Comment from E-mail

I know that the Mac isn't really "your" computer (like the II) but you still seem pretty fond of it so I wonder what's your take on Apple's "plans" for the Mac. It seems that Steve Jobs is going to kill off the Mac and replace it with a "super NeXTcomputer". The Mac of today doesn't really remind me of the early Mac (from a hardware perspective). Perhaps it's the big screen (mine's 21", not quite like the "SE" sat to my right), perhaps it's the shape (a blue tower?!) perhaps it's just the PowerPC. All I know is; "It's Mac Jim but not as we knew it!". With the ripping out of the MacOS early this year (if all goes well) surly the Mac is dead in all but name. It's simply not the same beast.

What do you think of this? Would it be more accurate to call today's Mac the NeXTcomputer][? And what about OpenStep (oh MacOS X excuse me!) what do you think? Is this OS from the late 80's (or the 60's if you really trace it back) is this a good replacement to MacOS? I mean being crude; will you want one on your desk? What about the UI, how much Mac should they keep - what about "Finder" vs "Workspace Manager"?

I'd really like to hear your take on this. I have may happy memories from childhood of "playing" with my friend's Apple II (I actually wrote a program that did his billing for him - it was a scruffy little program but saved him a lot of time!) and knowing the a guy like you designed it makes those memories all the more special (we played a lot of games too!) Thanks in advance.


Your comments represent a lot of fears that loyal Macintosh owners have. To a large extent you are correct. But let's say that we took the Mac and tried to improve and fix it one step at a time. We'd likely wind up with something closer to OpenStep anyway. I'm sure that a great effort is being spent to make it feel right to Macintosh owners.

Then again, Steve Jobs comes from not using the Macintosh closely for some time. This can be an advantage in terms of moving on to a good machine for the future and leaving the past behind. We were too stagnated for too long. A lot of new Apple products are marketed to computer novitiates. The iMac and iBook are in this category. The effort is to reach new buyers, not former Macintosh users. To do this you have to have an exceptional machine and the past look and feel, and the past connectors, don't belong.

How is your relationship with Steve Jobs?

Question from E-mail

How is your relationship with Steve Jobs? Are you folks still friends? I remember back in 1992 when I saw my first NeXT Station and NeXT Cube made by the NeXT Computer company whom Steve Jobs started after his departure from Apple. I was in college then and NeXT sent a rep to our annual computer fair at the Unviersity of Florida campus. I immediately fell in love with the sleek lines on this new machine but of course I could never afford it. Since that time I have admired Steve Jobs both for the incredible NeXT Station and the NeXTSTEP OS. However, his personality as depicted in the movie was very disturbing. Was he looking for ways to motivate his employees or was it just a power trip he was on? You may abstain from answering this question if you feel it is to sticky an issue.


I admired taking bold steps like not having a floppy or hard disk, but it's only worthwhile when it works out. The first NeXT Cube had too many problems.

The depiction of Steve's personality in the movie is quite accurate and I suppose that Steve is happy with it. Although Steve almost always acted and spoke as though he was more right than anyone else, he only sometimes engaged in the activities portrayed, such as berating employees. I've heard from enough employees to know about these outbursts although I fortunately never witnessed one. Steve would probably tell you that these were artists who had to be treated that way to get the great art out of them, that anything just adequate wasn't what they were capable of. Also, others that aren't performing like great artists aren't worth keeping in Steve's eye. It's a very debatable issue, but I won't debate it with Steve. We're different here.