Steve Jobs Drowned the First iPod in a Fishtank


If there’s one thing Apple are known for among consumers and not terminally online weirdoes who make owning a particular brand of phone their entire personality, it’s making some supremely fuckable looking electronics. With the company usually being willing to get its Job on sacrifice everything from battery life to critical device functionality for the sake of form factor. Something that saw Steve Jobs drowning the first iPod prototype like a mafia snitch.

For anyone unfamiliar with Apples long history of favouring style over pretty much everything else when it comes to making products consider that they once made a phone that couldn’t make phone calls because they hid the antenna in a spot where the heel of a person’s palm would naturally cut it off when making a phone call. If you’re currently wondering how the hell something like this made it through testing, let alone to market the rumoured reason why is that every person at Apple talks on their phone like an asshole. Specifically by holding it out in front of their face and talking on loudspeaker rather than the traditional non-dipshit way.

Then you have the Apple computer that had a literal 100% failure rate because they designed it without a fan. Instead equipping the device with the computing equivalent of a massive slamming badonadonk, a several pound hunk of metal to serve as a heat sink. Which rather than drawing heat away from the devices internals as expected, caused them to rapidly heat up and pop out of place forcing Apple to, we shit you not, issue a statement telling people to drop the fucking thing on the floor as a way to fix it.

While these things are admittedly very funny to talk about, its decisions like these that have made Apple an industry leader in regards to consumer electronics because for every iPhone that can’t make phone calls, there’s an iPhone without a headphone jack that upends the entire industry in Apple’s favour. A way of doing business that can be directly attributed to the company’s notoriously thorny former leader and current Skeleton, Steve Jobs.

Noted for being as much of a perfectionist as he was a bellend, Jobs’ obsession with Apple products having the right look is well known and his temper tantrums when he didn’t get his way are the stuff of industry legend. For example, as we’ve discussed before, the iPhone Jobs held during the announcement of the device’s existence didn’t actually work. However, Jobs was insistent that during the launch he be able to not only show off a “working” prototype but make an actual phone call during the announcement. This forced engineers to jury-rig a solution in the form of a prototype that theoretically could do everything Jobs wanted it to on stage so long as he pressed the right buttons in the right order. Or to put it another way, Jobs was doing the Keynote Speech equivalent of lip syncing during that announcement.

Anyway, perhaps Jobs’ most famous outburst, at least in regards to the design philosophy of Apple, is when he was presented with a prototype iPod. A prototype Jobs immediately disliked, loudly shitting all over it to the gathered and presumably overworked engineers by saying it needed to be smaller. To which an engineer responded that the device literally could not be any smaller than it currently was.

Rather than immediately firing the engineer and having his legs broken as was his prerogative, Jobs tossed the prototype into a nearby fish tank and told the engineer to observe the bubbles floating out of it. When the engineer enquired about why this was important Jobs noted that bubbles meant there was air inside the device and that air meant there was space that wasn’t being utilised and thus, the device technically could be smaller. Which while a bit of a dick move, was accurate and resulted in the engineers approaching the design with a renewed perspective and the iPod being half an inch thinner. Which is important to someone we guess.