In Jan­u­ary 2001, I got my hand on Apple’s Power­Book G4 Tita­nium body beauty. It had just been announced at the Mac­World San Fran­cisco on Jan­u­ary 9th by Steve Jobs. I was an Apple employee then, and being the evan­ge­list for all things Apple in Japan, I was awarded one of the first few units.

Around April of the same year, I hap­pened to drop my bag with the TiBook (as it was called) to the ground. Held in a raw Prada bag with­out any pro­tec­tion, it hit the con­crete  and made an awful sound. To my dis­ap­point­ment, the hinge part of the TiBook fell apart. I was just amazed at how weak and frag­ile this prod­uct was. I must have been one of the 1st one to break Steve’s new creation.

In the same year, I attended Japan­ese VIP’s as Apple staff at the New York Mac­World. Since Steve was there to give the keynote, I ask my boss, Japan­ese Gen­eral Man­ager to make a note of my acci­dent and that prod­uct may have flaws.

After meet­ing with Steve after his NY keynote, my GM came back to tell me what Steve thought of my warn­ing. “How ungrate­ful is he of my cre­ation” was his com­ment to me (his Japan­ese Direc­tor who has dropped his TiBook and destroyed his work of art). This was my first intro­duc­tion to the  Cult of Steve.

Apple would never have the all Alu­minum uni­body today if it ddi not exper­i­ment with mate­ri­als like it did with the TiBook. Inher­ently flawed and very expen­sive to make, Apple arrived at the one sin­gle sheet of extruded alu­minum uni­body as a result of this Tita­nium experience.

Com­ing from a Japan­ese con­sumer busi­ness back­ground, what cus­tomer shared was impor­tant, or I thought so. For Steve and Johnatan Ives, the genius designer behind all great Apple prod­uct designs, the chal­lenge was to use new mate­r­ial that no one has used before and pro­duce a com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful prod­uct.  Cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion came with per­fec­tion, not in try­ing to lis­ten to and please every opin­ion. Look­ing back now, I could not agree with them both.

Build­ing a prod­uct like and iPhone is a chal­lenge. When you try to use mate­ri­als like glass and stain­less outer frame to be anten­nas, this is no easy feat. Nokia who has been build­ing hand­sets for years would have done it if it was possible.

I am deeply sad­dened by the ongo­ing attack that has been launched against Apple, who has tried to offer the world a won­der­ful prod­uct, over­com­ing count­less chal­lenges to make the iPhone 4 a real­ity in it’s cur­rent form.  Tainted by leaks before launch and now with the antenna issue, we’ve all made Steve say crazy thing out in the open. I can assure you that we all hurt his feel­ings, and because his feel­ings were hurt, he came out in the open to explain things even more. Was this a good idea?  Not at all, he should have stuck to the per­fec­tion angle with­out men­tion­ing any flaws.

I hope that Apple will con­tinue to inno­vate and bring new mate­ri­als to it’s con­sumer goods even after this expiri­ence. There will be mis­takes and issues, but don’t blame Steve for try­ing, oth­er­wise our world will be over­run by prod­ucts with sim­i­lar mate­ri­als, prod­ucts that no one can dis­tin­guish if it was made by Nokia, Dell or Sony.

Apple’ s tire­less quest for per­fec­tion does in deed reside with one man and one man only. With­out his end­less drive, any designer, any engi­neer may give in to a less than per­fect prod­uct to sat­isfy sales and mar­ket­ing folks who have  more short terms sales goal.


  • koukonews­ro­bot

    “How ungrate­ful is he of my cre­ation” Tak­ing the road none trav­eled to make the iPhone 4: In…

  • Bobby Tung / 董福興

    RT @HidekiOnda “How ungrate­ful is he of my cre­ation” Tak­ing the road none trav­eled to make the iPh.. #apple #iphone #4

  • Hideki Fran­cis Onda

    “How ungrate­ful is he of my cre­ation” Steve Jobs — Tak­ing the road none trav­eled to make the iPhone 4

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