An unordered (and likely incomplete) list of things that happened on Steve Jobs’s watch

Sometimes betas are ok, sometimes Apple employees makes mistakes. But there’s only one person who could truthfully claim to know what Steve Jobs would or would not have done, and he unfortunately passed away nearly a year ago.

Steve Jobs presided over a whole bunch of things “Steve Jobs would never have shipped.” Here are just a few:

  • OS X 10.0 beta, a buggy, slow, significantly incomplete first-foot-forward for Apple’s next big chapter
  • First MacBook Air, which was prohibitively expensive and never sold well. Public sightings, a staple of most Apple products, were quite rare until the major 2010 redesign
  • FaceTime for Mac beta
  • The iPhone 4 antenna controversy, which culminated in a surprise Apple press conference in which Steve Jobs had to explain how mobile phone antennas work, remind the world that really smart people work at Apple, and invite the press to tour Apple’s mobile phone signals testing facilities. He also offered a free bumper to all iPhone 4 buyers for a limited time
  • iPod HiFi
  • The 500 MHz PowerMac G4 mess, where Apple demoed a 500 MHz machine but downgraded shipping models to slower speeds. Thanks to Bruce Mc in the comments
  • The G4 Cube
  • The Motorola ROKR, thanks to Gdubs in the comments
  • The first 15-inch aluminum PowerBook white spot problem
  • The 2008 iPhone 3G + IPhone OS 2.0 + MobileMe + App Store launch disaster, for which Jobs wrote an internal company criticism and apology
  • Siri released in iOS 5 as a public beta
  • The original iPhone sold for $500 and $600 in 2007. But Apple dropped both prices by $200 just two months after release, then issued all early buyers refunds and store gift cards
  • The FileVault data loss problem introduced in 2003 with OS X Panther
  • A very scratch-able screen on the original iPod nano that resulted in a class-action lawsuit
  • Ping
  • iMovie 08, which made enough users so mad that Apple had to make the previous version, iMovie HD, available for download for free

Bonus list: Things Steve Jobs Didn’t Want To Do

Jobs also internally fought against or publicly dismissed at least a handful of Apple’s most significant decisions and products, such as:

  • iPod with video
  • iPod for Windows, the move arguably responsible for Apple’s resurgence
  • Keep “Macintosh,” at the time just a code name, as the actual name for product launch
  • The original iPhone App Store

14 thoughts on “An unordered (and likely incomplete) list of things that happened on Steve Jobs’s watch

  1. The guy definitely knew how to make mistakes, no question about that. Some additions:
    The G4 CubeDropping the price of the original iPhone by $200.00 about two weeks after it was released.Demoing a 500GHz Power Mac G4 and adding it to the Apple Store, only to pull it a few days later. It was four months later that Apple actually shipped a 500 GHz G4. Those who ordered the 500GHz machine during that first week initially were told they had to pay full price for a 450GHz computer, but Apple changed their minds on that.
    But somehow Apple muddled through and did alright. Which could be your point in making the list. Messing up is not new to Apple, and does not mean the sky is falling.

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  2. The original iPhone didn’t drop in price two weeks later, which would have bordered on the absurd.
    The iPhone was released on June 29, 2007, and the price wasn’t dropped until the iPod Touch was released on September 5, 2007 — a little more than two months later.

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  3. Here’s a quote from John Gruber, regarding Steve Jobs’ single biggest mistake;
    "Putting Schmidt on the board was the single biggest mistake in Jobs’s entire time at the helm. This corner Apple has painted itself into with Maps today may never have happened if Jobs hadn’t misplaced his trust in Schmidt."
    He just posted this today in response to a NYT article on Apple’s Maps fiasco. This is a corner Apple will have a hard time coming out of. Mapping is extremely hard work.

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  4. Good list, but I dispute putting the iPod HiFi on it. A couple of friends bought it, and it was the best sounding boom box I have ever heard, dead simple to use, practical.
    It’s one fault was not having built in wireless for AirPlay. I was very upset when Apple discontinued it, because it was the absolutely perfect thing for people with no desire or ability to mess with the user hostile UI of modern component stereo systems.
    How I wish I had been able to get two for my 80 year old mother, instead of the Denon 5.1 plus "zone 2" stereo receiver she has now, with speaker wires all over the place, and periodic phone calls that its broken, when in fact its absolutely horrific UI leads the Volume knob to not working because it has been switched to a different mode.

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  5. You missed the daylight savings alarm clock bug. Executives all over the world failing to get up on time because their over-priced alarm clocks didn’t work properly.

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  6. +1 for FCPX.Take a product challenging Avid’s couple of decades hold on the broadcast and cinema market and dumb it right down for the MacBook coffee shop auters.

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  7. Oh, and pretty much ditching Mac Pro workstations.Nice way to alienate the market who kept you going through the lean years.

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  8. How about going after Android (Unix-based) after the all but wholesale burglary of BSD (also Unix-based) that he turned into Mac OS X? Like, he’s allowed to steal but nobody else is?

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    1. You know, I was inclined to include those. But then I remembered Apple only recently stopped selling them. Even though I can’t remember the last time I saw them in public, iPod socks stuck around for years; usually Apple kills poorly selling products faster than that.

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