What will Steve Jobs kill next?

Let’s see.

Apple II? Didn’t have switches on the front.
Macintosh? No tape drive. No cursor keys.
Next? No disk drive.
iMac? No floppy drive.
iPod? No on/off button.
iPhone? No keyboard.

Where did I get this from? Tom Conrad, CTO of Pandora. He used to work at Apple. He tells me he asks himself what he should remove from his products to make them simpler. One thing he did on Pandora? Made the UI much smaller than a typical Web page. People asked him to add features. He said “they don’t fit.”

He thinks Twitter is successful because it got rid of a ton of features — he compared it to Google’s Dodgeball, which had more features but not as much buzz.

What feature will Steve Jobs kill next? How about you, which feature are you getting rid of to make your product/service/store/business simpler?

Comments

  1. Occasionally our business goes through a time of evaluation when we do exactly this. We believe it’s more important to simplify and focus in order to better sell and become experts on the services we offer. Part of our business is web design and development. We had 4 packages we were selling with the boring names of packages 1,2,3 and 4. We reduced the number of packages we actively from 4 to 2 and gave them name descriptive of their intended purpose. Our sales and stress level have gone down. Interesting enough was part of our inspiration for doing this was when Steve Jobs returned to Apple and reduced the product line to the famous 4 sectioned square.

  2. Occasionally our business goes through a time of evaluation when we do exactly this. We believe it’s more important to simplify and focus in order to better sell and become experts on the services we offer. Part of our business is web design and development. We had 4 packages we were selling with the boring names of packages 1,2,3 and 4. We reduced the number of packages we actively from 4 to 2 and gave them name descriptive of their intended purpose. Our sales and stress level have gone down. Interesting enough was part of our inspiration for doing this was when Steve Jobs returned to Apple and reduced the product line to the famous 4 sectioned square.

  3. Cursing. I’m going to lose the cursing from my feature set. This is a difficult decision for me because it’s the feature that is most requested.

  4. Cursing. I’m going to lose the cursing from my feature set. This is a difficult decision for me because it’s the feature that is most requested.

  5. I have to agree with Vinnie and hence Ed Zander. The next step is obviously the killing of the computer as we know it.

    I have a 13″ MacBook and people are always surprized by the small size of the screen. But, personally, I feel it could have been smaller and still be perfectly usable.

    So I guess Apple is working on a smaller MacBook (let’s say 1/2 the size of the current MacBook) and, as soon as it is ready, Apple will announce the death of the desktops and big laptops :-)

  6. I have to agree with Vinnie and hence Ed Zander. The next step is obviously the killing of the computer as we know it.

    I have a 13″ MacBook and people are always surprized by the small size of the screen. But, personally, I feel it could have been smaller and still be perfectly usable.

    So I guess Apple is working on a smaller MacBook (let’s say 1/2 the size of the current MacBook) and, as soon as it is ready, Apple will announce the death of the desktops and big laptops :-)

  7. If I hold down the play/pause button on my 4G iPod, that turns it off. If I push the play/pause button while off, it turns off. On/off not “killed”, just getting rid of something not necessary.

  8. If I hold down the play/pause button on my 4G iPod, that turns it off. If I push the play/pause button while off, it turns off. On/off not “killed”, just getting rid of something not necessary.

  9. I think the Apple laptops have the feature set about right. Just because getting rid of things made your design better, it doesn’t mean you can KEEP getting rid of things to make it better still.

    The reason this works for Apple though is that in most cases the alternatives (Windows PCs mostly) have been bloating up for years without anyone stepping up to the plate and saying HEY! this is getting ridiculous!

    Remember Microsoft proposed getting rid of legacy ports (parallel, serial, mouse and keyboard) in favor of USB a long time ago. It only took a wee bit of industry push-back for them to cave in though.

    If Microsoft had entered either the chip making business or the desktop PC business years ago Windows would be a far different (and far more focused) product. Not saying it would have been good for the company, but it might well have been good for Windows users.

    As it is, Windows is bloated to support all the legacy hardware that’s out there as well as making a lot of old non-supported hardware “just work” (sort-of) with generic drivers. At the same time, it is bloated to make Microsoft applications work better than alternatives (some of which are no longer even a competitive threat).

    If on the other hand, MS were to enter either of these two hardware marketplaces, companies like Dell, HP and Intel would suddenly “see the light” and start supporting their hardware with Open Source, like you couldn’t imagine.

    Now they will add to all that another layer of bloat to make web services work better (or in the case of live.*) ONLY for Windows users.

