Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Remembering Steve Jobs

Love him or hate him this one has done more to influence all of our everyday lives. I remember him entering my life in high school when my brother needed a computer for University and the best personal computer out there was the Mac. That was the first computer to enter my home. Sure I played with the PET computers, the Commodores, the Tandy's but there was never quite anything like the GUI of System 3.0 or Finder 5.01. SCSI, Hyperstack, ADB, and Trash. God I wish we still had the Oscar the Grouch Trash mod for the current OS.
I continued on my Apple ways myself through my college/University years. Purchased my first computer, the PowerPC 6100 during the Apple/IBM wars. Needless to say neither of those companies won the war because Microsoft came out of nowhere, being a Office software provider, to blitz both companies and win the PC wars.
Steve left Apple, founded NeXT, founded Pixar. NeXT eventually got absorbed into Apple when Apple needed to build a new OS. Guess what OS X is based on. :) And who hasn't heard of Pixar by now? THE 3D animation company that made those dead lifeless models come to life. Not because of the amazing animation tech involved but because of the story telling that involved both the parent and the child and whisked them into a wonderful world of imagination (except for Cars 2). Upon the return of Jobs to Apple what did he do? Bought NeXT. Killed off the dead projects. Introduced the candy flavoured iMac. Introduced the clamshell powerbook. Streamlined Apple. Made it relevant again....and that was just the start. He made peace with the enemy(Gates) and started his quest of world domination. His goal? To bring computers out of the hands of nerds and give it to the world. The gumdrop iMacs were fun. The clamshell powerbooks were fashion accessories. The children and women demographics. He gave them a taste and they would remember.

As those children got older he evolved the iMac into the lampshade model and the clamshell powerbooks became the black/ivory ones that were stylish and sexy. But that still wasn't touching the masses. What everyone was doing now was portable electronic media. The Sony Walkman was dead and people were jockeying to be the next Sony Walkman. Everyone was getting into mp3's! Rio was hot. Creative was busting out some juicy electronics. Everyone was throwing in everything into their mp3 players, the glitz! the glamour! the features! and the completely disaster that was their UI. So Apple comes along and says hmmm....we're jumping into this fray. Everyone else laughed. Hard drive for massive storage space. Firewire for fast transfer of files. Big screen for reading text. Click wheel for navigation. All the size of a box of cards. Cometh the iPod. The first step to world domination.

Sure we'll always have the pundits, then and now, that say, "well mine does this this and this and yours doesn't and you paid more!" Apple basically said, that's nice. We're going to make a music player and we're going to make it awesome! The first gen iPod was so successful, so mouth wateringly good that PC fanboys would drool with envy at the ease and simplicity of the design yet be so functional as well. Apple had to make a windows version of their iPod the next year because demand was so high it couldn't be ignored. So the guys that professed a love for DIY and tinkering also wanted a slick shiny sweet toy. Interesting. :) The iPod would go on to dominate the mp3 portable music market. Nothing anyone else made could touch it. Not even the mighty Microsoft. Apple didn't just rest on their laurels. They looked at the next market that would be important for the future. It had to be valuable, instant access and portable. Something incredible but wasn't accepted by the mass market. That would be the iPhone. No buttons, touchscreen interface. A glorified iPod with a built in phone they all said. Motorola was king. Startech with their clamshells. Nokia was a force to be reckoned with. RIM Blackberry users scoffed at the pretty pictures because they were the sophisticated business types. Well as they say, "look at me now" (a few years back). Practically the complete destruction of the dumb phone market. RIM in severe financial troubles. This was THE phone to have. It's not surprising that the major competition to iOS is from Google's Android phones. Google's head sitting on Apple's board of directors does give one some insight on what the potential competition is doing doesn't it?

Which brings us to Jobs last great product launch, the iPad. Sure there was attempts to create tablets before the iPad but really none of them sold well. Again following the same formula. Apple took an under performing market, something only tech geeks were interested in and but a humanizing flavour to it(iOS). Well suddenly there's a new market(again) created by or at least opened up to the masses and Apple but their sense of style and human element onto that product.

I'm sure that there are many other projects underway at Apple that have a touch of Steve in them but the thing to remember about this man, in my opinion, is that he may be revered/demonized for being a demanding boss but this man had a vision to give from the garden of the geek and make it accessible to humankind in a way that all could enjoy it.

Oh and one more thing. :) We all say we want to leave our mark on this world after we die, to be remembered for something. To put our mark in history. I think this man has achieved it.

R.I.P Steve Jobs.

No comments: