The Bicycle of the Mind: Humanism, Transhumanism, and the Renaissance of Apple, Inc.

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In order to uncover the reasons behind Apple, Inc.’s 1997 recovery, this study analyses the possible Critical Success Factors (CSFs) that may have been of upmost importance in the unprecedented revival of Apple, Inc. over a span of twenty years, leading from a nigh bankruptcy to the highly valued company it has become in 2016. The research covers the Apple’s corporate culture, product design and aesthetics, and marketing in order to uncover which CSFs have been of the upmost importance for the 1997 renaissance of Apple, Inc. and which developments in American culture may have contributed to its survival. In addition, the study analyses which developments within the corporate culture of Apple and the products derived thereof have influenced American culture since 1997 and whether it is possible to describe a reciprocal effect between said American cultural developments and Apple corporate culture and products. Results of the research show the high possibility that Apple may have combined a humanist and transhumanist approach to product design and marketing was likely a CSF to Apple’s survival and prosperity. Its success, additionally, would not have been possible without corporate technocultural awareness of the cultures and infrastructures of the United States the effects that new technologies would have on said culture which allowed for Apple’s popularity to take root in a subculture now known as The Cult of Mac, only to gain mainstream attention in the new markets it decided to enter. Whether it be the internet-enabled late 90s subculture-culture to The Cult of Mac, online piracy to the iTunes Store and iPod, the rise of mobile internet and online services to the iPhone and iPad, or the Decade of the Brain and “the bicycle of the mind” to ultimately the Digital Hub and The Extended Mind ecosystem, the dynamics stay similar. Apple systematically took notice of both the contemporary technological infrastructures and culture and, like its predisposition at the crossroads of technology and the humanities, fused these to create a new product that would define a part of the American culture for years to come. In addition, the resulting Apple ecosystem is transhumanist in its interface and industrial design, technocultural through influences on US media and society, and biotechnical in its intercranial cognitive processes. This reciprocal relationship between Apple and the American technocultural network in which it resides may only have been possible with the human-centric view on computing, thus enabling the firm to fulfil Jobs’ humanist and transhumanist visions and post-1997 corporate strategies
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