Veteran journalist Yukari Iwatani Kane is no stranger when it comes to Apple—the former Wall Street Journal reporter regularly had exclusive scoops on breaking stories such as Steve Jobs’ liver transplant and the development of the iPad, made possible by what she calls “painstaking reporting and vetting” versus having an inside connection with the company as many believed.
With her extensive list of insider sources Iwatani Kane has a new project coming—a book titled Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs, set to debut on March 18. The content of the book is based on over 200 interviews with current and former executives and other people close to the company, a project that took her almost two years to write.
When Iwatani Kane published an original article in The New Yorker sharing some insight into Apple, the blogosphere incorrectly concluded it was an excerpt from Haunted Empire and unfairly crucified the book as a pessimistic look on the future of the Cupertino company.
When we reached out for clarification via email, Yukari’s publicist said “we’re not publishing any excerpts of the book prior to publication.” So it’s clear no excerpts are available yet.
We asked Yukari a few questions and she was gracious enough to take the time to answer them with detail:
iPhoneinCanada.ca: How long did it take you to write this book from start to finish? What inspired you to pursue this project?
Yukari Iwatani Kane: It took me about two years to write the book. I initially had planned to write about Apple and how it went from near bankruptcy to success (keeping in mind that this was back in 2011 when Apple was posting triple digit percentage growth). But after Steve Jobs died, it was clear that the more compelling story was the one that was developing right under my nose about the leadership transition that was occurring.
iPhoneinCanada.ca: Are your sources more or less eager to be interviewed now that you are no longer with the WSJ?
Yukari Iwatani Kane: I don’t think that was a factor. What was more of a factor was that I wasn’t covering the daily news, so I could focus on the big picture rather than the more immediate story. That’s what is most important to most of my sources.
iPhoneinCanada.ca: Is Apple really ‘doomed’ as naysayers would mention?
Yukari Iwatani Kane: I don’t think Apple is doomed. After all, they are still making a lot of money, churning out iPhones, iPads and Macs. They also have many talented engineers and executives, and they make very good products. But I do think that it’s going to be difficult for Apple to continue to be the same “insanely great” iconic company that it has been known to be. Apple’s identity was predicated on two factors: 1) It was built around Steve Jobs’s celebrity persona 2) the premise was that Apple was an underdog and its products revolutionized the status quo. Today, neither is true. There is no Jobs and Apple is the establishment. The 800 pound gorilla. That requires Apple to evolve and become a different kind of company. Apple can still be a great company for a long time to come if can forge a new identity that reflects its post-Jobs reality and its top dog status.
For those in the Menlo Park area in California, you can catch Yukari speaking at an open forum titled “Are Apple’s Best Days Ahead” at The Churchill Club, on March 4.
Yukari’s book also has endorsement from Walter Isaacson, the author of Steve Jobs’ biography. If there’s one book we’re looking forward to reading next month it’s this one.