Revere him or revile him, there’s no denying that Steve Jobs was one of the most influential people of his generation. The mark he made on computing, consumer electronics, music and film was enormous and his influence will likely be felt by all of these industries for years to come.
Today is October 5, 2012, one year since Steve Jobs passed away from complications relating to his fight with pancreatic cancer.
As a tribute to their fallen leader, Apple has created a fitting memorial in video form – a highlight reel of Jobs’ biggest accomplishments during his time at the company he founded, accompanied by some of his more memorable quotes and a hauntingly beautiful cello soundtrack performed by one of Jobs’ favourite musicians, Yo-Yo Ma.
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO since Jobs’ death, added his thoughts to the Apple.com homepage today:
Steve’s passing one year ago today was a sad and difficult time for all of us. I hope that today everyone will reflect on his extraordinary life and the many ways he made the world a better place.
One of the greatest gifts Steve gave to the world is Apple. No company has ever inspired such creativity or set such high standards for itself. Our values originated from Steve and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. We share the great privilege and responsibility of carrying his legacy into the future.
I’m incredibly proud of the work we are doing, delivering products that our customers love and dreaming up new ones that will delight them down the road.
It’s a wonderful tribute to Steve’s memory and everything he stood for.
[Video/photo credit: Apple Inc.]
Apple’s website as been updated to show just the image above as a memorial to their founder and, until recently, the CEO that took the company from near ruin to its current status as one of the world’s most valuable.
Clicking through on this image gives us the following text:
Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.
If you would like to share your thoughts, memories, and condolences, please email email@example.com
Steve Jobs’ death comes one day after Apple launched their latest product, the iPhone 4S. It is the iPhone, perhaps more than any other of Apple’s products that has come to symbolize the company’s extraordinary rebirth as the most innovative and influential company in the technology sector, and of Steve Jobs’ passion for “magical” devices.
We will be publishing a full dedication to the life of Steven P. Jobs shortly. In the meantime, we join with the people of Apple, his family and the millions of loyal Apple customers in mourning as we say goodbye to one of the greatest visionaries of our time.
Confirming months of speculation, Apple has announced that it will be debuting its “iCloud” service along with the next releases of iOS and Mac OS at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference next Monday, June 6, in California.
Also confirmed is that Steve Jobs will be delivering the keynote for the conference. Jobs has been on a greatly reduced work regimen lately as he focuses on his health.
While Apple isn’t saying anything about iCloud other than to reference it as Apple’s “upcoming cloud services offering,” the consensus is that it will offer some sort of music locker service tied to the company’s wildly popular iTunes product.
It could also feature access to TV shows and movies, which would put Apple and Google on a closer competitive footing than they have ever been before. Google announced it’s own cloud-based services earlier this month, promising access to music and movies on any internet-connected device.
Update: Well it seems Apple just can’t contain its excitement around new products. Instead of waiting for the WWDC – mere days away – the company has chosen to release the iPhone/iPod Touch versions of the iWork suite of apps today. Keynote, Pages and Numbers are the three apps that comprise the iWork suite and are all now compatible with the smaller-screen iDevices.
Given that WWDC is primarily focused on iOS and MacOS, you would think this update of the iWork apps might have made ideal fodder for Steve Jobs’ keynote speech. This advance release suggests that he will have a substantial amount to say on the larger operating systems and iCloud, and likely felt that this announcement would make the presentation too long.
Despite the calls for a recall of Apple’s newest smartphone, the iPhone 4, Steve Jobs had this to say to all of the people who have bought the device, and to those who have critiqued it: “There is no Antennagate”.
Over the course of a 40 minute press conference today at Apple’s headquarters in California, Jobs outlined what he and his team believe to be the issue with the iPhone 4 after analyzing all of the available data. The bottom line: there is no issue.
Or at least, there is an issue, but it’s the same issue that plagues all smartphone – an assertion that Jobs backed up by playing demonstration videos of 3 competing handsets from 3 different manufacturers with 3 different mobile operating systems. Each handset appeared to exhibit the same drop in signal as the iPhone 4 when gripped a certain way.
He reinforced this point with some other facts relating to customer experience:
- Only .55% of all iPhone 4 customers have called Apple to complain about the phone’s reception. That’s less than a percent.
- In the period that the iPhone 4 has been available, AT&T has received 1/3 of the returns that they experienced with the iPhone 3GS during the same period
- The iPhone 4 drops 1 more call per 100 than the iPhone 3GS
Though Jobs acknowledged that this last point was not acceptable to him, he shared a theory (not backed up by any data) as to why it it’s happening: Many more people who bought iPhone 3GS’s walked out of the store with a case designed to fit the phone. Since putting an iPhone 4 in a case effectively solves the reception problem, he believes that this data point has more to do with case use, than with any inherent flaw in the iPhone 4’s design vs. the 3GS.
He further acknowledged that given some of the data available to them, there must be a problem, but it only appears to affect a very small percentage of users.
At the end, Jobs provided the one measure that Apple was prepared to take in order to address an issue that they essentially feel isn’t an issue at all. Until September 30th, all iPhone 4 buyers can received a free case that will be sent to them if they order it from Apple’s website. The free cases will not be available at retail. People who have already bought Apple bumpers will get a refund.
Jobs finished his explanation with a sort of “Stop picking on us” rant. According to Engadget‘s coverage of the event, he said:
“We think this has been so blown out of proportion… it’s fun to have a story, but it’s not fun on the other side.”
