Cover Image: After Steve

After Steve

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After Steve is an interesting and insightful look at apple and those around Steve and how they helped him shape the company and also looks at what comes next without his guidance. A enjoyable read for fans of Apple.
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Steve Jobs' Apple was, like the man, both fascinating and infuriating, not to mention utterly in love with its own mythology (do they still tell you at interviews to work in Apple stores that it's harder to get an interview there than it is to get into one of the big US universities? Because honestly, cringe). While it's impossible to say whether the same transition from creative upstarts to biggest company in the world would have happened had he not died so young, the fact that it *did* - and that it brought with it controversy over Apple's labour practices and approach to taxation; debate over whether and how the company should collaborate with authorities to allow them to break into over devices; and the extent to which it had to listen to shareholders - makes for a fascinating story.

Tripp Mickle's approach is to alternate chapters dedicated to the perspectives of "corporate man" Tim Cook (representing profit) and Jobs' creative heir Jonny Ive (representing innovation), and it makes for a fascinating portrait of a company trying to figure out its future without the guidance, and very much in the shadow, of its visionary founder. As a tech reporter who has followed the company for years, Mickle knows his stuff, and while the book is in no way an essential read for the lay person, if you're interested in Apple's journey it's a fascinating one.
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Great read. A little bit of insight into Steve Jobs and the rest of the Apple team. After reading I spent some time looking into other aspects of his story. Really reccomend this to any A0ple fan.
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This could possibly have been called what Apple did next. Steve Jobs was a hard act to follow and I would suggest that of course things couldn't be the same, they had to evolve.

The author introduces us to the key characters involved in running the business after Steve Jobs died. He discusses how Apple became ever more profitable, but perhaps lost its edge on the way.

It's written in an easy conversational style. I
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detailed look at Apple after the death of the founder Steve Jobs with product launches and disappointments, was interesting but won't be everyone's cup of tea though
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Im totally an apple fangirl and I was so excited to read this book.  I love getting lots of info on things I'm interested in.  I do feel there were digs at tim cook and was more an autobiography of Johnny Ive.  Was enjoyable enough
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A good book. I thought it had great detail. Although I wasn't that drawn to the characters, it was still very interesting and gave good insights into the other players around Jobs.
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A compeletely exceptional book that was both informative and fasinating an dompletely blew me away. MAsterully written in an excellent way
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This is billed as a book about a company, but is more accurately described as about two people, Tim Cook and Jony Ive, respectively CEO and former Chief Design Officer at Apple, one of the world’s biggest and most profitable companies. The author Tripp Mickle is a reporter at the Wall Street Journal where he covered Apple for four years. 

Mickle has a thesis: that under Cook Apple’s profitability has flourished but its design-led innovation has faltered, damaged in 2011 when co-founder Steve Jobs died at the age of 56. “It’s unclear if design will ever regain its position as the dominant voice over product direction,” he writes. In his epilogue, Mickle says that “Cook’s aloofness and unknowability made him an imperfect partner for an artist who wanted to bring empathy to every product.” The author mentions several times that Cook “seldom went to the design studio to see Ive’s team work.”

The book has amazing detail and represents the outcome of interviews with “more than two hundred current and former Apple employees” supplemented by further interviews with their family members, friends, suppliers of Apple, competitors, and government officials. There is lots of dialogue in the accounts of key incidents, drawn either from recordings or “reconstructed based on the recollections of people familiar with the events described.” As you read, you feel immersed in the company. It is a great achievement, particularly (as the author also notes) considering that “at Apple, current and former employees adhere to a strict code of silence.” There is a thick section of notes and references.

After Steve then is essential reading for Apple watchers. That said, I have a couple of reservations.  At 512pp this is a lengthy work and for me, too long. It is occasionally repetitive, the writing is professional but at times pedestrian. Further, if your interest is in Apple the company rather than Cook and Ive, it is overly focused on those two people.

This last point is perhaps why Mickle misses the impact of Apple Silicon, the series of ARM-based processors which began with the A series and took over from Intel as the technology in Mac computers from November 2020 with the launch of the M1. Recently Apple has announced the M2 with claimed performance improvements of up to 18% for the CPU and 35% for the GPU, compared to the M1.

Apple Silicon matters because it dramatically improves over x86 in its power/performance ratio, making the company’s laptops and iPads a delight compared to their competition. It may not be design-based, and it builds on ARM and the work of others, but it is a huge advance and gives the company’s hardware an edge over its Windows and Android competition that is hard to counter. Johny Srouji, in charge of Apple Silicon? Not mentioned by Mickle.

I would have preferred the book to be shorter (though researchers may be glad of its detail). What of its central thesis? Mickle makes the point that Apple Watch has a disappointing lack of focus, which I agree with, and that projects like the Apple electric car appear to have faltered. The Beats acquisition had a mixed outcome, and this was a puzzle to me too. Apple did not need Beats, its culture was alien, and my sense is that Apple Music would have flourished equally well without it.

