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“He just started screaming at me,” Vincent recalled.
Vincent could be volatile himself, and the volleys escalated.
Apple introduced the i Pod, in 2001, because Jobs looked at the existing music players on the market and concluded that they “truly sucked.” Smart phones started coming out in the nineteen-nineties. This dinner was like the tenth time he talked to me about it, and I was so sick of it that I came home and said, “Fuck this, let’s show him what a tablet can really be.”Even within Apple, Jobs was known for taking credit for others’ ideas.
Jobs introduced the i Phone in 2007, more than a decade later, because, Isaacson writes, “he had noticed something odd about the cell phones on the market: They all stank, just like portable music players used to.” The idea for the i Pad came from an engineer at Microsoft, who was married to a friend of the Jobs family, and who invited Jobs to his fiftieth-birthday party. Jonathan Ive, the designer behind the i Mac, the i Pod, and the i Phone, tells Isaacson, “He will go through a process of looking at my ideas and say, ‘That’s no good. I like that one.’ And later I will be sitting in the audience and he will be talking about it as if it was his idea.”Jobs’s sensibility was editorial, not inventive.
As Jobs tells Isaacson: This guy badgered me about how Microsoft was going to completely change the world with this tablet PC software and eliminate all notebook computers, and Apple ought to license his Microsoft software. His gift lay in taking what was in front of him—the tablet with stylus—and ruthlessly refining it.
After looking at the first commercials for the i Pad, he tracked down the copywriter, James Vincent, and told him, “Your commercials suck.”“Well, what do you want? “You’ve not been able to tell me what you want.”“I don’t know,” Jobs said. Nothing you’ve shown me is even close.”Vincent argued back and suddenly Jobs went ballistic.
Though barely able to speak, he ordered them to bring five different options for the mask and he would pick a design he liked. He created the “automatic” spinning mule: an exacting, high-speed, reliable rethinking of Crompton’s original creation.
European washing machines, Jobs discovered, used less detergent and less water than their American counterparts, and were easier on the clothes.(When his public-relations assistant returns, at midnight, with the right flowers, he tells her that her suit is “disgusting.”) “Machines and robots were painted and repainted as he compulsively revised his color scheme,” Isaacson writes, of the factory Jobs built, after founding Ne XT, in the late nineteen-eighties. He then charts the even greater triumphs at Pixar and at a resurgent Apple, when Jobs returns, in the late nineteen-nineties, and our natural expectation is that Jobs will emerge wiser and gentler from his tumultuous journey. In the hospital at the end of his life, he runs through sixty-seven nurses before he finds three he likes. He also hated the oxygen monitor they put on his finger. One of the great puzzles of the industrial revolution is why it began in England. In an article published earlier this year, however, the economists Ralf Meisenzahl and Joel Mokyr focus on a different explanation: the role of Britain’s human-capital advantage—in particular, on a group they call “tweakers.” They believe that Britain dominated the industrial revolution because it had a far larger population of skilled engineers and artisans than its competitors: resourceful and creative men who took the signature inventions of the industrial age and from Lancashire, invented the spinning mule, which made possible the mechanization of cotton manufacture.“The walls were museum white, as they had been at the Macintosh factory, and there were ,000 black leather chairs and a custom-made staircase. “At one point, the pulmonologist tried to put a mask over his face when he was deeply sedated,” Isaacson writes: Jobs ripped it off and mumbled that he hated the design and refused to wear it. Yet England’s real advantage was that it had Henry Stones, of Horwich, who added metal rollers to the mule; and James Hargreaves, of Tottington, who figured out how to smooth the acceleration and deceleration of the spinning wheel; and William Kelly, of Glasgow, who worked out how to add water power to the draw stroke; and John Kennedy, of Manchester, who adapted the wheel to turn out fine counts; and, finally, Richard Roberts, also of Manchester, a master of precision machine tooling—and the tweaker’s tweaker.He talks to everyone in Jobs’s career, meticulously recording conversations and encounters dating back twenty and thirty years. “He had the uncanny capacity to know exactly what your weak point is, know what will make you feel small, to make you cringe,” a friend of his tells Isaacson. He cries like a small child when he does not get his way.Jobs gets his girlfriend pregnant, and then denies that the child is his. He gets stopped for driving a hundred miles an hour, honks angrily at the officer for taking too long to write up the ticket, and then resumes his journey at a hundred miles an hour.