Every single day, everyone at Mildly Pleased uses an Apple product. Personally, I spend most of my day with Apple products, between all the work I do on my iMac and all the procrastinating I do with my iPhone. Steve Jobs has been the face of Apple for so long it’s easy to think of him as the man responsible for all that they’ve accomplished. That would be forgetting all the hard work that plenty of others put into each product they’ve launched, but it shows how prolific an individual he was.
I first took notice of Apple when Mac OS X came out. Before that, they were just the weird alternative computers that I saw in schools and the occasional household. But Mac OS X struck me for its UI. After years of looking at bland, grey desktops, Apple Aqua theme was amazing. It was so colorful and clean. That was enough to get me interested in Macs, and I started altering my Windows machine to emulate the Macintosh interface. Windows XP was a big step forward for Microsoft and a revolutionary OS in its own right, but we’ve had two versions of Windows since then. Apple is still iterating on OS X.
I never liked portable CD players. I tended to buy ones with skipping problems, or maybe I was just an irresponsible portable CD player owner. By junior high, most of the music I was listening to was on my computer, thanks to the magic of ripping CDs and the brief revolution of Napster. I was too lazy to burn CDs most of the time, so music was not that big a part of my life. Worse, I was stuck using the clunky Windows Media Player or the so-flexible-it-was-intimidating WinAmp for my musical needs. Then, and I clearly remember this day in 2003, Apple finally released iTunes for Windows. Obviously this was the logical, money-making move, but I thought it an extraordinary gift. What benevolence from them, to give me access to this amazing musical store and resource-hogging application! iTunes has been my only media player since. I bought my first song, “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” in March of 2004 using a Pepsi bottle cap. I haven’t bought a CD, aside from a souvenir in Japan, since. I got an iPod, a used third generation model, for Christmas. At the time, it was the coolest thing I owned, even though people were walking around with the cool color-screened fourth generation ones already. That iPod I have replaced three times, but it is still used by the family.
It was my birthday and a schoolday when my family gifted me my first Mac. A PowerBook G4, a real beauty. They gave it to me in the morning and I barely got to use it before I had to leave to go miss the bus. I waited all day for the chance to go home and play with my laptop again. At the time, I already had my own computer, a PC my dad had helped me build that was superior to my PowerBook in every way, from a technical standpoint. But instantly my Mac became my default machine. I used it every day up until my birthday in 2008, when I got my second Mac, the iMac I am writing this post on. That PowerBook has been used well beyond reason, but I can’t let it go. If it were a PC, I’m sure I’d have disposed of it long ago.
My first iPhone, now Nancy’s phone, was the most amazing thing. Imagine, a device that could deliver to me all the world’s information. That could connect me with anyone I was looking for. “There’s an app for that” might sound a little contrived to us now, but if you think of it, it’s pretty extraordinary. I walk around with technology today that would have seemed outlandish by science fiction standards just a few years ago. Time and time again, Apple has amazed me with the products they put out. I balked at the iPad, but like it or not, it’s changing the face of computers. I wouldn’t have predicted that, but Steve Jobs did.
That’s the insight and leadership the world will be missing today. Because you simply cannot deny his track record. After starting Pixar and returning to Apple, Steve Jobs led the company to Mac OS X, the iPod, iTunes, iPhone and the iPad. He turned dreams into reality. He was one of the most involved and beloved CEOs of all time. And he’ll be missed.