An open letter to the people of the world

Dear human race,

First of all, you’re welcome. In the last few days I’ve been overwhelmed by your letters and calls expressing your gratitude to Apple, and mostly to me personally, for inventing yet another life-changing, mind-altering product. All I can tell you is that with iPad, as with all of our products, all we did was create something that we want to use. We’re just so glad that you want to use it too. It’s humbling, actually. When you devote your entire life to the endless, selfless quest to improve the lives of others; when you live a monk-like existence, and focus all of your power and genius on the singular goal of creating objects that nourish souls and transform people’s lives with magic and wonder; and when people tell you that this is, indeed, what you’ve done — well, it’s gratifying. Namaste, entire population of Spaceship Earth. I honor the place where your desire to consume becomes one with my desire to create.

Some pundits have posed the question: Why do anyone need this thing? Indeed, even those of you are lining up and standing outside stores may be wondering, Why am I doing this? Why am I lining up like a zombie for an expensive piece of consumer electronics, a product for which there is no shortage and which, let’s face it, nobody really needs? Back in the early days of our design process, Jonny Ive came in to see me and we spent a long time trying to decide where on Mazlow’s triangle this product would sit. Because we knew if we couldn’t be way up above the very top of that pyramid, floating above it, totally outside the needs it describes, then this wouldn’t be a product we wanted to make. Some of our early iterations, in fact, had to be tossed out because when we looked at them we realized that parts of them were too, well, necessary. Don’t get me wrong. That’s fine for other companies. It’s just not what we do here at Apple.

But let’s get back to you people who are waiting in line. I mean it’s not like you’re in Bolivia and there’s just been an earthquake and you need to line up to get food and clean water. It’s not like you’ve time-traveled back into the Depression and you’re waiting in line at a soup kitchen. And yet, in fact, that’s exactly what you’re doing. Spiritually speaking, we are living in the Great Depression, and you are waiting in line for sustenance. We, all of us, are experiencing the world that Deleuze and Guattari described so presciently in Capitalism and Schizophrenia. If you haven’t read this incredibly important two-volume work, I highly recommend that wait for us to make both volumes available on our iBooks store and then order them right away. The cool thing is that then, as you’re reading, you will have the strange and circular experience of discovering why you bought the iPad in the first place.

The truth is, this is all about spiritual emptiness. That is why you’re standing in line. Except for Scoble, who is an attention whore and just doing it to get attention.

The truth is, all over the world, across every culture, there exists a sense of yearning. A kind of malaise. An emptiness. At the risk of sounding like Dr. Seuss: There is a hole in your soul. That is what we’re addressing at Apple. That is the hole we aim to fill. Sadly, as you may have begun to suspect, that hole can never really be filled. The truth is that modernity, the condition of living in our modern world, has inflicted terrible wounds on your inner self. These wounds can never be healed. They can only be treated. At best we provide palliative care. Not a cure. Because, my dear fellow human beings, there is no cure for what ails you. The products we create provide only temporary relief. Their magic eventually wears off. The sense of childlike wonder they impart will, over time, begin to fade. And then you need a new product. Think back to June 29, 2007. Do you remember the rapture? The wonder of iPhone? The magic? Now that is gone, but here we come with another shot of digital Dilaudid. Sleep well, my friends. Sleep deeply and rest, cradled in the arms of my electronic medicine.

I’d also like to take a moment to thank all of the engineers and designers and programmers inside Apple who worked so tirelessly on this product, toiling way in total secrecy. I know it wasn’t easy. You had to work on a machine that was inside a sealed metal box, so you couldn’t actually see what you were doing. The box itself was chained to a desk, which was bolted to the floor in a windowless, lead-sealed concrete bunker. And you were chained to that same desk by your ankle. I know some of you considered it humiliating. I know many of you did not enjoy having to use a chamber pot instead of being allowed to leave the room for bathroom breaks. To be sure, the chamber pot was designed by Jonny Ive and is a model of simplicity and elegant design. Nevertheless, not a lot of fun. I know some of you grumbled, privately, about having your personal email read, and your phone calls monitored. You did not appreciate having your children followed to school and interrogated to see if Mom or Dad had been talking about work. The cars parked outside your house at night, the strange calls to your neighbors and relatives, the questionnaires about your sexual history, the lists of all your past lovers that you needed to provide — I know. It’s not easy to work at Apple. But I think you’ll agree with me that it’s worth the trouble. I honor your dedication, and I hope you will all enjoy the new wonder device that you have helped bring into the world.

Hold your iPad. Gaze at it. Pray to it. Let it transform you. And do it soon, because before you know it we are going to release version 2, which will make this one look like a total piece of crap. Peace be upon you.

Dear Leader

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