Last year, during the course of my reporting of my book about the i Phone, AK: Steve wasn’t capable of being friends. Besides the Apple stuff, I had a lot to do with his Pixar thing.
I was contacted by the people who became Pixar–I knew them well, and they wanted to get out of Lucasfilm.
But as a scientist-engineer, I would’ve bet a thousand dollars–and I would’ve won–that there was already an i Pad. AK: And some marketing decision got them to try for the i Phone first. We put some real effort at the end of the ’70s and the early ’80s to try and get schools—particularly when the Mac came out—to try to understand what these [computers] are, and to teach them as media, not just teaching them as a computer. AK: One of the things Neil Postman wrote in one of his earlier books was saying, “Look, there are a thousand forces trying to get hold of people’s minds, particularly children’s minds.” So, one of the major things that schools should be charged with, is to teach children to be media guerrillas—that’s what we call them.
If people could understand what computing was about, the i Phone would not be a bad thing. It’s guerrilla warfare going on, because everything has been infiltrated. It’s going on right in your community, in your own house.
He shares it with his wife, Bonnie Mac Bird, the author and actress who penned the original script for .
Kay is one of the forefathers of personal computing; he’s what you can safely call a living legend.
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They called me up and asked me for advice, and so I said, I can talk to Steve. When I first got to Apple, which was in ’84, the Mac was already out and contacted me and asked me what I thought of the Mac.
I explained very carefully to him who these people were, and you shouldn’t fuck around with them, like he did with his normal employees. [Pixar] was the most honest billion he ever made, because he put a lot of his own personal money into nurturing those guys. I said, “Well, the Mac is the first personal computer good enough to be criticized.”So, after Steve [announced] the i Phone [in 2007], he brought it up to me and handed it to me.
It took imagination like his to drive the computer into the public’s hands.
The finest distillation of that imagination was the Dynabook, one of the most enduring conceptual artifacts of Silicon Valley—a handheld computer that was powerful, dynamic, and easy enough to operate that children could use it, not only to learn, but to create media and write their own applications.
Kay believes nothing has yet been produced that fulfills the original specs for the Dynabook, including the i Phone and the i Pad.