Jobs 'annoyed and depressed' following iPad announcement, biography reveals

Jobs 'annoyed and depressed' following iPad announcement, biography reveals

Summary: Jobs received hundreds of emails, 'most of them were complaining.'


Walter Isaacson's biography of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs is out, and it revealed how Jobs was left feeling 'annoyed and depressed' following the iPad announcement back in January 2010.

Isaacson recounts how Jobs had received hundreds of emails to his personal email account in the twenty four hours following the announcement and how 'most of them were complaining.'

'There's no USB cord! There's no this, no that. Some of them are like, "**** you, how can you do that?" I don't usually write people back, but I replied, "Your parents would be so proud of how you turned out." And some don't like the iPad name, and on and on. I kind of got depressed today. It knocks you back a bit.'

The name, in particular, was cause cause for a lot of the negativity, and comments about how it sounded like feminine hygiene product reverberated across social media networks.

Isaacson tells how the 'public carping' continued until the iPad was released in April of 2010 and people actually got their hands on the new tablet ... a tablet that would not only change the tablet landscape, but the face of computing as a whole.

The book also reveals that Jobs was dissatisfied with the original iPad ads, thinking that they looked like Pottery Barn commercials.

Jobs told Isaacson:

'It was easy to explain what the iPod was - a thousand songs in your pocket - which allowed us to move quickly to the iconic silhouette ads. But it was hard to explain what an iPad was. We didn't want to show it as a computer, and yet we didn't want to make it so soft that it looked like a cute TV. The first set of ads showed we didn't know what we were doing. They had a cashmere and Hush Puppies feel to them.'

Even for Apple (maybe especially for Apple) advertising matters.

Topics: CXO, iPad, Mobility, IT Employment

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • No limit for people's expectations

    There is no limit for people's wishes and that's why Jobs never went after them.
    • Especially if people think cliche so they could not image tablet without ..

      @Rayyanahmed: ... USB port, or, as William Gates, without physical keyboard and stylus (he said iPad lacks these things).<br><br>So this story is just about public not understanding genius vision until the very end when it was already impossible to deny that the vision was true.
      • Ok. Sure. Whatever

        And Gates was right - the majority of iPad owners [b]still[/b] do any real/lengthy typing on a keyboard.

        So maybe the public understood what the iPad was very usefull at, and what it wasn't - and Steve Jobs let his genius vision cloud his judgement at what people would give up to get an iPad.
        William Farrell
      • Jobs never recommended iPad for uses that this device is not optimized for,

        @William Farrell: ... so his vision was as pure as ever (he said iPad was better for browsing, mail, pictures, applications, and for long texts editing he recommended devices with physical keyboard), and some cliche-thinking users were blind until they actually got iPads to use and discover what this device was about.
      • RE: Jobs 'annoyed and depressed' following iPad announcement

        @DeRSSS There's no vision in not having things, only in having things. Having a USB port wouldn't make the iPad worse, only better and more useful.
      • Not exactly. At all.


        The vision was true? Hardly.

        What happened was that millions who could scrape together the bucks for what they were being told was the next big thing, and from Apple no less, the company that had finally defined its image as a company that produced high end gadgets, went out and bought millions of the darn things. And of these millions many many didn't have enough high tech savvy to even think or ask about USB ports, optical disk drives and other such common necessities in a modern computing device. They unwittingly bought into Jobs real long term plan; deliver all content by way of a secure server on the net and virtually eliminate the potential for piracy. Without particular ports or drives it is neither practical or for most even possible to even think about trying to load something onto an iPad except from the net by way of whatever Apple approves.

        I know scads of people who bought an iPad and now don't really know what to do with it now that they see what it can really do or not do.

        Jobs apparently knew himself the pitfalls of the design, he didn't want to advertise the iPad as a computer, and thats clearly because it falls so short of even a netbook. And on the other hand he didn't want "to make it so soft that it looked like a cute TV", because $499 dollars is clearly way way too much for that. Even if thats what it largely is.

        The vision was true? True to what??

        Seriously. For vast numbers of the multiple millions who bought an iPad the greatest thing one can say about the product is that Apple/Jobs could sell such a hobbled device to so many for so much money and get away with it. Jeez, they even baffled the rest of the industry so much that they have sent numerous huge IT companies running in circles trying to figure out why these things sell and how to make something similar that sells as well.
    • Jobs usually lead the way in removing things.

      @Rayyanahmed Jobs usually lead the way in getting rid of old technology. He was the first to get rid of the floppy disk. He removed the USB port. He removed firewire when something else was more popular. Now he is getting rid of the optical drives. While he usually jumps the gun on moving away from things, he is usually going the direction that the tech industry follows.
      • RE: Jobs 'annoyed and depressed' following iPad announcement

        @nucrash And getting rid of things is fine...except when the things you are removing are for the sake of removing them (ala USB). USB is a standard. We're not moving away from it any time soon.
      • RE: Jobs 'annoyed and depressed' following iPad announcement


        USB isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Not with USB3 around the corner.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Jobs 'annoyed and depressed' following iPad announcement

        Around the corner?

