Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

This is a bit of a marathon read. The author does a good job of putting the many accomplishments of Steve Jobs to light. For people like myself who have witnessed the entire life of Apple’s products, this book provided many subtle insights into their creation. Steve Jobs and Apple computer could not have come about anywhere but Silicon Valley.

My only complaint is that the Walter Isaacson in some ways was not technical enough, not really understanding some of the many novel ideas presented. The author gives us the notion that Apple by using the 6502 had made a strategic mistake but not using the dominant Intel processor at the time, funny thing is Intel was not dominant at that time, rather Zilog with the Z80 was the dominant processor. Only when the IBM PC came out did Intel dominate the processor world.

While Steve Jobs was not at Apple at the time, Apple was one of the first customers of ARM, and was a key investor in them (10% owner). Thus the choice to go to ARM processors in the iPhone and iPad was kind of a return to the days of the Newton.

The book pointed out quite well that Xerox had invested in Apple and that Apple had the rights to use Xerox’s technology. Many people claim that Apple had ripped off Xerox, this book cleared up some of that. Apple did release on the Mac the Smalltalk programming environment, with the same user interface that Xerox created. Having used that software (which most people have not) it becomes very obvious that Apple made huge improvements to the user interface, this book like most books on the subject present the Apple ripped off Xerox side of this.

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