Steve Jobs (film) Is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America
Catch up on the story thus far at thecityvoice.org/battleroyale
I sat down this morning to write what I hoped would be a clear and lucid explanation of the arguments that Epic Games and Apple are presenting in their era-defining court case this week, but after reading 163 slides of arguments from both sides I was reminded of the reason that this case is so momentous in the first place: none of the ideas are new. The first slide in Apple’s presentation is a Steve Jobs quote because the company is just holding its ground on its late founder’s ideals, concepts that have been at the company’s core almost since it first started building the digital empire it sits atop today. Epic Games is just the latest representative of counterarguments that Apple’s opponents have advocated for almost as long. So if you want to understand all the legal minutiae, I’ve attached both Epic’s and Apple’s full opening presentations to the court below, feel free to read them, but personally I’m going to recommend that instead you spend 122 minutes watching Steve Jobs, Danny Boyle’s 2015 fictionalized biography of, well, Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs is a very good movie, and that’s mostly due to the fact that it feels so much like a play. The entire film takes place in three parts, essentially acts, real-time scenes set backstage during three of the biggest product launches in Apple history. There’s very little action, but nevertheless the film remains incredibly gripping, with Jobs and all the other people in his orbit constantly on the edge of, but never reaching, historic moments, all while racing through sharply written dialogue and arguments about the nature and future of computing.
That’s why I think this is the perfect movie to watch this week, because at trial Apple still seems to be living in Job’s shadow. Those sixty four slides essentially boil down to the idea that the App Store “plays the orchestra”, and that doing so improves the iPhone for everyone. When other, equally vital, characters come on stage to tell Jobs he’s wrong, they’re arguments sound eerily similar to Epic’s opening salvo.
So go watch this movie, because it’s a fantastic film with something for everyone, and because if, by the end, you understand why Jobs thinks that computer needs to say hello, and why Steve Wozniak wants him to honor the Apple II, you’ll understand Epic vs. Apple.
Steve Jobs is available on Netflix.