I do think though that since Jobs Apple has developed something with iPhone-level impact and that is Apple Silicon and the M series in particular. I also think that Mickle misses something of the big picture. Buying a smartphone or computer? There is the Android jungle, or the Windows jungle, or Apple. For many it is hardly a choice; and the fact that this is more than ever true more than a decade after the passing of Jobs is huge credit to those involved and makes the accusation “how Apple became a trillion-dollar company and lost its soul” ring just a bit hollow.
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It was an interesting read as there's a lot of information about the post Job Apple but it also a bit fanboying about Ive and Jobs.
I think it can be an informative read and it's interesting even if a bit to partisan.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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I was interested to read this book as I knew zero about apple or it’s founder.  Author Tripp Mickle spoke with more than 200 current and former Apple executives, as well as figures key to this period of Apple’s history, including Trump administration officials and fashion luminaries such as Anna Wintour while writing After Steve. His research shows the company’s success came at a cost. Apple lost its innovative spirit and has not designed a new category of device in years. Ive’s departure in 2019 marked a culmination in Apple’s shift from a company of innovation to one of operational excellence, and the price is a company that has lost its soul.
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The author’s tone and view is evident immediately from the title suffix (How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost Its Soul) and its prologue (Ive is an ‘artist, Cook ‘squeezes suppliers’, ‘churns’ out units and is the machine that eclipsed the ‘creative soul’ of Apple). 
The author layers credit on Jobs - he developed the ‘1984’ commercial (No mention of Ridley Scott), and holds an almost messianic hold on followers and might outlive death. This is all on the first few pages of the book but sets the path for what is to come. 
The description of Ive’s early life and successes compared to Cook is night and day in the author’s admiration and worrying flourishes to get across the point he is determined to make: genius versus solid plodder. Ive’s background is recounted by those who knew or dealt with him with awe, even in his missteps, Cook’s is remembered (or not: we are told repeatedly how memorable he was) with doubt, questions and ‘meh’.
Overall, it’s a curate’s egg of a book- at times flowery with impossible to know thoughts and emotions expressed to advance proceedings, at other times a fast flip of chronology devoid of important details. Not scholarly enough for study, not dramatic enough in it’s telling for a more casual read. Early on the author compares Jobs’ desire for legacy to Disney’s situation. Comparison with Disney early on might also consider some of the books written on the company and its leaders. James B Stewart’s Disney War is a great example of a book that works on multiple levels and Blake’s its author’s view point in a way this book did not for me. Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for a chance to read this book.
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I'm in two minds about this book as on one hand it is a very detailed account of what Apple has done since Steve Jobs died in 2011. On the other hand it's a thinly veiled dig at Apple, especially Tim Cook, as the author uses words like 'boasted', 'bragged' and 'crowed' for what others would simply describe as passionate speeches about the company. Is this not what a company CEO should be doing after all? The subtitle is 'How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost Its Soul'. which sums up the message the author is hoping to convey. Apple is a commercial company not a social justice enterprise so it all seems overly sensational on behalf of the author. .

The book is mainly a biography of Jony Ive and Tim Cook, the two main players in Apple since Jobs' premature death. I really enjoyed the biographical details, especially about their upbringing and families. However, the book is way too long and the last two thirds dragged to the point where i just wanted to finish it. There is a lot of repetition, often about things that the author seems to think are OTT such as the leather seats in the new Apple Park theatre.

I'd have enjoyed the book a lot more if it had been half the length and be an impartial view of Apple since Steve's death.. With thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins UK for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I am finding this book a bit of a slog to get through, to be honest. I am reading a fiction novel at the same time, as there is so much detail, I get bogged down in it all. 
I will finish it, but I don’t know when. Meantime I need some lighter reading material to help me get to sleep at nights. 
My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for my advance copy of this book.
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What I don’t understand is that there are loads of things out there showing the Company disliked Gates and now it is about hating Cook? I didn’t feel this book was structured enough to make for good reading. This is a topic I am interested in however I found it dragging so much. 
Don’t get me wrong, there are some interesting elements in this however it is as if they have mushed a bunch of articles together into one as it just didn’t make sense and contrasted at times. 
Another thing, this novel is called ‘After Steve’ so why is this about the during? I thought this would be about how it actually ‘lost its soul’? 
Too many questions, and so few answers given.
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As I write, Apple is the second most valuable company in the world. A couple of weeks ago it was the most valuable, but many tech stocks have taken a tumble over that period. Nonetheless, Apple is currently worth $2.4 trillion. 

While Steve Jobs set Apple on the way, it has actually been Tim Cook who has overseen the company’s most truly spectacular growth. This book from Tripp Mickle, a staff writer at the Wall St Journal for the last seven years (although he has most recently joined the New York Times), covers the period following Jobs handing over the company to Cook. 

Cook had been responsible for much of Apple’s second-to-none supply chain, ensuring that the company had partners who were capable of producing incredible volumes of complex electronics to meet Apple’s insane growth. It was also Cook who finally got Apple’s iPhone made available for sale to a domestic Chinese customer base, thus seeing a new level in growth. 

But this book is also about the growing disillusionment of Apple’s visionary designer Jony Ive. Once Jobs’ right-hand man, Ive had been responsible for so much of Apple’s design ethos, with clear ideas of what he wanted often requiring entirely new manufacturing processes to be created to deliver on his visions. 

