How did Apple gain such a hold on everyday life? Whether it’s checking overnight emails on the iPhone, reading a morning paper on the iPad, walking to the tune of the iPod or beavering away
on a MacBook, Apple gadgetry is a companion from dawn till dusk. "http://www.amazon.co.uk/Inside-Apple-Secrets-Behind-Success/dp/1848547218/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328001732&sr=1-1">Inside Apple by Adam Lashinsky attempts to
explain the phenomenon by nosing further into the workings of the company itself.
The ghost of Steve Jobs, unsurprisingly, haunts the book. But Jobs is grounded in a roomier narrative that describes the company as a whole. Lashinsky draws an honest, if unflattering sketch of
what it is like to work at Apple HQ. Take something like product development. The level of secrecy involved in the process is astonishing: walls put up; additional doors fitted; windows frosted
over; lockdown rooms created; staff having their access cut off from certain sections of the building — all to protect the new gizmo.
Apple employees are kept on a leash generally. Company legend has it that, in a nearby watering hole, ‘plainclothes Apple security agents lurk’ ready to pounce if anyone’s tongue
wags too much. Or how about this telling water-cooler motto: ‘Everybody at Apple wants out, and everybody outside Apple wants in.’ It’s all rather Orwellian, but the
‘culture of fear and intimidation’ in the company is neither applauded nor condemned. Indeed, it’s cited as one of the reasons for Apple’s success.
There are upsides, too. Apple ignores the staid advice of business schools. Its PR division is surly, ‘mostly a one-way street’; shareholders are far from wet-nursed; career progression
is frowned upon; and Steve Jobs, apparently, ‘long denigrated the value of an MBA’. Lashinsky casts an amused eye over it all, happy to plunge in the dagger: ‘its people and
institutional bearing are off-the-charts arrogant’. Yet he is fully conscious of Apple’s current ‘rarefied position’ and beatified status.
Lashinsky gives more clues to the company’s success. One is Apple’s ability to retain the nimbleness of a start-up, resisting the slow slide into complacency. Another is its pioneering
attempt to fuse, in grandiose terms, the realms of art and science through design, creating some parity between technology and aesthetics. Simplicity is also important. Whether in limiting its
product range, or starving its marketing of excess info, Apple cleaves to minimalist ideas. Whether that can continue as its profits and size keep growing is another matter.
The book ends by considering Apple’s future in ‘a post-Jobs world’. Lashinsky errs on the side of pessimism, suggesting that the quirky nature of the management structure, and the
spikier elements of the company’s dealings with the outside world, will need a spring-clean now that Jobs has gone. The age-old question of how a company driven by a visionary hobbles on in
their absence is left tantalizingly open. By its "http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/apple/9037186/Apple-is-worlds-most-valuable-company-after-iPhone-frenzy-drives-record-profits.html">recent showing, of course, Apple is doing royally. But
everything has a lifecycle. The task is to regenerate.