I think Jobs meant what he said to Fortune, and itâ€™s an attempt to communicate the same core truth. But â€œDesign is how it worksâ€ is a much better statement of Appleâ€™s philosophy. Talk of a â€œproductâ€™s essenceâ€ (Isaacsonâ€™s words) or â€œthe fundamental soul of a man-made creationâ€ (Jobsâ€™s) only serves to separate, conceptually, the art of design from the cold hard science of engineering. With just five words, â€œDesign is how it worksâ€ expresses succinctly and accurately that engineering should and can be part of the art of design.
Gruber’s take on Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs is a must read. In it he shares what he believes is the book’s biggest hole:
Note that my complaints here are not about Isaacson being insufficiently deferential. That the book is not a hagiography is to its credit. The personal stuff â€” documentation of Jobsâ€™s cruelty (and his talent for cruelty), his tantrums, his tendency to claim for himself the ideas of others â€” thatâ€™s not problematic. Isaacson handles that well, and what he reports in that regard jibes with everything we know about the man. My complaints are about outright technical inaccuracies, and getting the manâ€™s work wrong. The design process, the resulting products, the centrality of software â€” Isaacson simply misses the boat.