As Apple grew in scale, so his disenchantment seemed to grow, with Ive spending less time in his office, and taking up more of his multitude of other interests. His final project was really the design of Apple’s new spaceship campus, with Tripp regaling us with remarkable details of how things like glass manufacture were completely changed to meet the design needs of Apple’s new building. No detail was too much. 

But we are definitely left with questions about where Apple goes next. The iPhone iterates each year with a new model, but there’s a feeling that we’re in stasis at this point – a slightly faster processor and a slightly improved camera. What’s the next great leap?

The trouble is that when a company reaches the scale Apple has become, pretty much nothing makes a difference to the bottom line. The feeling seems to be that health or cars are the only real places that Apple can go to gain meaningful further growth. 

Tripp details the production of the Apple Watch, with the changing emphasis over time from fashion accessory to health tracker. Even then, it’s arguable that it hasn’t quite reached its ultimate purpose yet – struggling with battery and monitoring limitations. The car issue is something else again, but the scale of the motoring industry means that this is an area Apple continues to persevere with.

This book is full of all kinds of insider details, and anyone interested in the tech industry will be fascinated by it. It gets us as close to understanding what makes both Cook and Ive tick as anything short of their own autobiographies. 

Thoroughly recommended.
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After Steve is a book charting the story of Apple after Steve Jobs' death, exploring the tensions between designer Jony Ive and new CEO Tim Cook. Starting with the background of the company and its successes under Jobs, the book then follows the ups and downs through new products, redesigns, and political tensions, to follow a theme of a company losing its design soul for corporate money.

This is a thoroughly researched history of a company over a period of time, with a great deal of detail and sources (the author spoke to a lot of current and former Apple employees to get the detail). Unfortunately, this meant it wasn't quite what I had hoped from it: instead of analysis of the technology company and how it, as the book's subtitle says, "lost its soul", After Steve reads more like a very in-depth history of a company and two key individuals in it. At some points other companies are mentioned, like a rivalry with Samsung, but I was hoping for more situating in a larger tech world and analysis that isn't just focused on excitement of Apple's designs versus disappointment at bureaucracy.

People who enjoy reading about the history of companies or want in-depth detail about Apple's dealings will probably enjoy this book more, but for me it was too long and not focused enough on arguing about why Apple apparently "lost its soul" and what this might mean for technology.
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Walter Isaacson’s brilliant biography of Steve Jobs is one of the most compelling accounts of a driven man I’ve come across. At Apple, Jobs was totally focussed on producing innovative products of superb quality. He wasn’t too worried about how his abrasive nature impacted those he worked with, he just wanted everything to be done ‘right’ and had zero tolerance for anything less. So what would happen to Apple once its driving force had passed? Well, this book tells the story.

The book is really the tale of two men who were to lead the company going forward. Jony Ive had been the Chief Design Officer during the period Jobs introduced the iPod, iPhone and iPad. He and Steve had formed a close partnership, with Jobs dropping in on Ive and his team just about every day. The second figure is, of course, Tim Cook who took over as CEO of the company following the death of Jobs. Cook had formerly been the company’s Chief Operating Officer. If Jobs was authoritarian and a galvanizing force for the company then Cook was democratic in his approach and more focussed on the numbers than the minute details of the products. They were, in fact, chalk and cheese.

This book walks us through Steve’s time at Apple (a scene setter) before focussing thereafter on Ive and Cook. We learn a good deal about what shaped these men and what drove them on, or made them tick. They were very different people: Ive the aesthete and Cook the operations man, forever with his eye on the financial spreadsheet. The chemistry between the two never came close to that established between Ive and Jobs. Eventually Jony became burnt out and, craving more autonomy, left to set up a business of his own. The book points out that despite Cook’s very different style and focus (he eventually turned more towards generating income from services more so than new products) the company's income continued to grow under his leadership. 

It’s all told as a story, based on hundreds of interviews with an army of unnamed colleagues, friends and acquaintances of key players. In fact, this is just the way I like to imbibe this sort of information, I loved it and found the whole book to be hugely informative and yet still entertaining, in equal measure. Highly recommended.
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This non-fiction book is predominantly set from the death of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, with some reflections prior to this to give context to the people and places within the book.

I was intrigued to read this, as I will admit I wasn't sure what had been happening at Apple since Jobs death. I found the book extremely interesting - the details and the information in it is truly fascinating - and I was hooked, enjoying reading this as much as I could. There's a lot of information to take in, but that is something that I would have wanted from a book like this. The chronological order of the events are done well, and the information from insiders at Apple is fascinating.

If you enjoyed the Walter Isaacson biography on Jobs, I think this will be the book for you. As someone who had Apple products, then strayed away from the brand (and has come back to having Apple), it's interesting to hear the behind the scenes of what was happening around that time.
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As a user of Apple products and someone who enjoys business books, I was looking forward to reading this. It’s exhaustively researched and to be honest I found repetitive at times, although I enjoyed the narrative style. I think it could have been a bit snappier as a book, but there’s loads in here for those interested in the relationships between Jobs, Cook and Ive.
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