"I believe Apple's brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role," Steve Jobs says in his resignation letter today.
In 1996 Apple was a failing company, it had just produced the Pippin (heard of it?), and was in dire need of fresh talent and leadership. Re-enter Steve Jobs reprising his role as CEO, things were about to change. Over the last decade, Jobs has not just shaped Apple, he has shaped the way we use information.
"He's had exactly the same methodology, the same vision since the late 70s when he brought out the Apple II, which was the first computer designed for ordinary people." says Leander Kahney, publisher of Cult of Mac. "He wanted to have a nice case, he wanted to advertise it with some nice lifestyle advertising. He wanted people just to take it out the box and plug it in and use it straight away. And he's had that same vision, that same MO for all the products he's designed."
Enlisting the design prodigy, Johnathan Ive, the company has since produced some of the most revolutionary products in the world from the iMac in 1998 to the current iPad. Like the duo's pioneering product design forefather Dieter Rams, Jobs and Ive have created designs which go beyond the common mantra "form follows function." When you pick up an ipod, it is difficult to decide which was designed first, the shape or the use, a definite 'chicken or the egg' situation. The products they have invented seem to be thought through from start to finish straight from conception on the design board.
But what next? As we speak Apple's shares are showing signs of decline and mild fear is growing among the iPhone classes. Will Apple products feature in the exhibitions of the future? "The company is made in the image of Steve," Kahney added. "A lot of people think the company is going to be in trouble without him but, he's moulded it to do things his way, it's almost as if he's imprinted his DNA on the way Apple does business. He has a team that is very experienced and he relies a lot on its judgements and its feedback to come to the decisions he comes to. So even though he (seems) irreplaceable, he's built a team that could replace him."
We take a look at some of the key Apple and Dieter Rams designs which form part of the wider exhibition Stylectrical at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg until January 15, 2012