    I think Apple will have the “simplify” market all to themselves for the foreseeable future, although I’m always hopeful someone will boil desktop and web needs down to something that could be put into a $200 (or less) appliance desktop or laptop. That is essentially what I am using for myself, by combining a refurbished used PC and installing Linux on it. I can do more with my set-up than most of the Windows users I know. All it would take to replace my used system with a new one is for some company (such as Dell) to be willing to take on the support costs. They just have to get to a point where those support costs added to whatever Microsoft does to punish them still nets them a profit. these companies, locked into this “coptition” matrix is what will eventually put other countries in the technology drivers-seat, more than they are already that is, if it doesn’t shake loose soon. I wish more people could see that.

    PS: And I’m using a used systems because I CAN, not because I have to. I can get three or four PCs for the price of one, know that they have been “burned in” on top of some government workers desk for a year or two (like new really!) and give them away as gifts, build clusters, put a PC in every room, etc., without feeling too guilty about it.

  10. I think the Apple laptops have the feature set about right. Just because getting rid of things made your design better, it doesn’t mean you can KEEP getting rid of things to make it better still.

    The reason this works for Apple though is that in most cases the alternatives (Windows PCs mostly) have been bloating up for years without anyone stepping up to the plate and saying HEY! this is getting ridiculous!

    Remember Microsoft proposed getting rid of legacy ports (parallel, serial, mouse and keyboard) in favor of USB a long time ago. It only took a wee bit of industry push-back for them to cave in though.

    If Microsoft had entered either the chip making business or the desktop PC business years ago Windows would be a far different (and far more focused) product. Not saying it would have been good for the company, but it might well have been good for Windows users.

    As it is, Windows is bloated to support all the legacy hardware that’s out there as well as making a lot of old non-supported hardware “just work” (sort-of) with generic drivers. At the same time, it is bloated to make Microsoft applications work better than alternatives (some of which are no longer even a competitive threat).

    If on the other hand, MS were to enter either of these two hardware marketplaces, companies like Dell, HP and Intel would suddenly “see the light” and start supporting their hardware with Open Source, like you couldn’t imagine.

    Now they will add to all that another layer of bloat to make web services work better (or in the case of live.*) ONLY for Windows users.

    I think Apple will have the “simplify” market all to themselves for the foreseeable future, although I’m always hopeful someone will boil desktop and web needs down to something that could be put into a $200 (or less) appliance desktop or laptop. That is essentially what I am using for myself, by combining a refurbished used PC and installing Linux on it. I can do more with my set-up than most of the Windows users I know. All it would take to replace my used system with a new one is for some company (such as Dell) to be willing to take on the support costs. They just have to get to a point where those support costs added to whatever Microsoft does to punish them still nets them a profit. these companies, locked into this “coptition” matrix is what will eventually put other countries in the technology drivers-seat, more than they are already that is, if it doesn’t shake loose soon. I wish more people could see that.

    PS: And I’m using a used systems because I CAN, not because I have to. I can get three or four PCs for the price of one, know that they have been “burned in” on top of some government workers desk for a year or two (like new really!) and give them away as gifts, build clusters, put a PC in every room, etc., without feeling too guilty about it.

  11. The founder of Palm carried a block of wood the size of a Palm with him in his pocket. Every now and then he’d pull it out and pretend to use it. If someone asked him about a new feature then he’d pull it out and ask where would it fit.

    This is how Palm was able to succeed at a time when all the other competitors were trying to create a miniature computer. Because they got that portability was what was important and you could leave out features if it meant that you fit in a pocket.

  12. The founder of Palm carried a block of wood the size of a Palm with him in his pocket. Every now and then he’d pull it out and pretend to use it. If someone asked him about a new feature then he’d pull it out and ask where would it fit.

    This is how Palm was able to succeed at a time when all the other competitors were trying to create a miniature computer. Because they got that portability was what was important and you could leave out features if it meant that you fit in a pocket.

  13. Dodgeball never went anywhere because Google refused, for the most part, to promote it, or even support it once they bought it. They let it die a slow and fiery death. It’s still there, but nobody’s manning the ship now that the founders left.

    Comparing it to Twitter is kind of an apples to oranges comparison in my book. not quit the same thing.

  14. Dodgeball never went anywhere because Google refused, for the most part, to promote it, or even support it once they bought it. They let it die a slow and fiery death. It’s still there, but nobody’s manning the ship now that the founders left.

    Comparing it to Twitter is kind of an apples to oranges comparison in my book. not quit the same thing.

  15. Robert – I admire Steve Jobs a lot too but he doesn’t get credit for killing the keyboard. I’m not sure who did it first but it can’t be the iPhone since the PocketPC phones had an on-screen dialpad and keyboard.

  16. Robert – I admire Steve Jobs a lot too but he doesn’t get credit for killing the keyboard. I’m not sure who did it first but it can’t be the iPhone since the PocketPC phones had an on-screen dialpad and keyboard.

  17. Bill: that’s bull@@@@. Everyone around me told me to use Dodgeball. It did too much. Twitter is simpler and asks you a more relevant question. It doesn’t really care where you are (which Dodgeball did) but what you’re doing.

