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Three Signs the Steve Jobs Era at Apple Is Finally, Definitively Over

Last December in this space I published a column titled “The Most Damaged Big Brand of The Year Is…” — with the answer being Apple . I dwelled on some of the tech giant’s problems in 2012, including its Apple Maps catastrophe and the growing scandal over the brutal conditions at the factories of its China-based subcontractors.

At the time, I noted that Apple’s stock was trading at around $540 a share, down from a 52-week high of $705.

As of this writing, it’s at $435.

Should we blame Steve Jobs’ successor, CEO Tim Cook? I say no, absolutely not. As I argued in December, a correction in our collective attitude toward high-flying Apple was surely a long time coming, and the reality is that much of the bad karma Apple has been earning payback on was built up during Steve Jobs’ reign.

The thing about Tim Cook is that, while he’s a decisive leader, he’s far from being the charismatic, messianic figure that Jobs was — nobody is — so by contrast he’s seemed almost recessive. It’s a bit of a thankless job following someone of Jobs’ global fame.

But now Cook has had enough time at the helm to make the company truly his own. Nearly a year and a half after Steve Jobs’ death, there are signs that the Jobs Era at Apple is finally, definitively over. To wit:

Starting today, it seems pretty official that we’re allowed to have fun with Steve Jobs’ memory. This morning Funny or Die is releasing its hour-long biopic “iSteve,” starring none other than Justin Long, the “Mac Guy” from the long-running “Get a Mac” commercials, as Jobs. The trailer for the film , which we ran on AdAge.com, suggests that “iSteve” will be everything you’d hope it would be — cheesy, cliched, breathless, overwrought, overheated — and it’s obviously meant to satirize the biopic genre itself. But it also has fun with Jobs’ legend. At one point in a voice-over we hear Long, as Jobs, barking out an order: “Call it the iPod: lowercase “i,’ uppercase “P,’ lowercase “o,’ lowercase “d.’ Write that down .” It’s a subtle dig at the auteur theory attached to Jobs’ legacy — as if he was the only guy who really mattered at a company that employs more than 78,000 people worldwide.

A few weeks back Apple hired Adobe Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch as its VP for technology. Late in life, Jobs was notoriously at war with Adobe over its Flash technology, which he despised. At Adobe, Lynch was one of the noisiest Flash evangelists; he even co-starred in a wry 2009 video , created for an Adobe developer conference, in which he and a colleague were shown doing stuff like sticking one iPhone in a blender and flattening another with a steamroller. Lynch is obviously a provocative choice given that bit of history, but his hiring is really about the fact that he’s a software guy who championed the cloud — including the Creative Cloud subscription service — at Adobe. Tim Cook signing off on Kevin Lynch’s hiring suggests a new emphasis on software-as-product and possibly less dependence on end-to-end manufacturing of physical devices.

Last week, Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White released a research note saying that, based on a meeting he had with an Apple-supply-chain company, he believes the next iPhone will come in two or even three different screen sizes. If true, it would represent yet another departure from Steve Jobs’ stubborn P.O.V. about offering consumers options.

After the original iPad was released, Jobs famously ridiculed competing manufacturers for making 7-inch tablets, declaring that they offered a dramatically compromised user experience compared to the 10-inch iPad. After his death, of course, Apple introduced a tablet in the 7-inch range — the 7.9-inch iPad mini, which many users now consider to be the ultimate iPad. (It really does make the larger iPad feel like a ridiculously unwieldy slab.)

I’ve been an iPhone user from the get-go, but I increasingly feel envious of all the extra screen real-estate that many of my friends and colleagues get to play with when they pull out Android phones from Samsung and other Apple competitors. I think Tim Cook is smart enough to know that just vertically elongating the iPhone’s screen — as was done with the iPhone 5 — was a not-good-enough half-measure.

The smartphone market is morphing into the mini-tablet market, which is an uncomfortable reality for Apple, but one it absolutely must face.

For a remarkably long time, Apple worked brilliantly as a one-size-fits-Steve company. If a product worked for Steve Jobs, that was good enough; millions upon millions could be expected to reliably line up behind the great man and dutifully validate his exceedingly limited and limiting aesthetic choices.

But with smartphones and tablets destined to become commoditized categories, Apple has no choice but to offer … choice.

Say what you will about Tim Cook, but he’s not running a one-size-fits-Tim company — and that’s really good news for the future of Apple.

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Tyga Gathers Wiz Khalifa, Mally Mall For ‘Crazy’ ‘Molly’ Video

When Tyga first heard the beat for his new Hotel California single “Molly,” the Young Money MC immediately began thinking futuristic. The robotic hook, which was built into the beat when T-Raw first got it, reminded him of his iPhone and a few fantasy-based flicks.
“When I first heard the hook, I was like, ‘It sounds like Siri,’ ” Tyga told MTV News on Tuesday, likening the song to the ask-all app on his iPhone. “So I was like, that would be dope if I did something like ‘I, Robot’ meets ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ Something crazy like that.”

MTV News took a trip to Tyga’s video set in downtown Los Angeles and saw first-hand how Tyga and director Colin Tilley incorporated inspiration from Will Smith’s 2004 sci-fi movie and Lewis Carroll’s literary classic, which has been adapted to film several times. While “Molly” is of course a reference to the popular party drug, Tyga went the extra length to add creativity to his upcoming video — he could’ve easily shot a run-of-the-mill in-the-club clip. “Anybody that knows what I’m talking about then you know what you feel when you’re in that moment,” he said, referencing the euphoric effects that Molly is said to have. “From the lights to how everything is and how you look at everything. I just wanted to make the video like that — real black-light, glow-in-the-dark, crazy type of stuff.”
While Tyga’s set was different, there were some familiar faces: the track’s collaborators Mally Mall and Wiz Khalifa came through for their cameos. “This is the first time me and Wiz ever worked together, really,” Tyga noted. “Wiz is real known for all his weed culture and embracing that heavy. I felt like we’re close in age, we’re both winning in what we’re doin’, it made sense.”
What are you expecting from Tyga’s upcoming album Hotel California? Let us know in the comments!