Father of the iPod, killer of the floppy
Despite this setback, Rubinstein casts a long shadow. Although often credited with the creation of Apple’s groundbreakingly compact and simple iPod, it is worth remembering that he got that job as a result of his work on Apple’s personal computing products. Hired before Jobs’ re-elevation to the CEO position, but on Jobs’ recommendation and after working with him at NeXT, Rubinstein was responsible for simplifying the hardware range and producing the candy-coloured, highly covetable G3 iMacs that pushed Apple back into the spotlight.
Jony Ive headed the industrial design team, but two of the boldest decisions, which came to define not just the iMac but also the direction of personal computing, came from Rubinstein: forsaking what became legacy ports in favour of USB, and the removal of the 3.5″ drive. Gutsy in themselves, these choices turned out to be prescient: after a necessary period of complaint, this became the new normal. The single Thunderbolt port and disdian for optical media of the modern MacBook Air follows a direct line from that decision – as the hermetic design and proprietary connector of the iPhone and iPad follows Rubinstein’s iPod model and ecosystem.
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