The stench of desperation must be getting pretty thick on the Infinite Loop. Can it be that the generator for Steve Jobs’s notorious Reality Distortion Field has finally broken down?
Two days ago, we learned that Jobs knew of the iPhone 4′s antenna problem before launch. They had warnings both from an in-house antenna engineer and “carrier partner”, presumably AT&T. Yes, this means all the Apple fanboys who had hissy fits at me when I said fifteen days ago that Apple was lying about the problem now get to go sit in the stupid corner.
Also two days ago, New York Senator Charles Schumer issued an open letter to Steve Jobs regarding the iPhone 4 antenna issues. Chuckie Schumer is the worst sort of political bottom-feeder, a power-worshiping greaseball with a spine of pure jelly; when such as he thinks it’s good politics to pile on Apple, you may be sure that Jobs’s teflon coating has definitively worn off.
A day ago, we got to watch Jobs tap-dance his way around the problem. This was a first; I cannot recall any previous instance in which the Turtlenecked One, rather than effectively controlling the agenda, has had to operate in full damage-control mode. He could have manned up and said “OK, we messed up on the antenna design, we’re recalling,” but no. Instead it’s bumper cases for all and a truly smarmy attempt to claim that everyone else in the industry is just as bad.
Way to recover your damaged reputation, Stevie boy! Time was when the wunderkind’s reality-distortion field would have somehow soothed everyone into glaze-eyed insensibility, but that’s not the way it’s going down today. Instead, there’s public pushback from both RIM and Nokia, and neither company is being shy about specifying just how far his Jobness has rammed his head up his own ass.
And there is absolutely no one else to blame for this; it’s obviously Job’s fetishism about cool industrial design, the aesthetic of the minimalistically slick-looking surface above all else, that compromised the antenna design and led him to ignore the warnings. The exact quality that Apple fanboys have been telling us would ultimately win the game for Jobs turns out to be the tragic flaw instead. And now he’s reduced to telling everyone to wrap a big ugly rubber on, it, sparky! Hubris and nemesis; this epic fail could be right out of Aeschylus.
Not a word from Google yet, and I’m guessing there won’t be – not the company’s style, and besides the right people to bitch-slap Jobs would actually be its partner handset makers. But you can bet that somewhere, deep inside the Googleplex, some planning and product teams are laughing. At Jobs, not with him.
Remember when I said Apple gets to own every failure? This one’s still escalating. It’s nowhere near a company-killer yet, but it’s beginning to look like a product-killer. And, the shambolic end of the Jobs mystique.