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I think somewhere between the biographers and the stance of this article is an accurate depiction. I think he was a brilliant marketer, critic, and project manager/sponsor. I don't know the inner workings at Apple, so I don't know if he deserves the title of "product designer". It seems like he focused on what he did not want something to be more than what he did want something to be, and looked to others for creative solutions and technologies meeting those criteria.
 
Yeah, it's hard to say. Clearly there was something there. Apple floundered in the Sculley years.

I think the Gladwell interpretation was dismissed a little too easily. Gladwell was just saying that he wasn't necessarily a technical person, writing code and designing the hardware himself, or even an artistic design person. Gruber is saying that he had the vision to give to a team to create new products, and that they were, by and large, new products, not just 'tweaks' of other products.
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