The best thing ever written to describe Apple, written by John Gruber:
Apple’s products are replete with Apple-like features and details, embedded in Apple-like apps, running on Apple-like devices, which come packaged in Apple-like boxes, are promoted in Apple-like ads, and sold in Apple-like stores. The company is a fractal design. Simplicity, elegance, beauty, cleverness, humility. Directness. Truth. Zoom out enough and you can see that the same things that define Apple’s products apply to Apple as a whole. The company itself is Apple-like. The same thought, care, and painstaking attention to detail that Steve Jobs brought to questions like “How should a computer work?”, “How should a phone work?”, “How should we buy music and apps in the digital age?” he also brought to the most important question: “How should a company that creates such things function?”
Jobs’s greatest creation isn’t any Apple product. It is Apple itself.
[Emphasis added.] But this is why I think Apple will continue to thrive for the time being. It’s not that the company is on auto-pilot, it’s that there is an Apple Way. It won’t always succeed, but we’ll be better off for it being there. The reason that the iPhone revolutionized cell phones and the iPad is changing the way we use computers is because of the Apple Way. The reason no one seems to be able to copy them successfully is because those companies aren’t fractal designs of the basic elements that are required to go into that kind of product.
It’s the method—one that is not patented, copyrighted, or otherwise secret—that makes Steve Jobs worthy of his place in history. But what makes the method so unique? Why Jobs? Why Apple?
Because it is so unconventional. Such fractal holism goes against the entire scope of modern thought which believes nothing is more than the sum of its parts, everything is subject to being analyzed, reduced, and categorized. The business world looks at the iPhone and sees a “smartphone” and analyzes it as a cellular phone with a certain amount of memory, a certain amount of screen space, and certain programs. Competitors then improve all of those individual elements without an eye for the whole, and the result just isn’t the same. It seems almost superstitious to say it, but it’s hard to not to wonder if Apple stores were pink if the iPhone would be as good.
But this level of attention to detail and holistic unity is only possible in highly related fields. Apple could not make a car. It could not run a war. But I believe that the lessons we can learn from how Jobs built Apple into the biggest company in the US from the point it was on life support—making Microsoft’s rise look like a temporary deviation from destiny—are lessons that can be applied to all aspects of American life.
The first politician to run a campaign the Apple way will be interesting to see.