Something odd is happening inside Apple; various faux pas and oddities have been cropping up here and there in the months since Steve Jobs’ passing. The tides of change seem to be slowly eroding away one of the company’s founding principles: scrupulous attention to detail.

On what would have been Steve Jobs’ 57th birthday, we ask – has Apple already lost its touch? 

Today, the 24th February, marks what would have been Jobs’ 57th birthday. His legacy is lengthy and has been written about at length by a million other websites, but it seems of late that one thing that hasn’t carried on at Apple is Jobs’ obsessive eye for the finer nuances of design and brand identity.

Jobs’ just-so nature was so severe that Apple’s first CEO Michael Scott once said it was to his detriment. On the development of the Apple II, he said in an interview: “I stayed out of it but for weeks, maybe almost six weeks, the original Apple II case, Jobs wanted a rounded edge on it so it didn’t have a hard feel.

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“They spent weeks and weeks arguing exactly how rounded it would be. So that attention to detail is what Steve is known for, but it also is his weakness because he pays attention to the detail of the product, but not to the people.” But that attention to detail works, and it looks to be ebbing away.

Now, before we continue we should make the following disclaimer: by no means has Tim Cook’s reign at Apple sent the company spiraling into oblivion. Apple continues to absolutely smash it in terms of sales and still has an aspirational edge when it comes to marketing.

However, and it is a big however, things are starting to slip through the net that we don’t think would have done under Jobs’ watchful eye. Let’s look at the evidence…

See that picture? It’s from Apple’s website, under the section on company ethics. Notice anything odd? Unless we’re mistaken, that’s the first time we’ve ever seen anything on Apple’s website that shows a non-Apple product.

The projector we can forgive because Apple doesn’t have an alternative, but the laptops to the right of the MacBook Air? Windows machines. We just don’t see that happening under the Jobs regime.

And here again. Ignore the desk phone; look at the laptop. That’s an HP machine (if we’re not mistaken), running what seems to be Windows 7 at an Apple ‘employee assistance program’ in Shanghai. And these are recent pictures.

Would Jobs have allowed Windows kit to be plastered on his company website? We’re not going to speak on his behalf, but it strikes us as being unlikely.

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There’s more, though. This lack of perfection has started to sneak into other areas of business. The calendar in iOS 5 has started to attract attention from nit-pickers for its sudden lack of uniformity. The ‘1’ on the calendar app, for instance, no longer lines up in the dead centre of the app icon when it’s the first of the month.

It’s worse still inside the app. The calendar found in iOS 5 and above has played havoc with the brain of any OCD sufferers out there thanks to the positioning of the days of the week on the grid. Previously, the shortened days (Mon, Tue, Wed, etc.) all sat dead centre above the columns of numbers. In iOS 5 the words start to slip off to the left at about the ‘Thu’ mark, getting to the point where ‘Sun’ is completely off-centre (as denoted by our handy red line).

There’s also been the odd big App Store faux pas. We’re not about to suggest that no bad apps ever made it through on Steve Jobs’ watch because quite the opposite is true, but recent gaffes like the Camera+ app sneaking by the approvers certainly means that the process isn’t getting any tighter as time goes on.

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You may think that this is all a bit over-analytical, but that’s exactly the point. We’re talking about a company that’ll go to the lengths of filming entire staged holidays to show off new versions of its software (iMovie, below), or of developing a status light for its computers that doesn’t blink (the LED on Macs “mimics the rhythm of breathing which is psychologically appealing.”)

It’s that sort of extreme precision that has got Apple to where it is today. Not only that, but it’s ensured the company has a certain type of fan – one who won’t let half-measures and dodginess slip by unnoticed. These people demand a crazy sort of perfection, and that’s a need that’s no longer being met in quite the way it used to.

We’re sure that Apple’s not about to crumble under the weight of these slight oversights, but oversights they are, and they’re uncharacteristic. Does it mean that Jobs’ legacy is already fading? We really hope not. Let us know your thoughts below.

Calendar spot via Gizmodo

  • STL

    Incredibly imaginative.
    Makes me LOL and shake my head at the lengths loser web sits will go to get hits.
    .
    I recommend you quit publishing

  • AdamChew

    Wow what an obsession and nitpicking of an article.

    Sorry to be harsh, I know it is great to be perfect but it is human to err.

  • AdamChew

    Wow what an obsession and nitpicking of an article.

    Sorry to be harsh, I know it is great to be perfect but it is human to err.

  • Bhob70

    the  Camera+ app came out in 2010

  • Spock

    Good eye! I am the kind of picky Apple customer mentioned in the article and I do take these things seriously. A tolerance for big mistakes starts with a tolerance of small mistakes. Tim Cook should make sure these little slip-ups don’t lead to anything more significant.

