Anyone who knows me, knows that I am always incredibly inspired by Apple Inc. Moreover, I am inspired by their leadership under Steve Jobs.
I spend more time than I should watching clips and videos of Steve’s presentations and his explanations of how things are and should be.
There isn’t much on YouTube regarding Steve Jobs that I haven’t seen. But, this morning, I came upon this clip (of which I hadn’t laid eyes on previously). It’s a rare look at Steve as he explains the thinking behind their incredibly popular “Think Different” marketing campaign. If you have a few minutes, watch this and listen to what he says. Listen for his vision on how computers are more than task accomplishing boxes, but rather instruments that help people change the world. The original Think Different campaign ad is at the end of the clip.
It occurred to me that Apple has ALWAYS been about thinking different. In nearly every product that Steve watched over, this has been a frequent concept.
In 1977, Apple introduced the Apple II, the first successful personal computer. Novel idea then. Huge advancement over Apple I.
In 1984, Apple introduced the Macintosh, the first machine to use a mouse and a Graphical User Interface. Truly bringing computer usage to the masses. No more having to remember command line codes to do simple tasks.
In 1991, Apple took the popular design of portable computers (laptops had the keyboard close to the user, with an empty space behind it) and flipped the design, allowing space for palm rests and an area for a trackball to act as a mouse. This idea seemed to catch on. I haven’t seen a laptop without this design in my memory.
In 1998, Apple released the iMac, after finally getting Steve Jobs back to the company. The iMac was designed by Jony Ive and brought a unique design with an all in one interface to the market. In other words, there wasn’t a tower along with a monitor, along with speakers, that all had to be hooked up to one another in a mess of cables. All in one. Relatively new concept.
In 2001, Apple decided that portable media wasn’t good enough and that digital music was where the industry was leading. So, they introduced the iPod. I’m not sure that anyone knew at the time how revolutionary that product would be. It saved Apple and changed our world. They weren’t the first company to have a hard disk media player, but they did rethink the software integration required to make a great product. Ease of use wins.
Also in 2001, Apple rethought tech support when it opened it’s retail stores. To this day, if you have a problem with an Apple product, you call or visit Apple. They don’t send you to India to talk to HP or Dell, and then they don’t tell you that it’s a software issue and transfer you back to Microsoft. Apple makes the hardware. Apple makes the software. Apple fixes your problem if it’s under warranty. As frustrating as an issue may be, at least you know that you have one place to visit and ask.
In 2007, Apple released a phone unlike anything anyone had seen. It was basically a big screen. Talk about thinking different. It didn’t use a stylus (which all “touch screen” devices did at the time) and it integrated music better than anything on the market (including Apple’s own products at the time, by the way). You were able to play YouTube with a touch of your finger, anywhere in the world. The important thing about the iPhone too was that Apple took a different approach to working with a carrier than anyone else had at the time. They did not let the carrier dictate what was on the phone anymore. Anyone who has used an early Verizon cell phone knows the hurt that carrier dictation can play on a device. Even Google’s “open” Android can’t keep this from happening today. And AT&T (Cingular at the time) took a huge leap to allow them to do this. It changed the world and the industry in one feel swoop. And according to recent reports, wasn’t always easy for either company (great read if you have time).
In January 2010, Apple released the first mass market tablet device. It used a finger instead of a stylus and had an Operating System that allowed this to work, instead of one based off of pen input. Windows tablets have existed for a long time, but none had the appeal and potential of the iPad. As of D8, Apple was selling an iPad every 3 seconds. Hurt economy anyone?
THIS is why I love Apple and am continually inspired by their work.
If the church wants to come back from it’s dying days, I see it as having two options: Hire Steve Jobs (highly unlikely) or learn to Think Different. Friends, the world needs to change and the opportunity is in front of us.