        As an FYI, if you plug your iPad into a USB3.0 port, it will charge - at least it does on my ASUS UL...
      • RE: Jobs 'annoyed and depressed' following iPad announcement


        I say aroud the corner because, I have yet to see any USB3 devices.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: Jobs 'annoyed and depressed' following iPad announcement


        For the sake of removing? The main use case for USB on an iPad is for charging the device. Just like the iPod, iPhone and iPod Touch that came before it, the iPad is able to charge when plugged into USB ports. this is not you traditional x86 computer where you must physically plug peripherals in before use (mouse, keyboard, printers). It's all about wireless technology like Airplay, bloutooth, iCloud. I can wirelessly send anything from my iPad to my printer. Grab any media or document from any one of my PCs around the home wirelessly from my iPad, useing Airplay and homesharing. Control and play music around the home, wirelessly on any iDevice. Take a pic on my iPhone and have it automatically pushed to my other shared devices and computers.

        Forward thinking is what separated Jobs from the average CEO. Apple was the one that ushered in "Plug and Play", now it's all about wireless tech (Airplay, iCloud). Can't believe we are still talking USB.
      • RE: Jobs 'annoyed and depressed' following iPad announcement

        @nucrash Since when is the USB port "old technology"?
      • Jobs was a pioneer alright...


        ...a pioneer in gradually pushing hardware in a direction that would make computing devices completely reliant on the internet for content.

        I guess for some that sounds great, but to me it simply smacks of corporate greed and control. Eliminate the competition and potential piracy in one fell swoop.

        I honestly believe Jobs long term goal was to have computing devices in peoples hands that made it impossible to deal with anything not specifically approved by Apple and thus eliminating anything that wasn't. I don't like that track and if that was his vision it wasn't a good one. Its more like a vision through beer goggles.
    • re:

      The wear on our body looks like the brilliant uggs,believe me to find some interesting <a rel="dofollow" href=""><strong>cheap uggs</strong></a>, you must be amused.
  • Doesn't everyone get depressed after the launch?

    I think its normal to be depressed after a launch. You worked so hard on it, it defined your direction, it provided your topic for ideas, it was your life structure, but once you've finished it, what then?

    You drink beer and comment on Zdnet till the next viable idea comes into your head!

    But I also think he had good reason to be down. That iPad commercial had lots of fake knee shots where the iPad magically stuck to the knee while the guy used it two handed.
    They wanted a kneeputer, but it didn't quite work as a kneeputer. I know they've added a stand/screen cover which partially fixes the problem, but I think there's still room for improvement there. Why slippery metal case, why not something more grippy?

    Oh and portrait surfing needs more horizontal pixels for the majority of websites.

    Mix those two demands into the big pot of possible things to change, and I wonder how the next CEO will select the ones that need fixed and ignore the ones that need dumped.
  • RE: Jobs 'annoyed and depressed' following iPad announcement

    All those criticsisms still hold true, IMO. Which is why I'm hoping Windows 8 tablets will feature these things. USB/SD especially.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Jobs 'annoyed and depressed' following iPad announcement

      @Cylon Centurion <br>The more stuff that's in it, the smaller the battery or the thicker/heavier the device. Unless there's some big breakthrough in battery technology in the next few months, and the big spender in the area (Apple) doesn't get it first, your Win8 tablet dream machine engineers, designers, and marketers will face the same trade-offs.<br><br>My suspicion: weight and battery life trump doodad peripherals. <br><br>I could be wrong. I could be right, but there might be a niche which sustains a smart manufacturer.
    • RE: Jobs 'annoyed and depressed' following iPad announcement

      @Cylon Centurion

      I guess the problem is that some people never understood what a tablet was meant to do and moaned becasue they wanted things to be the same as before.

      An ipad works. A 90 year old can make it work and a 4 year old can make it work. The small percentage of techno geeks who want to start adding USB are not the products target market.

      Now I have to get back to upgrading my Abit motherboard becasue windows 7 no longer likes it for some reason. One of the USB ports no longer works either which may account for why my windows mobile 6.5 phone would never sync properly.
  • RE: Jobs 'annoyed and depressed' following iPad announcement

    If he was depressed imagine how Gates felt after the iPad began to take off. Tablets where his personal "pet" project. He said in 2001: "<i>It's a PC that is virtually without limits ??? and within five years I predict it will be the most popular form of PC sold in America.</i>"

    Anyway, shows the true vision of Steve Jobs. One of the most scrutinized product in recent history is now selling like hot cakes.