Steve Jobs is Dead

Ok, no, he's not. For the record, I don't wish him dead either. I do wish he'd shut up. Especially in public.

While bitching about, I mean, commenting on Amazon's new e-book device, the ever subtle Mr. Jobs said:

“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

This is mind-numbingly stupid and offensive on so many levels I'd wear out the keyboard on the MacBook Pro I'm typing this on just trying to list half of them. I'll just hit the high points. First, why not just say, "The Kindle sucks because the minions who slave under me and affix the letter "i" to all product names did not invent it. And when I say invent I mean rip off from someone else." That would have been a bit more subtle.

Second, thanks for giving me a good name for reverse-Luddites. If Luddites oppose new technology of almost any kind, Jobbites oppose anything that isn't new. Or, in the case of the big Job himself, any technology he hasn't managed to slap his brand on. If it doesn't have a plug, it's no good. New is better. Always.

All of this is even more amusing coming from Steve Jobs. Maybe he's afraid that Amazon will include Triumph of the Nerds in their list of available books. God, I hope they do. The public needs to be reminded that Steve Jobs is not a visionary. He's an opportunist. Steve Wozniak is the one who created the personal computer. Steve Jobs is the one who marketed it. I work in an industry where the Apple brand is revered as a brand. They know how to work the brand, I'll give them that, but cutting edge and Apple don't belong in the same sentence. Jobs doesn't create, he exploits. And bully for him. But stop with the pontificating.

So people don't read anymore. Thanks for the newsflash, Steve. Never mind that those numbers about "less than one book a year" are highly questionable. Never mind that the heaviest users of libraries are Millennials. Never mind that the limiting reading to "books" is as goofy as limiting "listening to music" as "going to a concert."

I don't understand the venom directed at Amazon's Kindle or Sony's new e-book reader. Both are clearly aimed at heavy readers. The Kindle isn't even limited to books, it covers newspapers, blogs, and magazines. Comments on Amazon and elsewhere complaining about the "ugly" design and the "high price" miss the point. Isn't form supposed to follow function? Would the Kindle be a better product if it was, say, pink instead of beige? I want to be able to carry around 1000 books wherever I go. If I want it to be pink I'll get a pink cover. This MacBook Pro I'm typing on may be lovely to look at but I'd give up all it's sleek silverness in return for never seeing the spinning wheel of death again. Or just not seeing it every few hours. This thing looks good and yes people have stopped me in the airport to ask me "Is that a Mac" but so what? I still can't run a PowerPoint presentation on this thing without it crashing. If I want a cool looking paperweight, I'll buy one.

Price is subjective too. For me, an iPhone is still overpriced at $199 but I have plenty of friends who considered the $499 they spent on their iPhones a bargain. They love the device and the functionality. Wireless downloads and an easy to read screen PLUS 90,000 books to choose from at $399. Sold.

And don't even get me started on the DRM non-issue.

Of course, I'm still waiting for my Kindle to be delivered. Maybe I'll hate it. But I'll hate it on it's merits and not based on what someone thinks it should be. Especially Steve Jobs. Who really needs to shut up.

No comments: