'This Wouldn't Have Happened Under Steve Jobs'

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Photo: iTech-BB.com

Steve Jobs hasn’t even been dead a year, and he has already become the tiredest cliche in all tech writing:“This wouldn’t have happened under Steve Jobs.”

In the last year, I’ve seen that phrase (or a derivation of it) used to describe Apple’s awful new Maps app. To describe the new Podcasts app. To describe Siri. To describe all the leaks leading up to the iPhone 5. To describe the weird “Genius” commercials that ran during the Olympics.

You get the idea.


Joe Nocera, on Apple’s new Maps app in the New York Times:

Part of the reason is obvious: Jobs isn’t there anymore. It is rare that a company is so completely an extension of one man’s brain as Apple was an extension of Jobs. While he was alive, that was a strength; now it’s a weakness.

Jay Yarow, on the new Podcasts app:

I hate to be one of those guys that says Steve Jobs would have never let this happen, but, seriously, if Steve Jobs was alive this could never happen.

Dan Lyons, on the iPhone 5:

Somewhere up there, I can hear Steve screaming.

Jesus Diaz, writing about 10 things that would drive Jobs crazy today:

Apple hasn’t been the same either. And, wherever he is, Jobs probably doesn’t like some of the things that have been happening or are about to happen in Cupertino.

The fact is, Jobs was likely involved in many of today’s newest Apple products. He was involved in maps. He likely had something to do with the iPhone 5 design. Walter Isaacson’s biography describes Jobs using Siri a few months before the iPhone 4S launch. And so on.

I’m sick of it. It’s lazy writing, a cheap way to criticise Apple for the sake of criticising it. Before he died, Jobs made it clear to his successor Tim Cook he didn’t want him wondering “What would Steve do?” with every decision. It seems like Cook is doing a good job at that. But hey! Comparing him to Steve Jobs grabs reader attention, so why not?

I just sent notice to the writers on my team that they’re banned from using the phrase.

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