How Today's Apple Has Thrown Out Its Old Rulebook
Macworld|September 2018

A few ways that today’s Apple has tossed out, or at least amended, the classic Apple rulebook.

Jason Snell

When Steve Jobs came back to Apple in 1997, he didn’t like what he saw, so he set about changing the corporate culture. A decade later, one proof of his success was the fact that the company seemed to follow a rulebook, largely behaving with a consistency that allowed those of us who covered the company to react to wild rumors with phrases like “Apple wouldn’t do that” or “That’s not how Apple does things.”

But in the years following Jobs’s death (go.macworld.com/sj56)—and after the departure of some other Jobs-era executives—Apple has continued to evolve, and, in many cases, it’s torn up the old rulebook. A lot of the changes strike me as being for the better. I feel like after Steve laid down the law in the late 1990s, some policies and decisions were never really reconsidered until the Tim Cook era got into full swing.

Here are just a few ways that today’s Apple has tossed out, or at least amended, the classic Apple rulebook.

BUYING APPS AND KEEPING THEM VISIBLE

When Apple bought the iOS automation app Workflow (go.macworld.com/wkfl), most people assumed that Apple would follow its usual acquisition  rulebook: Swallow the company whole, make the existing product disappear, and leave us guessing about what new operating-system features were based on pieces of the technology that Apple had devoured or were created by the people hired as a part of the acquisition.

That’s a common story (and to be fair, it’s still a description of a lot of Apple’s acquisitions), but the Workflow story has proven to be the exact opposite. The Workflow app has continued to be available in the App Store, long after the acquisition. And when iOS 12 was announced, there was Siri Shortcuts (go.macworld.com/shsi) being announced by some familiar names and faces, featuring an app that’s just an updated version of Workflow.

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