The one or two word replies have made amusing reading and clearly could only have come from the Great Wizard of iPad magic himself.
Only they don’t.
According to CNET each of these two word master-pieces are cunningly crafted by Apple elfs in Cappuccino. Saint Steve never goes near them.
But the illusion that Steve Jobs actually gives a monkey’s about an iPhone reception or that he sits in his Eames chair at two in the morning sending funny emails about porn to hacks is really important.
It is part of the conjuring trick that is part of the style over substance that exists at Apple.
It is not used much, and when the trick is used for the maximum effect.
After all there is no way that Jobs would go through the mountain of arse licking calls he gets from fanboys who want to have his babies. But equally there is no way that he could be bothered to pick through a mountain of “my iPhone 4 does not work” emails either.
It fosters the myth that someone in Apple really cares about users. Not only that the same “genius” who brought you those shiny gizmos cares about you.
It is one of the tricks used by born-again Christians to personalise the religion. There might be all sorts of philosophical, moral and religious flaws in fundamentalist Christianity, but if you can boil it down to “Jesus loves you” it is easier for you to follow up with “do as you are told.”
However the role of being Steve Jobs for the purposes of answering those letters is a challenging and interesting job for a writer. You have to mimic the 15 or 20 syllables they generally entail and get across the love for the company, the hatred for anything that disobeys your will and not come across as a total toss pot.
In comparison writing a haiku is a doddle. For example, Nick Farrell writing to Steve Jobs and asking for a job replying on his behalf would be answered
“No,” written from my iPad
Not “NO”, or “NO!” and especially not “Bugger Off and Die Farrell!” The last one would be written by an Apple fanboy along with a list of English spelling mistakes in an article I had written, and a demand that I was fired. Jobs would not demean himself.
Obviously this sort of skill is not the sort of thing your average PR can do either. PRs live in total fear of their client and in the case of Steve Jobs, absolute terror.
CNET suggests that it is also possible then that Steve has got a brilliant coder to knock up some software which does his replies for him. The code would just go through the list of emails, find something topical (probably based on a Google news search) and send one or two word replies that work according to a Jobsian algorithm.
It could be programmed to work only every second day or so to give the impression that it was the great man himself – after all it is not difficult to work out what he is going to say next.