Why does Apple keep contradicting Steve Jobs?

The legendary Apple founder had some strong views, yet the company seems happy to ignore them completely.

Peter Iantorno September 10, 2015

There is no doubt that without Steve Jobs, the genius who created and co-founded Apple, the world’s biggest brand would simply not be here today.

However, since Jobs’ death, the company has made a habit of completely contradicting some of the Apple founder’s strongest-held beliefs.

The latest in a long line of examples is the company’s decision to include a stylus with its newly announced iPad Pro. Marketed as ‘Pencil’, the new $99 gadget will serve as an option for graphic designers, illustrators and those who want to use the 12.9-inch iPad Pro as a tool for drawing.

Some see the move as Apple finally catching up with rivals Samsung, who have long included a stylus with their massively popular Galaxy Note, however if Steve Jobs was around, you can’t help but feel he wouldn’t have held the same view.

"Who wants a stylus?” he said famously at the 2007 reveal of the original iPhone, above. “You have to get them, put them away. You lose them. Yuck. Nobody wants a stylus. So let’s not use a stylus.”

And this wasn’t a fleeting belief either. Three years later at an iOS 4 press event he made his stance on the stylus abundantly clear with the simple statement: “If you see a stylus, they blew it.”

Granted, the ‘Pencil’ announced at Apple’s latest reveal is a far cry from the kind of stylus that Jobs objected to, but when it comes to contradicting its founder, the stylus is only the tip of the iceberg for Apple.

"These services treat you like a criminal. And they are subscription based and we think subscriptions are the wrong path,” said Jobs in 2003 on what was then the relatively new phenomenon of online music streaming. Skip forward a dozen years and Apple Music is born.

Then there’s the case of smaller tablets. In 2010 Jobs made his feelings towards shrinking down tablets known in a trademark rant on the subject. "There are clear limits of how close you can physically place elements on a touch screen before users cannot reliably tap, flick or pinch them," he said.

He went on to confirm that there was no way the company would make an iPad screen less than 10 inches, "unless your tablet also includes sandpaper, so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter of the present size." A year after Jobs died the company released the 7.9-inch iPad Mini. 

And the examples just keep on coming. In 2010 Jobs called Samsung's Galaxy S phones "Hummers" on account of their 4-inch screens. "You can't get your hand around it," he said. "No one's going to buy that." Just a year after he died the iPhone 5 was released with a 4-inch screen, and last year the gargantuan 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus burst on to the scene.

Of course, it must be said that despite incurring the wrath of some Apple purists who believe that the founder’s words should be followed to the letter, in the main the company has clearly been successful on the basis of, when needed, completely ignoring them.

And when you think about it, as much of a visionary as Jobs was, how could he possibly have known what the modern-day tech consumer would be demanding four years after his death?

It is no surprise that Apple has gone against some of its founder’s beliefs to keep up with the rapidly changing market. And after all, if Jobs was taking over a company whose founder had beliefs he disagreed with, you could bet your bottom dollar he wouldn’t have thought twice about ignoring them.