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New biography: Steve Jobs vowed that Apple would never make a TV (+video)

The upcoming biography 'Becoming Steve Jobs' looks to set the record straight over what kind of person Apple's co-founder really was.

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    A screen shot of Steve Jobs at Apple September 2010 Music Event-The All New Apple TV Media Streamer event.
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Apple enthusiasts are scrambling to collect details about a new Steve Jobs biography that Amazon revealed Friday.

The biography is titled, ‘Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader,’ and was authored by reporters Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, who both gained “incredible and sometimes exclusive access” to those who were closest to the Apple co-founder.

The upcoming profile of Mr. Jobs will be released March 24 and is already Amazon's best-selling preorder within the category of Management books.

Walter Isaacson’s 2011 bestseller ‘Steve Jobs' was broadly considered to be a “balanced” analysis of the life of the innovator, but Mr. Isaacson’s interpretation was not well accepted among those who say they knew Jobs best. The Amazon description says that the authors spoke with a large variety of individuals including Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook, Apple head of design Jony Ive, head of Internet software Eddy Cue, Pixar president Ed Catmull, Pixar chief creative officer John Lasseter, Disney CEO Robert Iger, and many others, who were able to share their true feelings about the previous biography.

“I thought the Isaacson book did [Jobs] a tremendous disservice," Mr. Cook told the authors, according to an excerpt captured by Cult of Mac. "It was just a rehash of a bunch of stuff that had already been written, and focused on small parts of his personality. You get the feeling that [Jobs was] a greedy, selfish egomaniac. It didn’t capture the person. The person I read about there is somebody I would never have wanted to work with over all this time. Life’s too short.”

That was not the only surprising fact that Cook revealed. As Jobs underwent cancer treatment, Cook discovered the two shared a rare blood type and offered Jobs part of his liver, which, the book says, Jobs adamantly refused. Here is an excerpt courtesy of Fast Company:

“Somebody that’s selfish,” Cook continues, “doesn’t reply like that. I mean, here’s a guy, he’s dying, he’s very close to death because of his liver issue, and here’s someone healthy offering a way out. I said, ‘Steve, I’m perfectly healthy, I’ve been checked out. Here’s the medical report. I can do this and I’m not putting myself at risk, I’ll be fine.’ And he doesn’t think about it. It was not, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ It was not, ‘I’ll think about it.’ It was not, ‘Oh, the condition I’m in . . .’ It was, ‘No, I’m not doing that!’ He kind of popped up in bed and said that. And this was during a time when things were just terrible. Steve only yelled at me four or five times during the 13 years I knew him, and this was one of them.”

The book also mentions Jobs’ aspirations to purchase Yahoo! in a joint venture with Mr. Iger from Disney. There has been plenty of speculation over the years about whether Apple would attempt to take over the search company, but this is one of the first solid confirmations that Jobs actually considered this acquisition.

The final preview involves Mr. Ive’s early designs at Apple and Jobs' utter disdain for television. 

In 1997, Ive was a part of Jobs’ inner circle and was working away in the company's design lab. Ive created the eMate, his version of the Newton Message Pad, and the 20th Anniversary Macintosh, which he referred to as his "pride and joy at the time.” Fast Company goes on to quote the book as saying:

“It was a striking piece of out-of-the-box industrial design thinking. Jony and his team had placed the guts of a top-of-the-line laptop inside a svelte and slightly curved vertical slab, which had on the top half of its surface a color LCD monitor, and on the bottom half a vertical CD-ROM drive, all of which was framed by specially designed Bose stereo speakers. It was packed with state-of-the-art technology, including cable and FM tuners and the circuitry necessary for the computer to double as a TV set or radio.” 

Jobs really liked Ive, referring to him in the beginning of their relationship as a "cherub." And “perhaps more importantly,” Ive liked him back. The mutual respect led Ive to stick with Apple instead of pursuing other career opportunities, but as Ive would soon learn, heartbreak would follow that decision:

Steve killed both of Jony’s pet projects. The eMate disappeared along with all other traces of the Newton (save a few key patents), and the 20th Anniversary bit the dust after selling just 12,000 units. The products didn’t fit into his quadrants. Besides, he told me one day, "I just don’t like television. Apple will never make a TV again." This was Jony’s introduction to Steve’s coldhearted decision-making.

Fast Company will be unveiling a lot more information about the biography in its upcoming April issue.

 
 
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