Gruber at Daring Fireball does a heck of a job correcting the impression Walter Isaacson gives of Steve Jobs's philosophy of design:

What Schiller is telling Isaacson is that prior to Jobs’s return to Apple, design was what happened at the end of the engineering process. Post-Jobs, engineering became a component of the design process. This shift made all the difference in the world.

Isaacson does not understand this, and his telling of the Antennagate saga illustrates this perfectly. Again, the aforequoted bit from Chapter 26:

On occasion this could backfire, such as when Jobs and Ive insisted on using a solid piece of brushed aluminum for the edge of the iPhone 4 even when the engineers worried that it would compromise the antenna.


The edge of the iPhone 4 (and now 4S) is the antenna. And it’s not made of brushed aluminum — it’s bead-blasted stainless steel. ... The trade-off was that moving the antennas to the outside left more room on the inside — room for a bigger battery, other components, and allowed for the device to be thinner. Isaacson paints Jobs and Ive as being concerned only with how it looked and felt, with engineers left to worry about how it worked. The truth is that the design was how it worked.


It's a well-nuanced piece -- one of Gruber's best, and that's saying something -- explaining Apple's success in becoming what Gruber calls not a software or hardware but an "experience company" . Awfully insightful, and worth reading.