Apple is not Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs is dead. Whatever credit the genius of Steve Jobs deserves for the growth of Apple, it is in the past. Apple cannot survive as a corporation, as leader, as a revolutionary force, if it remains bound to the image of Steve Jobs. Never again will a mock turtle-necked Steve Jobs introduce a new product. He cannot be replaced with another CEO in a black shirt. So scrap it. Scrap the stage, scrap the personality driven product announcement, scrap the whole formulaic show.
This morning I welcomed the rumors of a New York City announcement for the iPad 3 by CNBC. For a brief moment I imagined a product launched literally on the streets of New York, a Times Square release, with tens of thousands of iPads dished out by street vendors as a presentation was blasted live on the street and online. Imagine the sight of thousands of people in Times Square all holding their new iPads as we learned its features and specs. The photographs of New York’s sidewalks packed with people, stopped, fixated by the glowing tablet of awesomeness in their cold hipster hands would have been in every newspaper, every blog, and lead every newscast.
As soon as thoughts of a bold public announcement tickled my fancy we found that no, Apple was going to maintain its Bay Area release. I thought, Yerba Buena has half a dozen of awesome outside venues. Since Steve will not be bouncing across the stage, maybe we come outside and use some green space. Make the announcement seem public somehow, change the format, change the setting. “@TheCreech: @Mr_Lloyd_TX Nah.”
Apple is owned by stockholders, it is run by managers appointed by a board of directors, and it is a board of directors appointed by those stockholders. There is nothing special about Apple. There is nothing to differentiate itself in mind and body from every other corporation. Its vision(ary) is dead. Does its leader have his own vision or a just a vision of what he thought Jobs’ vision was? Where will Apple be in five years? Ten?
Apple is not a mock turtleneck, and it is not an iPhone. Apple is brand, and capable of standing on its own. The iPad 3 announcement was a perfect opportunity to show that.