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Jobs' Magic Touch Behind iPad

Apple's latest launch exemplifies Steve Jobs' ability to marshal his charisma and drive to rally his company to come out with products that capture the imagination of consumers.
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) -- For months, Mac-bugs and tech junkies have been anxiously awaiting Saturday's launch of


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highly anticipated iPad.

Apple shareholders and developers are relying on this new tablet computer to usher in the next big advancement in personal computing.

Donning his trademark black turtleneck, denim jeans, and sneakers, Steve Jobs initially unveiled the iPad at an Apple event in late January. Using the words "extraordinary" and "magical" to describe the product, he demonstrated the touch screen tablet's capabilities to a crowd of adoring fans, many of whom may already be standing outside of Apple Stores hoping to be the first to own one.

The iPad is just the most recent product from Apple that threatens to redefine the tech universe we know today. Other landmark products developed by Steve Jobs and his team include the iMac, the iPod and the iPhone.

As the charismatic face behind Apple, Jobs has made a name for himself for not only reviving the once floundering company into the third largest U.S. company by market cap, but also by melding personal computing with high style.

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Some believe that Job's unique ability to drive consumers to buy Apple's products is due to his mastery over the classic instruments of effective marketing and branding. Others, however, argue the CEO is in possession of a unique tool that commands more power over a crowd than mere marketing techniques. They believe Jobs has his own reality distortion field.

Though the idea of a reality distortion field originally appeared in the TV series,

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Star Trek

, the term was first used in reference to Steve Jobs in the early 1980s. At the time, Andy Hertzfeld had just begun working on the Mac project with Budd Tribble, Apple's vice president of software technology.

At one point during his time on the project, Hertzfeld expressed his concerns about the tight timetable that Jobs had envisioned for the plan. Though Tribble agreed with Hertzfeld's concerns, he went on to explain that it was no use trying to change their boss' mind.

Through the use of his reality distortion field, which includes a combination of charisma, appeal and exaggeration, Jobs had managed to convince not only himself, but all of the other people working on the project that the deadline wasn't as much a deadline as the expected completion date. What was impossible had become the obvious.

Analysts claim that Jobs has used his reality distortion field on numerous occasions to get people to back his ideas. Over the years, this term's use has evolved beyond describing his ability sway those working within Apple to stick to his optimistic estimates and long-shot deadlines. Today some say that when he introduces and promotes his company's next "must-own" product to hordes of adoring fans, Jobs has his reality distortion field on in full force.

Investors looking for proof of Jobs' unique ability to command a crowd need only to look to the people waiting outside of Apple stores this weekend in hopes of getting the first look at the new tablet, as well as the countless Apple-centric forums and blogs that will soon be bursting with praise for this next generation computing technology as well as Jobs.

It is hard not to blame at least some of their rabid enthusiasm on Jobs' reality distortion field.

One Last Thing. The iPad is not the first tablet computer to hit the markets. On the contrary, for years a number of companies have attempted to introduce their own slate computers: All of them failed to gather much steam. Do you feel that Jobs and his Apple iPad have what it takes to revolutionize the personal computing world? Feel free to leave a comment below.

-- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.

At the time of publication, Dion was not the stock mentioned.

Don Dion is president and founder of

Dion Money Management

, a fee-based investment advisory firm to affluent individuals, families and nonprofit organizations, where he is responsible for setting investment policy, creating custom portfolios and overseeing the performance of client accounts. Founded in 1996 and based in Williamstown, Mass., Dion Money Management manages assets for clients in 49 states and 11 countries. Dion is a licensed attorney in Massachusetts and Maine and has more than 25 years' experience working in the financial markets, having founded and run two publicly traded companies before establishing Dion Money Management.

Dion also is publisher of the Fidelity Independent Adviser family of newsletters, which provides to a broad range of investors his commentary on the financial markets, with a specific emphasis on mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. With more than 100,000 subscribers in the U.S. and 29 other countries, Fidelity Independent Adviser publishes six monthly newsletters and three weekly newsletters. Its flagship publication, Fidelity Independent Adviser, has been published monthly for 11 years and reaches 40,000 subscribers.