For Jobs, how a product looked, felt and responded trumped raw technical specifications. While PC makers chased after faster processor speeds, Jobs pursued clever, minimalist design.
One ex-Apple employee remembers sitting in a meeting with Jobs, who was mulling over the appeal of Mini Coopers. (An old coworker of his sold them at the time.)
"He finally decided they were cool because they were small," he says. "Steve said that's when he knew Apple had to get really good at metal. Most computer makers at the time were all using plastic, but he knew to get smaller, you had to get metal really, really well."
The move paid off: Apple's titanium-turned-aluminum notebooks became bestsellers. The most recent MacBook Air models have been held up as examples of the ideal intersection of design, price and performance.