“That’s how you know it’s real”

During a talk at SXSW yesterday, tech journalist Steven Levy talked about how he had once brandished an iPod with an external microphone to record an interview with Steve Jobs.

Jobs was horrified when he saw that Levy had a case on his iPod. Jobs asked Levy why he would choose to change the form factor on such a beautiful device.

“So I told [Jobs], but it’s beautiful! I don’t want to get scratches on it,” Levy said.

Jobs replied, “But that’s how you know it’s real, that it’s a real thing.”

The Guardian: 10 years of the iPod

Great retrospective piece on the iPod from inception to date. This raises the question of whether the iPod it set to be retired this year:.

Steve Jobs, a Bob Dylan fan who once dated the singer’s ex, Joan Baez, insisted that people wanted to own their music, not rent it. They had collected vinyl, cassettes and CDs in the past and they would collect digital music in the future. One by one, Jobs managed to talk the big five major labels into signing up to his vision. “Jobs’s stock went from $8bn to $80bn,” recalls one music executive. “Ours went in reverse.” Sony, in particular, was hamstrung. On the one hand its hardware division wanted to push a Walkman that would compete with the iPod. On the other, its record label, Sony Music, accounted for the majority of its revenues and was unwilling to push forward with something they thought would be filled with illegally downloaded music. Paralysed, Sony allowed Apple to clean up on both the digital device and the songs to play on it.

What will be the last Steve Jobs inspired Apple product?

For many tech enthusiasts, the thought of Steve Jobs not coming to work is pretty uncomfortable to bear. News today that Jobs was again taking a leave of absence from Apple and leaving CFO Tim Cook in charge had me deliberating which product would considered to be Jobs last — his swan song — if his leave were to somehow become a permanent departure.

The iPhone 4, despite antennae problems, was an explosive success for Apple and continues to have a major affect not just on the smartphone industry but on how consumers expect to receive and parse information. The second iteration of the MacBook Air was also successful, but nowhere near the mark of the iPhone. MacBook Pro is due for a refresh. Pros haven’t had a full refresh in 279 days, and average 208 days. We should seen see an update here, but probably nothing beyond processor speed bumps. (This is actually killing me since I desperately want a MacBook Pro, but hesitate to purchase until the latest model.)

Apple TV is still fledgling; it’s impact on the home theatre and content distribution won’t be realized for some time.

I realize that the subtext here suggests that Apple products will lose a certain luster without Jobs around to manage development and personalities, and while that’s debatable, what’s for certain is that the core Apple fanatics will even further scrutinize Apple products for signs of an absence of Jobs’ brilliance after he’s no longer contributing to the company.