The release of the Apple Power Mac G4 Cube designed by Jony Ive in the year 2000 was a lauded and very hyped Mac Personal Computer by the master of sleek Technology – Apple. Unfortunately, this funky and small piece was a total flop from the start as a year after its launch had absolutely no demand and Apple had to publish a press release playfully titled “Apple Puts Power Mac G4 Cube on Ice”. – Tim Cook says.
The Chief Executive Officer of Apple Tim Cook in a Talk at Oxford reflected on the “spectacular failure commercially” of the Cube, and what he learned from his mentor Steve Jobs about failure amid the whole experience. He went on explaining on stage about the G4 Cube “It was a very important product for us, we put a lot of love into it, we put enormous engineering into it,”. Tim Cook calls it an “engineering marvel.” and at that time was Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations, recruited personally by then-Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs.
The Cube never found its audience even though the design was a hit, it was $200 more expensive than the regular Power Mac G4, which was a more traditional-looking PC with very similar specifications. And some Cubes would develop cosmetic cracks in the acrylic cube casing due to a manufacturing flaw.
Ultimately, Tim Cook expresses how the experience was a lesson taught and learned in humility and pride because “Apple had told both employees and customers that the G4 Cube was the future. And yet, despite Apple’s massive hype, demand just wasn’t there, and the company had to walk away.” Tim Cook noted that “This was another thing that Steve [Jobs] taught me, actually,”. “You’ve got to be willing to look yourself in the mirror and say I was wrong, it’s not right.”
In a wider sense, Tim Cook was saying that Steve Jobs taught him the value of intellectual honesty — that, no matter how much you care about something, you have to be willing to take new data and apply it to the situation, noting that he actually struggled with Jobs’ propensity for changing his tune.
He rounded up his speech saying “Steve, of everyone I’ve known in life, could be the most avid proponent of some position and within minutes or days if new information came up you would think he’d never, ever thought that before […] He was a pro at this,”. “And at first I thought, oh, he really flip flops! And then all of a sudden I saw the beauty in it. Because he wasn’t getting stuck, like so many other people do when they just say I’ve got to keep going on, my pride, you know. So be intellectually honest — and have the courage to change.”