Steve Jobs reviews the iPhone X — pt. 1
Steve Jobs has been dead 6 years.
As he walks into Apple Park he smiles. They’ve done good.
Jony Ive and Tim Cook know the smile well. The quizzical stare, the smile, the slow nod. Yeah, Steve Jobs is happy.
“And this is the Steve Jobs Theatre!” Tim announces. He’s jogged forward and turned around to face Steve and opened his arms out in a ‘ta da’ pose.
Steve is still nodding. Still smiling. This is going fucking great thinks Jony.
They lead Steve through the lobby of the Steve Jobs Theatre.
“Look up Steve, the roof is only supported by glass. There are no support columns!”
It seems impossible.
When Steve leans forward to inspect the narrow spacers between the glass panneling Jony and Tim silent fist-bump each other. Tim tries to carry it into a silent high-five but Jony shakes his head.
They lead Steve down into the atrium. His hand follows the hollowed out banister. A flicker of a frown.
It’s over the top thinks Jony. Fuck.
“We’ll have it filled in–”
But Steve curls his lip into the slightest of smirks.
Jony breathes a sigh.
And there it is. In the middle of the atrium, the iPhone X.
Steve approaches. Tim and Jony hang back.
They watch as Steve picks it up and carefully turns it over in his hands. He studies its beautiful contours, the polished edge strangely reminiscent of the original iPhone. He raises it.
Tim and Jony can see the screen flash on and light up Steve’s face.
Steve lets out a chuckle.
“Steve? What do you think?” Tim is proud. But Jony hesitates.
Steve looks over and waves the phone. He’s grinning.
He’s fucking grinning! He–
“Good one!” Steve exclaims.
Tim beams. He nailed it. He turns to Jony to get that high-five.
“Where’s the real one?” Steve shouts over.
“Huh?” Tim’s caught off guard. Jony braces himself.
“The real one. This one has a heinous intrusion on the screen.” Steve’s grin fades, “It looks like dogshit, Tim.”
“Steve. That’s the product we’re shipping.”
“Show me the real iPhone.”
“Steve please, this is what we’re–” he cuts off. Steve’s stare is fixed on Tim.
Tim begins edging backwards. Jony waits. Under the perfect atrium lighting Steve’s face reddens. He stares back down at the notch. Then back up at Tim. Tim’s arms are raised in the defensive position.
Steve springs forward. In a few short feet he’s managed to break into a sprint then launches himself at Tim who falls backwards.
“Steve just listen–”
“A FUCKING INTRUSION? IN THE SCREEN? OF ALL THE PLACES, YOU PUT IT *IN* THE SCREEN? ARE YOU MAD? ARE YOU MAD TIM?”
Both hands are around Tim’s throat. The iPhone X lies disguarded several feet away.
“Steve…” This time it’s Jony.
“Don’t you fucking Steve me.” As he turns to face Jony–hands still gripping Tim–Jony wraps his arms under Steve’s in a police grip from behind and lifts him up. Steve, face as red as a Product Red® product, struggles.
“Steve. Calm down. It’s me, it’s Jony. Let me explain.”
“Put me down!”
“Are you going to calm down?”
“I’m going to fucking kill you.”
“You seen those Samsung phones? They look shit Steve. They look like dogshit. They have uneven bezels. Screens melting off the sides. They’re a mess.” Jony eases his grip but doesn’t let go, “When we designed the iPhone X we looked at those phones–”
Steve interrupts, “Just add a black border. Make the status bar black. It’ll hide the intrusion.”
“I know Steve, I know. You think we didn’t try that? We tried that. But you know what we found? It’s a lie Steve. Hiding the intrustion is a lie. Pretending the screen is smaller than it is, is a lie.”
Steve stops struggling, “Keep going...”
“Design is always a compromise. The iPhone X is a million small compromises. And we made the decision to not hide that compromise. We will use it. This design is honest. It doesn’t hide anything from you. It doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not. The screen wraps around the entire bezel.”
Tim looks broken. Jony carries on, “To add a black border, to pretend the screen doesn’t wrap around the bezel, it’s dishonest. And dishonest design, in the end, will always be shown as such. Dishonest design will always fall down. And you can bet we will remove the intrusion when technology allows us to. But right now, this is the execution. This is our authenticity Steve.”
The three men sit on the imported Italian stone floor, exhausted.
Several feet away the iPhone X lies face down. It flashes ‘Face ID not recognised’ twice, then asks for the passcode.