It was not unexpected, but still heart wrenching to see the news that Steve Jobs died today (October 5th, 2011). Many would say it is an understatement to call him a visionary, and I would agree. Better writers will outline his life and impact on design, technology and consumer electronics. On a persoanl note – my first experience
with any computer was when my mother bought an Apple II in the very early 1980’s, shortly after it came on sale in Canada. I remember programming ping pong games, writing homework assignments and watching with wonder as new programs became available. That early adolescent experience began a life-long love for Apple products, and the power of computers for creation and productivity.
When I moved to Belgium in 1991, the person who became a business partner in our then travel marketing venture, reinforced that love for all things Mac. He was a self-declared Apple nut, long before the computers and OS entered the mainstream. Learning design, creating websites and internet applications on all the numerous Apple computers as we continually upgraded was a pleasure, especially comparing to colleagues struggling to produce similar creative output with Microsoft.
Today, our household is Mac Land. All our desktop and laptop computers are Apple products, and my iPhone is a constant and treasured companion.
His legacy is profound, notably insisting design is not simply appearance, but essential to usability. That is obvious in the outer appearance of Apple products, which all competitors have tried, and largely failed to match. It is deeper however, intuitive interfaces, understandable functions are why Apple products are adored.
“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me … Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me.” [The Wall Street Journal, May 25, 1993]
“We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.” [On Mac OS X, Fortune, Jan. 24, 2000]
“For something this complicated, it’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
““Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things. And the reason they were able to do that was that they’ve had more experiences or they have thought more about their experiences than other people.”
It is surreal to be blogging on a computer that would not exist without him. RIP Steve Jobs – you were inspiring to many, and will be sorely missed. Thanks to the New York Times for collating a few of the millions of tweets – being mentioned under #SteveJobsLegacy is bittersweet.
and my personal photo tribute to Steve Jobs