The Web has been abuzz since yesterday evening with news about the death of Steve Jobs on October 5th, 2011. I didn't even know the guy personally, yet I am sad. You have to admire a guy who helped start a company out of a garage, put the "personal" into personal computers, made the mouse an integral part of our computing lives with the introduction of the Macintosh, and, most importantly, when everyone thought that Apple was done for, turned it into a super-awesomely sexy brand with slick-looking, coveted products. That has got to be talent and vision.
When I was younger, I always rolled my eyes at Apple products. Having grown up an a DOS/Windows-based household, the Apple computers seemed weird and annoying. What was up with those menus that disappeared if you let go of the mouse button? And for the love of FSM, what was up with the one-button mouse? Fast-forward a few years, before PDAs became popular, I remember when Apple launched its ill-fated Newton. It was totally ahead of its time, but fell flat on its face. Still, it was a trailblazer of sorts. We looked at the Newton with much awe, confusion, and perhaps some laughter back then, but nobody was laughing when the Palm devices became popular, and we were most certainly more than happy to wait in line for iPhones and iPads.
Apple didn't invent the mouse, but it popularized the mouse with the Mac. (And then even moreso with Windows.) Apple didn't invent the MP3 player, but it pretty much "iPod" synonymous with "MP3 player". (I dare you to think of another MP3 player brand/model that does that.) And most importantly, it did what I seriously thought was impossible - got people to PAY for music, even when it was readily (and easily) available for free from P2P sites. And in my opinion, spawned a whole online content industry. I wonder if the likes of Netflix would be around had it not been for Apple.
Apple products are annoyingly proprietary. That was a huge turn-off, and certainly a big reason why the IBM computers and IBM clones made Windows, not the Apple OS the go-to operating system of the past few decades. And then Apple did it again with the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad. Android phones have a larger market share than iPhones because Google licenses its OS to a bunch of cell phone makers. Still, iPad and iPhone owners like me keep flocking back to Apple. I forgive you (*grumble grumble*) not incorporating Flash into iOS. I forgive you for your annoying touch keyboard (I seriously much preferred the BlackBerry keyboard for thumb-typing). I forgive you because of your integration with content. Apps, phone, and media all in one devices seriously kicks ass. Sorry, Android. You're not there yet.
In the interest of this sounding too much like an ad for Apple, I think I'll stop here. The point I was trying to make in this post is that Apple puts out some very cool products, makes them look awesome, and integrates them very well. All this thanks to the genius of Steve Jobs. My generation has practically grown up alongside Apple, and it's sad to see such an important and influential figure go. I hope to see many other figures who are as visionary and influential as Steve Jobs.