I’m not one for public gushing. I know many of my more cynical friends will wince or sneer when they see that I’ve posted about Steve Jobs’ untimely death, but being one of the bigger Apple fan’s in my circle, albeit with a critical eye as many of my previous posts will demonstrate, I felt the need to say a little something and remind us all that his influence cast much wider than the cool gadgets with the fruity logo.
As I sit here writing on my Macbook Air, with my iPhone beside it, deciding whether or not to take my iPad along with me for a long weekend in Scotland, it’s clear that I find great joy and achieve incredible productivity thanks to my horde of Apple devices. Where as I would moan about and swear at my many painful to use Windows PCs that would crash every 4th week, or get a virus easier than I catch a cold… I have always loved using a Mac. Yes they cost the Earth but I think they’re worth every penny.
The closed system of Apple products that the haters love to slate is one reason why I love Apple – it all just works! No installing drivers to get my MP3 player talking to my Dell PC. No upgrading the graphics card everytime I buy a new game. No sifting through endless menus and sub-menus of settings that I don’t understand and where one wrongly ticked box renders my computer useless.
In my former career as a mobile phone ‘buyer’ for two of the largest mobile networks I spent many years selecting and launching a portfolio of mobile phones from the big manufacturers. I left the industry in part because I was sick of the backwards attitude to delivering what the customer actually wanted or needed in their life. It was all about launching phones that supported often ill conceived propositions that were built around ‘revenue generating features’ for the networks and there was a desperate ‘technology push’ from the manufacturers. Tech acronyms were rammed down customers’ throats and networks and the marketing folk forgot the basics of marketing – they focused on delivering products that satisfied their own financial needs, not those of their customers. The customer was lost somewhere in the middle, buying over-specified phones that did a million things they didn’t need but failing them on the basics.
A year after I left the industry the iPhone launched and I was gobsmacked. It was an incredible 2G device that delivered a hundred times more than the truly awful stable of 3G devices on the market. It focused on usability and features that people really wanted, whether they made revenue for operators or not. Previously charged for add on features like GPS powered maps were now free.
Steve Jobs’ vision had turned the mobile sector on it’s head both in product and commercially. The sector changed forever and for the better.
I could go on for hours about the impact Steve Jobs made on the technology, music and entertainment industries but the BBC sums up his life much better than I can, but it’s important to point out that Jobs’ influence was much wider than devices and services bearing the small Apple logo alone.
Not an Apple customer or fed up with the haters who don’t understand the big fuss?
Here’s a few reasons why we all should be thankful for Jobs:
- Windows wouldn’t exist without Apple.Steve Job’s Apple invented the original mainstream GUI (Graphical User Interface) which Microsoft then copied (and some would say butchered) to create Windows.
- The Android OS wouldn’t be anything like as good as it is without having had the iPhone user experience to clone.
- Are you touching a screen right now? Most touchscreen-centric devices in the world owe something to the incredible iOS experience.
- Love the digital animated movies like Toy Story? Guess who was the driving force behind digital animation filmaker Pixar.
- Listen to digital music on the move. We all know that without the iPod the MP3 player market would be years behind it’s current level of sophistication.
Steve Jobs and Apple raised the bar again and again. His ingenuity, vision and relentless determination means that there’s a little bit of Steve in so many products we use in our lives.
Regardless of everything above, today marks the passing of a guy form humble beginnings who worked very hard building the things he believed in with passion and dedication.
Love him or hate him, he died too young – but he truly made a positive, unforgettable mark on the world.
Rest in peace Steve