MacFormat: What hardware and software do you favour?
Leander Kahney: I'm a bit of a Luddite - I've got terrible habits that I've never changed. I used to use Word for everything - writing, contacts, and even a calendar! Now, I live in email. If I need to do something or find an interesting website, I send myself an email note.
Hardware... I used to have a Palm Pilot, and was diligent about putting appointments on it, but I'd forget it, leaving it in my bag. It'd be freaking out about some appointment, and I wouldn't see it. iPhone and Bluetooth changed all that - I always have my iPhone with me and use Apple's calendar app to set alarms. It's the first time this technology's actually worked.
MF: You seem to have a love/hate relationship with Apple...
LK: Lots of people love the products and hate the company. This is exaggerated with me, because Apple's been the source of my income for a dozen years, and reporting on Apple has been frustrating, because the love has been one-way. But Apple's in many ways the only really interesting company. It puts so much care and attention into products - it's not just churning out junk.
MF: Is there anything that Apple should be doing differently?
LK: It's hard to say. This book I just wrote - when I started, I had misconceptions about Apple and would bitch about secrecy, lack of communication, and the contempt Apple seemed to have for customers. When I dug into it, the more I understood the logic of why Apple does these things, and saw that it's a smart way to operate. The secrecy is a huge part of Apple's marketing plan - it's not telegraphing to competitors what it's up to, and I like this. It increases the mystique.
MF: Does Steve's brain affect Apple?
LK: I don't think there's another company that so closely reflects the person who runs it. When researching the processes Apple has developed, I realised they were manifestations of Jobs's own character traits. His perfectionism and the demand for excellence expresses itself in the many prototypes the company makes. The fact he's a control freak means Apple controls all the technology in these vertically integrated systems - software, hardware, services. Apple's been successful in turning what some would consider negative traits into a business philosophy.
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