    It sounds like you’re part of the Dodgeball team that’s bitter about something at Google. Twitter doesn’t have ANY of Google’s resources and is taking off. So is Facebook, which added a million new people last week alone.

  18. Bill: that’s bull@@@@. Everyone around me told me to use Dodgeball. It did too much. Twitter is simpler and asks you a more relevant question. It doesn’t really care where you are (which Dodgeball did) but what you’re doing.

    It sounds like you’re part of the Dodgeball team that’s bitter about something at Google. Twitter doesn’t have ANY of Google’s resources and is taking off. So is Facebook, which added a million new people last week alone.

  19. Most people respond to the question ‘what are you thinking?’. It’s way more about people’s thoughts, and way more conversational too, than what was intended: exchanging status updates on current activities.
    On another level, it’s just another way to construct a reality in which you’re living ‘the good life’, doing interesting things, meeting nice people, eating good food, etc.

  20. Most people respond to the question ‘what are you thinking?’. It’s way more about people’s thoughts, and way more conversational too, than what was intended: exchanging status updates on current activities.
    On another level, it’s just another way to construct a reality in which you’re living ‘the good life’, doing interesting things, meeting nice people, eating good food, etc.

  21. Oh that’s easy, the Hardrive will be the next to go the way of the floppy disk, with hybrid hard drives coming on line this year,you’ll the gradual shift with Apple and the PC makers eventually making the change.

  22. Oh that’s easy, the Hardrive will be the next to go the way of the floppy disk, with hybrid hard drives coming on line this year,you’ll the gradual shift with Apple and the PC makers eventually making the change.

  23. @John C. Welch: Beat me to the punch. Correct – NeXT had a magneto-optical drive and HDD.

    @Jamie R Rytlewski: That actually just “sleeps” your iPod, doesn’t turn it off. Sometimes I wish it did. :(

  24. @John C. Welch: Beat me to the punch. Correct – NeXT had a magneto-optical drive and HDD.

    @Jamie R Rytlewski: That actually just “sleeps” your iPod, doesn’t turn it off. Sometimes I wish it did. :(

  25. Not part of the dodgeball team, just a dedicated dodgeball user watching the product slowly die.

    also using twitter and loving it…

  26. Not part of the dodgeball team, just a dedicated dodgeball user watching the product slowly die.

    also using twitter and loving it…

  27. The thing that Jobs killed off that irked me was OpenDoc (no, not the ODF stuff), and along with it, the most innovative browser in history, CyberDog.

    He also killed of GameSprockets (in effect killing off the Mac game market), iPod FireWire support, Publish & Subscribe, the Mac Cube. Jobs is the exact opposite of Gates – if something doesn’t catch on within two years, he kills it off. There’s much to be said for such philosophy. Also much to be said against it. Jobs would’ve killed off Windows after version 2 failed in the market.

  28. The thing that Jobs killed off that irked me was OpenDoc (no, not the ODF stuff), and along with it, the most innovative browser in history, CyberDog.

    He also killed of GameSprockets (in effect killing off the Mac game market), iPod FireWire support, Publish & Subscribe, the Mac Cube. Jobs is the exact opposite of Gates – if something doesn’t catch on within two years, he kills it off. There’s much to be said for such philosophy. Also much to be said against it. Jobs would’ve killed off Windows after version 2 failed in the market.

  29. The next thing Apple will kill off is the personal computer. Sure, computers will still be needed for industry but the 90% of consumers who only use a computer for playing media, surfing and communicating will just be using an iPhone or iPhone clone instead.

  30. The next thing Apple will kill off is the personal computer. Sure, computers will still be needed for industry but the 90% of consumers who only use a computer for playing media, surfing and communicating will just be using an iPhone or iPhone clone instead.

  31. I’ll add another one:

    Apple III — The Fan

    (Oops. Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea…)

  32. I’ll add another one:

    Apple III — The Fan

    (Oops. Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea…)

  33. @John C. Welch, @Don MacAskill: The first NeXT computer shipped with a single removable 256MB MO disk drive as standard, although an internal hard drive was available as an option. With a single MO drive the only way to transfer data was over the network. Hmm, just like the first iMac.

  34. I’ve got to agree with Al. The idea of the personal computer as we know it is becoming a thing of the past. People need less and less in terms of hardware to accomplish what they want to do. It’s only a matter of time before we just plug a chip into our ears and all of our surfing will be done through just thinking about it.

    There’s still a need for some items for some of us that have been using computers for a long time; but those that are younger than that group are becoming more and more adept at just texting someone rather than actually writing an e-mail. Hopefully this will not be true, but it’s looking more and more like it everyday.

