I know I am late in posting this, but it has taken some time for me to process what has happened. We have lost one of our great visionaries, one of our greatest innovators and one of our most persistent entrepreneurs. Steve Jobs impacted so many aspects of our world: how we communicate, how we create, how we share, how we are entertained and how we think of technology. I wanted to tell a personal story of how Steve’s work has impacted me, and how nothing will ever be the same.
I hardly started out appreciating Apple – as recently as 2007, I detested the company. I was bought up in a world totally revolving around Microsoft. My first computer ran Windows 95. My first laptop was a HP machine running Windows XP. I used media players that only worked with Windows. I could not stand the Mac vs. PC ads and I couldn’t stand people with an iPod. Microsoft was God and I was a disciple. Then things changed.
Late in 2007, my Creative MP3 player died a very sudden death. I was looking for a replacement. Apple had just held their traditional September music event, announcing the launch of such players as the iPod Classic and the very first iPod Touch. The beauty and simplicity of the iPod Classic caught me. I had to have it. I begged and begged my parents for it. Christmas rolled around and I unboxed my first Apple product; I was now the proud owner of an iPod Classic. I used it persistently: on the bus, doing homework, traveling, whatever. The beauty of Apple products became clear – so much effort had been put into industrial design, the user interface, the user experience and the ecosystem. The iPhone was beautiful but wasn’t available in its initial version in Australia; but I still wanted one. I even started liking the look of the competitive operating system – Mac OS X Tiger and Leopard.
My acquisition of an iPod was shortly followed by an iPhone 3G. The first iPhone legitimately available in Australia, I had to have this amazing fusion of phone and computer. I ordered my phone on day three of availability, and within a month, I had my first iPhone. It was amazing. Again and again, it changed how I used a phone, how I thought of communication and how I thought of computing.
Then I took the biggest bet yet. After graduating from high school, in needed a new laptop for university. The designs Apple had just put out for the MacBook Pro in November 2008 were stunning. I had to have one. The stakes (and price of a 15″ MacBook Pro in early 2009) were very high. I was taking a huge bet that I would use a brand new operating system well by the start of uni. Pay off from this bet has been massive. I love my Mac – like all Apple products, the entire experience was thought out to the smallest detail and use case. The design was streamlined, intuitive. Yet, this dumbfoundingly obvious simplicity and intuition was somehow strangely surprising.
Now, my house is littered with my Apple products. iPods, iPhones, iPads, Apple TV; the list goes on. Not for a minute do I regret one of these purchases. I have made purchase of one Windows machine in this time. I was sadly disappointed. None of the thought that Apple, a company that is Steve Jobs, put into products could be seen in this netbook. I like Windows and still use it from time to time, but I don’t regret changing to the Apple ecosystem of products.
It is clear now just how much Steve and the company he salvaged from the edge of financial ruin care about their products, their services and their users and changed how we do things. Steve bred an environment where beauty was valued, innovation was key and caring for the user was everything. Steve contributed so much to technology and the industry. Anyone in IT would be remiss for not paying respect to a great entrepreneur that bought technology to so many people from so many backgrounds and so many places worldwide.
Steve will always be a role model for me and for everyone in our industry. For me, Steve always cared about what he did: quality was everything, and I appreciate this tremendously. He stuck by his guns, standing up for what he knew, and time and time again, he was right. Repeatedly, Steve and Apple redefined how we thought about things: computing, entertainment, creating, sharing and communicating. Last of all, Steve always looked at things differently, daring to take bets where no one else would.
Steve, thank you for your tremendous contributions to technology, design, entertainment and culture. You will be sorely missed.
What is your Apple story? How will you remember Steve’s legacy?