It seems that there’s a change going on at Apple – a disconnect, a miscommunication, a certain separation between those that lead and those that do…
To recap with hindsight:
Apple asks a company (Luxshare Precision) to come up with a proof of concept for what will become to be announced as AirPower.
Jony designs it. It looks lovely.
Jony designs the box. It looks lovely.
Tim loves it.
Tim doesn’t quite understand it.
Tim announces it to the world.
Tim continues to announce it.
The boxes get printed – everyone’s excited.
Graphics start to appear in builds of the OS – everyone’s even more excited.
Except nobody actually realised it wasn’t physically possible to do.
Nobody thought it was pertinent to actually talk to the people who were tasked with a shipping product, how things were going.
Or if they did, they didn’t understand what they were saying.
On top of that, Tim actually announced before they had a product.
Before they had a product. Before he’d seen it, touched it, critiqued it, sent it back, had it re-designed and then finally approved it.
Like Mr Jobs used to do.
How many stories have we heard about Steve making engineers life a misery by constantly going over a product, iteration after iteration, changing the slightest detail until he was happy?
Tim doesn’t run Apple like that and it shows, again and again.
Tim’s not a hardware guy – and it shows.
Tim ‘don’t bring me problems’ Cook, needs to understand that’s his job. Solve problems, even create them if needs be to get perfection.
To add insult to injury, here’s the press release from Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of Hardware Engineering:
“After much effort, we’ve concluded AirPower will not achieve our high standards and we have cancelled the project. We apologize to those customers who were looking forward to this launch. We continue to believe that the future is wireless and are committed to push the wireless experience forward.”
You may say that bringing something like AirPower to launch is complicated and involves 100’s of people and Tim can’t be held responsible.
I say he can – it’s his ship, he’s the leader – it’s time for him to get angry and start demanding more from the people who make up Apple.
I’ll end with this juicy piece of wisdom Ken Segall:
“So, Mr. Cook, it’s time to make sure this never, ever happens again. You acted quickly to fire Scott Forstall after the Maps fiasco. Please find the culprit in this AirPower Caper and at least give him/her a good whipping, Steve Jobs-style.
Unless you’re the culprit. In which case, well … let’s talk about that another time.”
It’s time for Tim to lead, or go.
But please, don’t put Jony Ive in charge FFS…