I can clearly remember the first time I used an Apple Computer. My High School only owned one computer and although I don’t recall how our maths department came into possession of an Apple IIc (bolted into an ergonomically unfriendly cart on wheels), I do recall the thrill of using that computer and I’m thankful […]
I can clearly remember the first time I used an Apple Computer. My High School only owned one computer and although I don’t recall how our maths department came into possession of an Apple IIc (bolted into an ergonomically unfriendly cart on wheels), I do recall the thrill of using that computer and I’m thankful to my Grade8 maths teacher for talking our principal into letting some of use the Apple outside of class hours.
That was the mid-80s and it wasn’t till the late 90s that I actually owned a Mac of my own. Those intervening years were, of course, tumultuous for Apple and Steve Jobs.
That Apple almost went under in the early nineties is hard to imagine now, given the success of their products and the way the company has grown in the last 15 years.
Like many Apple users, I don’t simply have one Apple product. PowerBook, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, iPods, iTouches, iPhones and software like Logic Pro, iLife, iWork, Final Cut have all been through my home.
And, as a long term shareholder I’ve also been delighted with the performance of the company. Although it has been tempting at times to sell, holding Apple shares has been the best investment I ever made.
We throw words like innovation, vision and creativity around a little too easily these days. But, they applied to Steve Jobs and the company he built. Under him Apple was able to create products that people (not just computer geeks) wanted and could use.
There is a line, from that Apple IIc I first used, to the MacBook Pro I am writing on today. Both were computers; but, they felt solid and dependable, in the way a television, or radio feels dependable.
Steve Jobs was always more than just a computer guy and more than a businessman, It was clear from everything he did, that he had a sense of style, aesthetics and a developing sense of principles.
Under Steve Jobs leadership Apple changed the world. Apple helped us rethink what we can do with computers, with mobile devices and wireless technology. Apple fundamentally changed the distribution of recorded music industry and advanced the revolution in the way we watch television and films at home. Apple set the benchmark in software that allows us to organise our photos, music and personal movies. Apple has given us beautiful and dependable products that will be remembered for their great design.
Most importantly of all, Steve Jobs gave us a sense of progress. In a culture that is so backward looking and retro-focussed, Apple was able to captivate us with the sense of the new. As fast as Apple innovated with new designs, it also dropped existing technologies. Moreover, Apple stores became shrines to progress and also, shrines to simplicity.
The computer of the 80s and early 90s was a cluttered mess. More a kit that happened to come together than a product of clear design. Most of us bought our computers in makeshift stores (that frequently went out of business as fast as they set up), hobbled together from parts and running on software that was full of bugs, conflicts and other problems. Then we would go an fill our hard drives with games, shareware and other junk, until the viruses ate our data away.
Now we have devices that move with us; portable, responsive to touch, able to access data from anywhere. The clutter and confusion was stripped away. Any new Mac, (or iOS device), straight out of the box, is wonderfully simple and pure. Even the process of unboxing has a magic about it, the sense of being told, “here, this is all you need.”
In the end, that may be Steve Jobs greatest legacy – not how many computers, devices, programmes and gadgets we need to navigate our future. But, instead, how few devices we really need, how much creative freedom there is in not being weighed down, how much we can achieve when we focus on what really matters.
Thank you Steve.