Jony Ive's Innovation-Free Apple

Welcome to the brave new world of DESIGN OVER FUNCTION that Jonny Johnnee Jony Ive guy has crafted at Post Jobs Apple where a glass sandwich costs you $1,000 and you must pay for the privilege of using your purchased media in their walled garden. During Apple's unveiling of "One more thing" in the shiny new Steve Jobs Theater on the shiny new Cupertino campus, Craig Federighi tried to use Face ID to unlock the demo phone. It didn't work. Today in The Guardian, there's a convenient PR piece explaining why. 

Apparently, Apple peeps kept fingering the phone before the demo which locked out the Face ID because, well, it's supposed to. 

I don't have an issue with Face ID. What I do have an issue with is the wanton removal of effective, consistent, reliable features that everyone uses. I blame Steve Jobs and, to a greater degree, that annoying twat, Ive. First of all, when Steve came back to help (and then replace) Gil Amelio, he started cleaning house by closing down all of the projects Apple was developing, including my beloved Newton. Then Steve removed the floppy drive from the iMac. Removing old technologies in a smart manner was Steve's thing. In many cases it was brilliant. Now that Steve is dead, though, Ive is left to his own devices, and being the snob he is, he's been removing features that he shouldn't, in the belief that he's just carrying on Steve's vision of a feature-free future. 

So, now we get no headphone jack and no touch sensor, and everything is more complicated and annoying for it. 

Removing the floppy drive in the age of CD media was a no-brainer, at least in retrospect. What Apple is doing now is annoying people, forcing users to adapt to Apple's vision. Didn't anyone at Apple notice that people hold their phones WITH THEIR HANDS?!!?? And what comes on hands, but fingers, and those fingers have prints, and we have technology that can read those prints, and it functions quite well. I can pick up my phone and unlock it with my thumb in less than a second. No swiping. No holding the phone in a particular way. 

There is a critical point at which a form-factor reaches its lowest possible simplification point. For the smartphone, that is what we see in the OnePlus 5, Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy S8. They are thin and amazing and fast. They all have touch sensors. They all have headphone jacks. People love them. They buy millions of them. They also don't (quite) cost a grand for the cheap one (and the OnePlus is less than $500!!). 

This isn't all that Apple has done, or in some cases not done. The latest innovation in laptops is that stupid touchbar thing they added to the MacBook line. Yeah. Apple has also resisted potential growth areas inconsistently. Phablets became popular so they rolled out the iPhone 6 and 6s, but when they rolled out the iPad Pro to compete with Microsoft's Surface line, they saddled it with sad, little iOS. Don't even get me started about iTunes. What the hell is 2010 still doing on my desktop, Apple!!??

So, in the end, Apple has jumped the shark, lost the thread, screwed the pooch (an awful saying, btw), and Tim Cook has simply handed the keys to a guy obsessed with design and nothing more. The only time we ever see Jonathan Ive is in videos. He's never there, lovingly walking us through his craft, passing on that passion. He "phones" it in. We don't know Ive as a person, but a idea. A concept. Even his Wikipedia entry is void of much detail after a certain point. 

I'm not disparaging Sir Jonathan Ive as a person, but it's clear that he's nothing without Steve Jobs at his side, guiding Ive's hand, moderating his extreme design impulses, and that's when Apple just breaks down and becomes another premium marquee with ho-hum product.