Of Cubes and Butterflies

Steven Levy wrote a great piece about the 20th Anniversary of the Power Mac G4 Cube. I remember sitting at a friend’s house back in the day and gazing at that beautiful computer with Sméagol-like envy. It turns out that the Cube was a dud, but nerds still talk about it.

But here is something else about Jobs and the Cube that speaks not of failure but why he was a successful leader. Once it was clear that his Cube was a brick, he was quick to cut his losses and move on.

John Gruber wrote about this article hypothesizing how useful this willingness to change course could serve Apple in the App Store. I can’t help but think how useful this could have been with the recently deceased butterfly keyboard. The butterfly keyboard was, like the Cube, a marvel of engineering and completely unsuited to everyday use. The difference is that rather than pulling the plug quickly, Apple continued to make it for years. The MacBook products of the last several years, and Apple’s reputation for quality laptop hardware, would be in such better shape if they got rid of the butterfly keyboards as fast as they did the Cube.