Note: I’ve been meaning to blog about this since I came across it last month, but haven’t had the time
Normally, this kind of thing doesn’t grab my attention, as I have little interest in anything related to Steve Jobs or the Macintosh, but this caught my eye. For those who don’t know likely anyone who is unaware (or has forgotten) that Apple made computers before Macintosh (David Pogue, I’m looking in your direction) Jef Raskin gave birth to what would eventually become the Macintosh long before Jobs had anything to do with the project. Woz designed the Apple II. Dr. Wendell Sander and Dan Kottke designed the Apple III. Other companies designed the iPod and its interface. And that pretty much sums up Jobs and his responsibilities at Apple. At least according to Jef Raskin, who didn’t have too many kind things to say about the Apple co-founder.
If you’re unfamiliar with the pre-Macintosh history of Apple Computer and the days leading up to the introduction of the computer for the rest of us, take a minute and read through Steve Weyhrich’s excellent narrative history of Apple here. You see, Apple, Inc.’s revisionist history gives all the credit to Jobs for bring Macintosh to market but the reality is, Raskin had already done much of the design groundwork and the project was well under way when Jobs forced his way on to the team (and subsequently forced Raskin out the door when the two disagreed over design ideas). Jobs had little to do with the design of the Apple-1 or Apple II that was Woz and his legacy for the Apple III, Apple’s first attempt at at business machine, was to design a case that caused overheating and other problems which contributed to the ultimate failure of the machine.
So other than the Reality Distortion Field which admittedly, has done wonders to nurse Apple back to health in the 13 years since his return has Jobs really done that much for Apple? Well, he did kill several underperforming, money draining projects and streamline Apple’s production systems. And he has a knack for hiring smart people who do know a thing or two about design. But when it comes to the true design genius at Apple? Probably not as much as Jobs would like you to think