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Leading Apple With Steve Jobs: Management Lessons From a Controversial Genius by Jay Elliot

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The Whole Product

After his Xerox PARC experience, Steve realized that he had to wrestle technology out of hands of the technologists. The conception of the whole product had to grow out of the close understanding of the user by focusing on the user interface.

Up until Steve returned to Apple, the idea of a whole product was all but forgotten, and to me the best example of that is the difference in marketing the operating systems: When you bought an Apple computer, the operating system was part of the package. When you bought a PC, you had to pay extra for the then-current version of Windows—which may account for as much as 30 percent of the sales price of the computer. I always remembered that Microsoft dominated the PC market as an add-on product.

As I’ve noted, Steve soon after his return recognized the talent of the man who was already heading the Apple design team: Jonathon Ive (now addressed as Sir Jonathon when he’s in the United Kingdom—he was knighted by the Queen in early 2012 in recognition of his design achievements).

Jony shared Steve’s mantra of the whole product vision, both the external design—how it looked—and how it worked. Steve wanted the new Macs to lay the groundwork for a design that would be compelling to users. Though the outward appearance went through many iterations, the final bold version set the new iMacs in striking candy-colored translucent plastic cases.

What is especially notable about this decision is that it was made at a time of falling prices ...

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