Lennon Inspires. Even Today.
The word ‘Apple’ means many things to Steve Jobs. It evokes Newton and science; knowledge and the forbidden fruit; it is rumoured to pay homage to Alan Turing, the father of the modern computer age who committed suicide by consuming a cyanide-laced apple; and finally, it symbolizes one of the greatest influences and inspirations for Steve Jobs: The Beatles, especially John Lennon.
The Beatles formed their own company, based on a phonetic pun, called ‘Apple Corps’ with the Corps pronounced as ‘Core’. Steve Jobs was deeply inspired by the vision and humanistic attitude of Apple Corps, and sought permission from the Beatles to label his company as Apple as well. At that time, neither party could have foreseen Apple Computers’ eventual foray into digital media, music, films, and entertainment.
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he launched the ‘Think Different’ campaign, saluting the heroes of his life whose visions he hoped, would inspire the new Apple. One of the ads featured John Lennon and Yoko Ono, with the Apple logo and the slogan ‘Think Different’ on the top-right. A few years later, when Apple launched dedicated Apple stores, they were simply called ‘Imagine.’ You can spot an ‘Imagine’ store in Delhi’s Ansal Plaza mall near South Extension as well.
Somewhere along the way, and despite those ‘Think Different’ ads, Steve seems to have lost sight of his vision of humanity, of playing prometheus across the digital divide, of hurling a sledge-hammer in an act of defiance against Big Brother. Currently, all Steve seems to be interested in, is creating increasingly snobbish products, in a rather autocratic manner, with increasingly snobbish and overpriced tags. Not good especially during a global financial meltdown. It is almost shocking to see Steve completely switched off from the revolutionary world of ‘muft and mukt’ digital culture. Steve has also lost the plot on the Netbook revolution, ultra-affordable and small-sized laptops, sweeping across the industry.
It seems to take Nicholas Negroponte from MIT Media Labs to really ‘Think Different’. He launched the netbook revolution in the world, with his One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative, which he insists, is not about a laptop, but about education for poor children across the world. To promote his OLPC, the project has just launched a new ad, with a digital re-incarnation of John Lennon. Okay, it’s a bit cheesy, the voice and accent are quite fake, but the message is strong and somewhat inspiring.
For good or bad, John Lennon as the new unsung hero of the computer revolution merits a thought. And hope some day, Steve does consider publishing an ad with Negroponte’s photo for his ‘Think Different’ campaign. While you watch the video-ad of OLPC and John Lennon here, I leave you asking yourself the question: “Can Steve Jobs think of making a difference in the world with computers and technology that touches the lives of ordinary and even poor people, finally making a real dent in the universe?
Lennon ad for One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)