During the Q&A that followed, Jobs continued to express dismay at how Apple has been treated by the press over the last 22 days since the antenna issue became apparent. According to Mobilecrunch.com‘s coverage:
“I guess it’s just human nature: when some group or some organization gets successful, there’s always a group of people who want to tear it down. I see it happening with Google, and I think to myself: why are they doing this? Googles a great company, and they make great companies. And now they’re doing it to us. I ask myself: why? Would you rather we were a korean company, instead of an american company? Would you rather we werent innovating right here? […] Just to get eyeballs for these websites, people dont care what they leave in their wake. I look at this whole Antennagate thing, and I say: Wow. Apple has been around for 30+ years; haven’t we earned the credibility and trust from the press to give us the benefit of the doubt? I think we have that trust from our users, but I didn’t see it from the press”
These words are showing us a different public side of the man who leads what is arguably the most successful and innovative consumer tech company in the world. Apple isn’t used to having to defend itself and Jobs’ remarks about being American rather than Korean had a disturbingly xenophobic ring to them – at least to my Canadian ears.
So readers, now that you know when the iPhone 4 will be available here, and you know how Apple has responded to the question of reception problems, are you more or less likely to buy one than you were before today?
Update 3:58 p.m.: Reactions are beginning to trickle in around the web to Apple’s annoucement and, predictably, there are as many people defending Apple as there are those who find Jobs’ explanations lacking.
Let’s put this to a poll and find out what Sync readers are thinking:
Once again, the Apple faithful gathered to hear the leader of their church, Reverend Steve Jobs speak from his pulpit to deliver his much anticipated keynote to the Apple World Wide Developers Conference in California. The topic of his sermon? The famously “lost + found” next-generation iPhone, simply known as the iPhone 4.
Given that most of the world had been given a sneak peak at the device courtesy of some questionable reporting by tech blog Gizmodo, who by the way, were rewarded for their efforts by not being invited to today’s announcement, many were curious if Jobs could wow his crowd of onlookers with what hadn’t been leaked.
Here’s a point-form rundown of what was announced so you can make up your own minds. My initial reaction follows…
- iPhone 4
- Comes out of the box running the newly dubbed “iOS 4”
- 9.3 mm thick, which means it is 24% thinner than the current line of iPhones. Apple claims this makes it the thinnest smartphone on the market.
- Front-facing camera in addition to the standard rear-facing camera
- Glass front and back, with a stainless steel wrap around the edges. In a bold move design wise, the edge pieces are actually the antennas for the radios inside the phone (Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/GPS and UMTS/GSM)
“Retina Display” – this is Apple’s term for the screen which sports an incredibly high resolution 326 dpi 960×640 matrix. The name comes from the fact that the human eye has trouble discerning detail beyond the 300 dpi threshold. The Retina Display goes a little beyond this threshold. To understand what this means without actually seeing it, a piece of printed paper from a laser printer is the equivalent of 300 dpi. The display is four times sharper than the current iPhone.
- 800:1 contrast ratio (again, four times greater than the current model)
- New A4 chip, like its stable-mate the iPad. Much like the iPad, battery life is impressive: 40 percent more talk time, from 5 hours to 7 hours; 6 hours of 3G browsing; 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing; 10 hours of video; 40 hours of music; 300 hours of standby.
- Wi-Fi now provides support for 802.11n
- Quad-band HSDPA/HSUPA with 7.2 Mbps down, and 5.8 Mbps up but Jobs was careful to note that these speeds were only theoretical until carriers provide the neccessary support
- Memory: 16 or 32GB
- Gyroscope – possibly the least expected feature announced, this new sensor complements the existing accelerometer to provide pitch, roll and yaw for a true six-axis awareness of the phone’s position. Clearly gaming is the target market with this.
- New camera sensor that delivers 5 megapixel resolution but offers better low-light performance though a backside illuminated sensor. LED flash.
- The camera can now record 720p HD video at 30 fps
- An optional iMovie app which will cost $4.99 gives users the ability to perform sophisticated video editing right on the phone, with the choice to output their final creations in the native 720p or lower-def 360p.
- Multi-tasking will be enabled out of the box and implemented in such a way that Apple claims will not impact battery life or performance.
- iBooks on the iPhone will sync wirelessly with any other iBooks device you’re running (iPad, iPod touch) to create an experience that mimics what Amazon’s Kindle can do.
- FaceTime – a form of video chat that lets iPhone 4 users conduct chats in real-time (over Wi-Fi only initially) using either the front facing or rear-facing cameras.
- Price: iPhone 3GS 8GB drops to $99, iPhone 4 16GB $199, iPhone 4 32GB $299 (all prices $USD, all with contracts)
- Colours: Black & White editions
- Available in the US June 24th, with pre-orders starting June 15th. Canada likely to be part of the July launch for the international group of countries.
For existing iPhone users, the addition of multi-tasking, improved battery life and a crisper screen are all good reasons to upgrade to the iPhone 4, while cool features such as the HD movie recording and editing and the FaceTime video chat will give people who have been holding back a reason to jump on the iPhone bandwagon.
Once again, Apple has upped the ante in the smartphone space, while preserving a price-point that is within reach of many smartphone shoppers. Design-wise, they have now brought the iPhone in-line with the rest of the Apple products with its flat front and back and curved metal edges, a move which I suspect will win more fans than critics.
Overall, the iPhone 4 looks to be everything you would expect from a company that is now on their 4th revision – sophisticated, polished, powerful and offering more of what has made it such a success since its launch in 2007.
Update: We’ve just learned that Bell Mobility will be offering the iPhone 4 “in coming weeks”. Hopefully that means we will not see a repeat of the exclusivity deals that were done for the initial release of the iPhone in Canada.