Thursday, October 6, 2011

Living in an iWorld

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
- Steve Jobs

My introduction to the Macintosh came during college. The student newspaper I wrote for, The Whit at Glassboro State College used the Macintosh Classic, a weird hybrid of monitor and CPU in one package. Back then, I was a Windows/PC guy, and thought Bill Gates was a silicon-breathing computer god. To me, the artists and hippies of the college publishing suite used Macs.

I became a true Mac convert in 2003, after plodding along with Windows 95 on a Compaq Presario of all things. The newspaper I worked for then used Apple products and I was forced to assimilate to the iMac. Around that same time, I bought my first iPod, a seemingly magical music player. I hopped onto iTunes, purchased a few songs and listened to my heart’s content. The marriage of iTunes and the iPod was truly revolutionary.

The Mac OS, named after big cats, put Windows to shame. Where Windows frequently crashed and hit my with blue screens, the Mac OS is tightly-programmed, and easy for customers to use. Those funky icons, including a trash can and dreaded twirling beach ball of death only added to the mystique of using a Mac.

I took the plunge and purchased a Mac PowerBook in 2004. It was a beautiful, sleek machine. It became my music library, film studio, library and writing desk.

In 2008, I bought an iMac and in 2009 an iPhone. I love how these products work, how they integrate well with each other and how their various functions are user-friendly. Each time I switch that iMac on and hear that signature gong reverberate from its metallic heart, I swell with pride.

Steve Jobs, the founder and former CEO of Apple Inc. brought innovation and new technology to the world. His revolutionary decisions changed the way we use personal computing, how we listen to music, watch movies and communicate with each other.

For me, Apple computers were about functionality, aesthetic perfection, sublime design and a hip coolness you didn’t get with any other computer. The IBM clones were always boxy-looking, grey or tan boxes sitting on your desktop. Apple products, with their gentle curves and futuristic shapes made you take notice.

Apple computers made you realize the future was now and “Think Different” more than an advertising slogan.

Jobs, the creative and innovative force behind Apple, is gone.

Yet his legacy is one of pushing boundaries, of experimentation, of trial and error. Some notable failures, the Apple Lisa and Newton pad, gave way to the stunning successes of the iBook and iMac.

The indelible mark Jobs left on personal computing cannot be understated, and his personal style was reflected in the company's creative and inventive output.

Apple keynote addresses, when they rolled out new products, were always great. Jobs, in his signature jeans and black shirt, appeared like a tech-savvy Everyman instead of a corporate CEO. We sat in rapt attention as he explained the features of the iPone, iPad or tweaks and improvements to the OS software. Jobs nurtured the brand into a relevant cultural phenomenon, and the Apple Inc. logo became synonymous with high-end computing. He was the guru leading us into a digital Nirvana, a tranquil place with tools enabling us to do wondrous things. Apps became our means of recreation and productivity and brought the wider world to our palms and literally at our fingertips. A geek with an appreciation of pop culture, rock music and the arts, Jobs made it possible for us creative types to express ourselves through his products. Apple devices became the conduit for our energies and passions and functioned as digital playgrounds and workplaces.

Jobs had an innate ability of tapping into the technical zeitgeist of his times. Through his innovation, Apple revolutionized computing. Where others only gave us glorified calculators, Apple gave us the future and all of the possibilities that go with it. Within the silicon guts of his machines lay the foundation of productivity, of breaking down barriers, of communicating, obtaining information and consuming media.

We’re a better world because of Steve Jobs’ dedication and genius.

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