In October 2011, journalist Walter Isaacson released Steve Jobs, the award-winning and best-selling biography about the eponymous Apple co-founder who died from pancreatic cancer three weeks prior.
However, Isaacson is now admitting that elements of the book may not have painted the full picture of the late business magnate.
“I softened it in the book a bit. Sometimes I soften things that I thought were too harsh,” Isaacson told CNBC in a new interview. “In my book, Steve says how Tim Cook can do everything, and then he looked at me and said, ‘Tim’s not a product person.’”
According to Isaacson, Jobs’ issues with Cook didn’t stop there.
“Sometimes Steve, when he was in pain and it was problematic and he was angry, he would say more things than [Cook] was not a product person. I felt I would put in the specific things that were relevant to the reader but not the complaints.”
Isaacson didn’t elaborate on what these comments are.
Notably, this isn’t the first time in recent weeks where a high-ranking Apple executive was said to have issues with Cook’s approach to products.
Towards the end of June, Apple chief design officer Jony Ive left the company after nearly 30 years. At the time, Ive announced that the formation of his own design firm called LoveFrom, which will develop “personal projects.”
However, a subsequent Wall Street Journal report said Ive left Apple in part due to frustrations over Cook’s “little interest in the product development process.” Cook responded by saying the report was “absurd” and “the conclusions just don’t match with reality.”
During his CNBC interview, Isaacson reflected on the major role that Ive played over the years alongside Jobs. “Every day when Jobs was in the office in Cupertino, he would go at midday to that sort of big locked door that went to the design studio; be brought in and everybody else would be ushered out,” said Isaacson. “And he would talk table to table with Jony. They would feel not just the phone but the plug. The jack, the way the wire coiled. Jobs at his core was a product person.”
According to Isaacson, Apple as a whole isn’t the same with Jobs and Ive gone.
“What I think you are seeing now is a company that can execute pretty well. But it doesn’t have at its core these two spiritual soulmates who just lived and breathed the beauty of products,” Isaacson said.