  • PBK

    The iOS 5 you mentioned and all those slipping away that has been mentioned here was already used and approved by Steve before it was released. Now, they keep a Windows in the customer Support because it is necessary as there are millions of users using an iOS device with Windows and Apple’s Employee Assistance Program is the first step where a Windows device is needed….
    Now this whole post becomes invalid…..I wont deny it though, I am very concerned how Apple will do without Steve in the long run but for now we miss him in our hearts but Apple is still running like Steve’s thoughts…..

    • Anonymous

      You miss the CEO of a multinational electrical company ‘in our hearts’!?

      I think you need to get outside a bit more.

    • insanedeathlord

       An Employee Assistance Program has nothing to do with what IT equipment uou use. It is there to help the employee through tough times, reccomend a doctor to see, legal issues etc..

  • Anonymous

    What an idiotic article.  

  • Anonymous

    What an idiotic article.  

  • BobbyK

    One thing I learned while being in the military is the mission should not stop if one person is left behind. I do like how Apple has their ideas but they are too close minded, they let their people inspire and invent and the people have to accept and adapt. Windows and Android gives the tools to the users to create and drive, the machines adapt to the users and not the other way around. We must have a yin to every yang and with Apple it is one side but there are many things it can change to help improve. If Apple were to bridge the gap to Android and work to improve any and all things then this world could become everything and all we have hoped for.Just as the Sith and Jedi have worked together before so can Android and Apple. I only threw that in there, well just because.

  • BobbyK

    One thing I learned while being in the military is the mission should not stop if one person is left behind. I do like how Apple has their ideas but they are too close minded, they let their people inspire and invent and the people have to accept and adapt. Windows and Android gives the tools to the users to create and drive, the machines adapt to the users and not the other way around. We must have a yin to every yang and with Apple it is one side but there are many things it can change to help improve. If Apple were to bridge the gap to Android and work to improve any and all things then this world could become everything and all we have hoped for.Just as the Sith and Jedi have worked together before so can Android and Apple. I only threw that in there, well just because.

  • SmileWithEyesOpen

    I actually found this article interesting. I commend your attention to detail. Sure there are plenty of posts who say it’s scrutinizing excessively, but that is exactly the point.

    Apple has a huge following, not because of it’s super tech specs, but because of the quality of it’s products and highly accessible user experience. So much of that is the unseen detail – and it is meant to be taken for granted, uncluttering and easing the interaction with the machine.

    Anyone who remembers the slump Apple had when Jobs wasn’t involved, will rightly be concerned. The computers were considered illogical and pointlessly different. While evolving consumer technology has never been perfect, if these slights, quirks, and imprecisions start to snowball, it could start to affect the opinion of the people who don’t pay attention. How many bad pixels does it take to ruin an image?

    While I am in the process of buying my next iMac, and still trust the company’s product implicitly, I am going to be watching closely…

  • Navykid4117

    I found this article refreshing and startling. You’ve certainly found some small yet inexcusable errors made by apple. Post-Jobs Apple is surely worrying me with both the iPad “3″ and the iPhone 4S being increment upgrades. The last products that truly took a whole step forward were the iPad 2 and iPhone 4. It is now also public information that “the new iPad” was actually plan b and just a back up plan after the ideal iPad “3″ was out of reach due to supply issues. I don’t think apple can take many more compromises before people start questioning their abilities. The iPad “3″ also got heavier, thicker and left out Siri simply because it would limit iPhone 4S sales. Why would it hurt 4S sales you ask? because its one of the only new features of the 4S. Apple needs to step up and spend money to produce a once again revolutionary product before people get bored and buy the new Galaxy S3 which is now the iPhone 5′s greatest adversary. I hope that Apple steps it up and doesn’t become the richest tech company in the world that can’t produce a single product that truly wows its users with a whole phone and not just a standalone feature like Siri.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001211172360 Benjamin Krausse

    Even before Steve Jobs passed, my prediction was that Apple would shrink back to what it used to be – a company that made computers that 5% of users used, but clung to  beyond death. Here’s the issue: Android is rising, on phones, at least, but it’s rising fast. On tablets, not so much – in fact, it’s the only possibility where I see Apple having an opportunity to keep a decent amount of market share for their products, and even dominate the entire computer market. It is questionable, though. Now, as to who, putting aside the chance of Apple coming up, will take over then, I’m afraid it might be Microsoft, as little as I would want that, with their new Apple-style “closed system”, because of their huge desktop share. I could only see that happening, though, if they ended up opening it a bit. Otherwise, I see Android coming through.
    For the future, I see one company being dominant in phone, tablet, laptop, and desktop, at once. As to if the laptop category will still exist then, that’s another question. But one company will probably rule them all, because it’s usually a good deal easier to have everything on the same system (anyone who has used itunes on windows will know what I’m talking about). The new CEO might be pushing this forward quicker, who knows, but unless dramatic change at Apple happens, I don’t see much else happening.

Hot chat, right here!


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