Thursday, January 17, 2008

Steve Jobs Upsets Me

I am an Apple man. I find myself wanting the MacBook Air, even though I don't need it. I think Jonathan Ive is a genius. Pathetic, I know, but there you go. Having read this, however, I feel I have been punched in the stomach. Speaking of the Amazon Kindle, Steve Jobs said, 'It doesn't matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don't read any more. Forty per cent of people in the US read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don't read any more.' He's probably right, but why did he have to say it?


  1. I'm not an Apple man, I object to its monopolist practices and patronizing attitude, but even I want one of those. It is almost exactly what I've been hoping for since I bought my first crummy laptop 22 years ago. Long wait.

    As to the Kindle, haven't bought one, may never, but 40% of the public not reading a book still leaves 60% that do. Kindle's potential market is somewhere in the vicinity of 150 million teenagers and adults. Lots of growth available, given that it will end up working out for them like razors did for Gillette: all the money ended up being in the blades. Amazon knows how to sell blades, I mean books.

  2. It's also true that people with too much money tend to buy unnecessary status symbols. i wonder how many people with ipods actually really like music that much, or just feel they should have one? So too perhaps rich folk will buy the Kindle just in order to carry it around. They'll probably download Dostoevsky and Shakespeare onto it and never read them, but hey, they'll have a highly expensive status symbol to go with their ipod, iphone, etc.

  3. Better not to read than to read bad books. Er, is it? Probably not.

  4. Can anyone say that reading books and a love of literature has ever been a kind of universal pursuit, at least in the States and the UK? Maybe, if someone can provide the facts, but the figure quoted may be nearer what has always been the case since mass literacy began. According to this page, the UK is better, but not by much. Besides, as randy points out, turn the figures around and that's still an awful lot of readers.

    Like you, I think Jonathan Ive is a genius. And I have a lot of respect for Steve Jobs; his humble no BS comments on coming back from a brush with cancer and the Grim Reaper were inspiring. However, I guess you get to the top by being tough-minded, and he called it as he sees it.

    The Macbook Air is being called the Macbook Anorexic on some sites, not because it's thin but because it's specifications are so lightweight. These days Apple and its stock are as much the darling of hedge-funders and investor suits as of PC folks. While the Macbook Air may be ideal for them, this is not the kind of following to have if you want to stay in touch with the broad mass of your market or perhaps even alive in the case of hedge-fund crazies. So I think Steve Jobs is beginning to play with fire. Too much success and all that.

  5. I think DAVID Ives is a genius -- 'cause it really is all in the timing.

    Beware the worries about reading. People still read, they just don't read in the same way. Teens are always reading...on the Internet. And they write more... in text messages and e-mail. Books are MORE likely to appeal to them in a virtual format.

    Anyway, so it seems to me. It's we oldies (over 30) who can't endure the way virtual reality has displaced OUR reality. Tough noogies. That's the way life goes.

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  7. Virtual reality has replaced our reality, or presumably by some strange extension, reality? No matter how much effort one puts into creating an edifice of illusion, it doesn't become reality by the token of many people immersing themselves in the illusion.
    "Oh but you're so quaint. It's all relative now, and 'it' isn't even an it with which to be relative."

    The fact that people don't read anymore is of course also not a fact, despite what has been happening in the eye of the idiot culture hurricane. Though if we all surrendered to the triumph of the the illusory ant-heap, then it would become a fact.