The unbitten Apple

iPad: Apple Logo

Apple’s logo remains one of the great business marks: simple, eloquent, indelible. But, more and more, the stylized apple with the bite missing is looking like an anachronism.

The colors went long ago, of course, those happy, trippy rainbow stripes that connected the company with its flower-child origins. But the bite remained, signifying and celebrating the human: organic, flawed, sweet. The missing piece was our piece. It welcomed us in. It made us part of the company. It put the personal in personal computing. It familiarized the machine.

At some point, though, Apple lost patience with us, with our fiddling, our ineptitude. It began to see the bite as a wound, and ever since it has been seeking to heal the damage. Apple wants to be pristine, untouched by outside forces, entire onto itself.

Apple’s ideal now is the unbitten apple, the immaculate fruit.

One by one the portals go, the entrances and exits are sealed. The customer is locked out of the device — and locked into the “ecosystem.” Today, in a media ceremony, it was the headphone jack that was exorcised. That tiny analog orifice linking the iPhone back to the transistor radio, the Walkman, the iPod: gone. And why not? With the socket and its audio converter removed, the phone will become even slimmer, even lighter, even more elegant. It will be better insulated against the elements. It will be more totemic. It will be purer.

Removing the headphone jack was an act of “courage” on Apple’s part, explained the company’s marketing chief, Phil Schiller: “The courage to move on and do something new that betters all of us.”

With just the one port remaining, the proprietary, tightly guarded Lightning port, the iPhone is getting very close now to the ideal. Apple will soon be whole.