  35. I’ve got to agree with Al. The idea of the personal computer as we know it is becoming a thing of the past. People need less and less in terms of hardware to accomplish what they want to do. It’s only a matter of time before we just plug a chip into our ears and all of our surfing will be done through just thinking about it.

    There’s still a need for some items for some of us that have been using computers for a long time; but those that are younger than that group are becoming more and more adept at just texting someone rather than actually writing an e-mail. Hopefully this will not be true, but it’s looking more and more like it everyday.

  36. @John C. Welch, @Don MacAskill: The first NeXT computer shipped with a single removable 256MB MO disk drive as standard, although an internal hard drive was available as an option. With a single MO drive the only way to transfer data was over the network. Hmm, just like the first iMac.

  37. Perhaps Steve Jobs will kill kitchen appliances as well by integrating a mini George Forman grill onto his iPhone.

    That way if you get bored of playing w/ your dumb phone…you can grill a few lean burgers.

    -just a thought.

  38. Perhaps Steve Jobs will kill kitchen appliances as well by integrating a mini George Forman grill onto his iPhone.

    That way if you get bored of playing w/ your dumb phone…you can grill a few lean burgers.

    -just a thought.

  39. @21,

    No way. People want to have a decent screen size. I like to have at least a 10″ screen. No less. Surfing sucks on phones or even gadgets like the Sidekick.

    I’ll buy a micro notebook, but never just a “phone” with an LCD and keyboard.

  40. @21,

    No way. People want to have a decent screen size. I like to have at least a 10″ screen. No less. Surfing sucks on phones or even gadgets like the Sidekick.

    I’ll buy a micro notebook, but never just a “phone” with an LCD and keyboard.

  41. Where did this bizarre topic evolve from?

    A better question is “When will Bill Gates charge an annual fee for using the Internet?”
    MS is twice the demon Apple/Macintosh could hope to be and the benefits of membership amount to MS having open access to your computer while online so that “patches” can be added to fix the holes in security of Windows OS. I don’t want to count the number of updates that came out after Service pack 2.
    Vista is MS’s Service Pack 3. I can hardly wait for the Vista Service Packs.

    And Steve Jobs kills what?

  42. Where did this bizarre topic evolve from?

    A better question is “When will Bill Gates charge an annual fee for using the Internet?”
    MS is twice the demon Apple/Macintosh could hope to be and the benefits of membership amount to MS having open access to your computer while online so that “patches” can be added to fix the holes in security of Windows OS. I don’t want to count the number of updates that came out after Service pack 2.
    Vista is MS’s Service Pack 3. I can hardly wait for the Vista Service Packs.

    And Steve Jobs kills what?

  43. Michaelhill: Tom Conrad worked at Apple in the 1990s on the Finder team. The topic came from that time and afterward. It was his observations that Steve Jobs would remove things that everyone thought they needed. But in doing so made things simpler.

  44. Michaelhill: Tom Conrad worked at Apple in the 1990s on the Finder team. The topic came from that time and afterward. It was his observations that Steve Jobs would remove things that everyone thought they needed. But in doing so made things simpler.

  45. “It was his observations that Steve Jobs would remove things that everyone thought they needed.”

    Well in that case…
    Steve Jobs will kill Microsoft Windows ;-)

    Actually to be fair he helps keep it alive and umm “so fresh and innovative”!

    I hope he successfully kills DRM first though!

  46. “It was his observations that Steve Jobs would remove things that everyone thought they needed.”

    Well in that case…
    Steve Jobs will kill Microsoft Windows ;-)

    Actually to be fair he helps keep it alive and umm “so fresh and innovative”!

    I hope he successfully kills DRM first though!

  47. The mouse.

    Also, the idea of interface input and interface output as two separate entities. My display should have a mounted stand on my desk which gives me the functionality of an LCD. When I want to input data, I will either type on a virtual keyboard which the display projects onto the desk, or, I cn lift the display out of its mount and use it as a drawing tablet. I can type onto the screen if I so desire, or I can use the stylus that is stored in a recess on the side of the display.

    Oh yeah, the cables and wires are history too (well, as much as possible). So, I can take my display/tablet with me out of the den, go down to the family room in the basement, and load a movie onto my large screen TV, or else have the text I see (or input) on my pad also displayed on my large screen TV.

  48. The mouse.

    Also, the idea of interface input and interface output as two separate entities. My display should have a mounted stand on my desk which gives me the functionality of an LCD. When I want to input data, I will either type on a virtual keyboard which the display projects onto the desk, or, I cn lift the display out of its mount and use it as a drawing tablet. I can type onto the screen if I so desire, or I can use the stylus that is stored in a recess on the side of the display.

    Oh yeah, the cables and wires are history too (well, as much as possible). So, I can take my display/tablet with me out of the den, go down to the family room in the basement, and load a movie onto my large screen TV, or else have the text I see (or input) on my pad also displayed on my large screen TV.