'Other companies came up with the guts for a machine and then the engineers would find a way to stuff them into a box,' says Zufi. 'Steve Jobs started with the box and said, "You need to find a way to get the guts in."'
No, these other companies weren't coming up with "the" guts, not back in the eighties and nineties.
Back then the "ap" was called an "expansion card" by serious users. If you had 10 megabits and you wanted 100 megabits, you could do that. If you wanted to stagger upgrading your system board and your video card, you could do that, too, with a bit of planning. Not "the" guts. Any guts.
We also had the notion of consumables which could be replaced, like CMOS batteries which didn't last forever, unlike the batteries Apple now uses after their break-through innovation in pentalobular lithium alkaloids.
Jobs was designing for a highly integrated potting-compound future long before the economics of this made any sense in the mass consumer marketplace. Design takes over once functionality plateaus, i.e. once Moore's projection passes into menopause. Just because you can stuff the circuitry into a designer's wet dream doesn't mean you should.
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The truth of the Apple story is that the company was fortunate to survive their reality distortion field until Job's vision of the ubiquitous appliance was right for the times.
If we want to move forward and see Apple healthy and prospering again, we have to let go of a few things here. We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. We have to embrace a notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job. And if others are going to help us that's great, because we need all the help we can get, and if we screw up and we don't do a good job, it's not somebody else's fault, it's our fault. So I think that is a very important perspective. If we want Microsoft Office on the Mac, we better treat the company that puts it out with a little bit of gratitude; we like their software.
Who promulgated that caustic narrative in the first place?