As the crowd gathered at the new Steve Jobs Theatre for the launch of Apple’s latest products-cum-miracles, they were serenaded with the Beatles’ All You Need Is Love. It had been chosen, presumably, as a signifier of the boomer supremacism still built into Apple’s culture, the company’s boundless ambition – John Lennon’s first line, is “There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done” – and its senior management’s apparent belief that making billions of dollars is a serendipitous byproduct of the company’s mixture of philanthropy and art.
Capitalists have always been at pains to assure us that they are in the business of selflessly helping the rest of us, rather than turning a profit. But the giants of Silicon Valley are in a league of their own, as Apple competes with Facebook for pole position, and anyone with any sense boggles at their hubris.
At the event’s end Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, quoted the omnipresent Jobs: “One of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there.” In the build-up to the launch, another Jobs quote had been rattling round my head – uttered in 1998, and long held up as another embodiment of what Apple is all about. “Simple can be harder than complex.You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” The previous year – when he had returned to Apple, and cut down its number of products by 70% – he had made the same point in slightly more Confucian terms: “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” Is this something the people at Apple still grasp as soundly as their immortal guru did?
I wonder. [ John Harris, The Guardian buff.ly/2zzbq8x ] [ Videos: @funnyordie
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