You can understand a lot about the iPhone and the iPod Nano (which cost more to produce yet still replaced (at the same price point) the most popular iPod ever, the “mini”) from this quote from Steve Jobs, re: Macintosh 25th anniversary
“I don’t think about that,” he said. “When I got back here in 1997, I was looking for more room, and I found an archive of old Macs and other stuff. I said, ‘Get it away!’ and I shipped all that shit off to Stanford. If you look backward in this business, you’ll be crushed. You have to look forward.”
Then consider this, from the then-titan of the industry:
“I’d shut [Apple] down and give the money back to the shareholders.”And, perhaps even more telling, this notorious quote from Jobs himself, to Fortune magazine in 1996:
—Michael Dell, 1997.
“If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth — and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago.”Which is basically exactly what he did the next year. At any rate, worth considering the state of Dell today, run to the whim of Wall Street analysts, and the then-doomed Apple (Wired circa 1997: Silence grips Apple Deathwatch). One commoditized, the other innovated. This despite the fact that even Macworld magazine had inexplicably begun running Windows NT tips. And in every major instance, Apple’s moves were greeted with derision and a fall in stock value (iMac, iPod, Apple Stores, iPhone were all (wrongly) crowned as the last gasp of a desperate company; after all, even might Dell couldn’t figure out how to do bricks and mortar. My stars!).
This is ultimately Steve Jobs value to Apple. The actual products aren’t nearly important as the corporate daring, the brass balls that are necessary to tack hard against the wind and discontinue your best seller in favor of something even better. Or to say “fuck it, we will put no floppy drive in there.” And etc… Very few other companies of size do the same. Hell, very few Mom and Pops will make moves like that. Worth considering.