Burning Ships

Apple isn’t what it once was. But it’s not like what it will be, either. Change is constant, and pining for the Jobs era is like wanting to relive the first time you saw Star Wars, or the first time you went on a date. It’s frustrating and pointless. That combination of timing, luck, planning, and execution will never again come to pass.

Besides, were Steve Jobs still alive and at the helm, Apple wouldn’t be what it was in 2011 or 2006. Maybe the company would be offering a different product mix, or focusing on different markets. That said, I think it’s safe to say one thing Apple is doing isn’t all that far off from what it would be doing if Jobs were still around.

Apple still burns its ships. The company’s leadership seems far more afraid of becoming mired in the past than in putting big bets on the future, at least where hardware is concerned. AirPods are just the latest in a long string of Apple moves designed to make computing hardware more focused and appliance-like, with fewer, rather than more options for input and output.

With the iMac, they removed the floppy drive.

Then they got rid of optical drives altogether.

They killed of Firewire.

And Ethernet.

Every time they killed something off, they told us we’d be OK without it. We’d be able to transfer files without floppy drives. We’d be able to watch movies and install software without optical drives. We’d be able to connect to A/V devices without Firewire. We’d be able to connect computers to each other without Ethernet.

Now they’re telling us we’ll be able to listen to music (and in due time tell our personal area network of Apple devices what to do) with wireless earbuds, and that we won’t really miss all those tangled cables.

What the hell do they know?

Well, they sure know how to burn ships.

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