elegant that would make Apple stand out. He told Isaacson he was struck by Cuisinart food processors while browsing at a department store and decided he wanted a case made of molded plastic.
He called Jonathan Ive, Apple’s design chief, his “spiritual partner” at Apple. He told Isaacson Ive had “more operation power” at Apple than anyone besides Jobs himself — that there’s no one at the company who can tell Ive what to do. That, says Jobs, is “the way I set it up.”
Many have speculated just how powerful Ive is and was at Apple because of the company’s reputation for product design being its driving force. There has been speculation about the balance of power now that Jobs is gone as well.
Will Apple become a company more obsessed with specifications than design or will Jobs’ editorial sensibilities be carried on. It seems like Jobs was concerned as well and made sure that the design-centric philosophy of Apple has a strong representative.
The article, published by the AP, also has some interesting segments on Android and just how Jobs felt about Google and Eric Schmidt after the company released the competing operating system on hardware made by HTC that looked and worked very much like the iPhone.
Jobs was livid in January 2010 when HTC introduced an Android phone that boasted many of the touch and other popular features of the iPhone. Apple sued, and Jobs told Isaacson in an expletive-laced rant that Google’s actions amounted to “grand theft.”
“I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong,” Jobs said. “I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”
Jobs used an expletive to describe Android and Google Docs, Google’s Internet-based word processing program. In a subsequent meeting with Schmidt at a Palo Alto, Calif., cafe, Jobs told Schmidt that he wasn’t interested in settling the lawsuit, the book says.
“I don’t want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won’t want it. I’ve got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that’s all I want.” The meeting, Isaacson wrote, resolved nothing.