Steve Jobs inspired us all. It’s hard to look at the past 30 years of technological advancements and not see the influence he has had on world culture. From helping bringing mass computing to the American education system, to showing average individuals how to point and click, and of course to bringing the “i” to everything we know today, Steve has been a pioneer, leading us to where no one else could.
I was young, maybe 10, maybe 6th grade. I was growing up in a household of computing (VAX 1300 BAUD dialup, compliments of Westinghouse), but Apple, they changed everything. Those who went to school in the US in the early 1980’s are hard pressed not to remember the Apple IIe. It seemed overnight the Apple IIe became ubiquitous with everyday computing. Sure there were other systems available, and certainly those that made more headway into the American home (hello Commodore 64), but Apple touched the youth of the day in the place they called home on a daily basis, school.
“Microsoft, IBM, HP who are they?”, might ask anyone going to school in the United States at that time, but Apple, we knew the name…we knew the logo. And that was just the start. Once Apple had seeped into the common consciousness during the infancy of the technology age, it was going to be hard to shake loose the early held ideologies.
I remember the day my father brought home the Macintosh. It had this thing attached to it with a button. You moved it around and the pointer on the screen moved. I was 13(ish) and I had just used a mouse for the first time. The whole computer was self contained (which was odd at the time) with a roughly 9 inch monochrome screen (not fact checking, just going from memory). I remember my father shortly thereafter buying a 20MB HDD that sat underneath at the same width and depth and about 2 inches high. He said something like, “Who is ever going to need 20MB of HDD space?”
Of course, that was well before the advent of MP3s.
Today we think nothing of carrying all our music with us wherever we go. While there were plenty of MP3 players on the market before any iPods, like those that Creative made (thanks for the interface), it was the simplicity of use and elegance in design that brought the iPods to the forefront of popular culture. This was one of, if not the first, must have tech gadgets ever for the adult market. Apple had been floundering for several years, and it was this inspiration from Steve Jobs that brought forth the Apple you know today.
From the humble beginnings of the iPod came everything with the “i” moniker. iPod, iTunes, iPhone, iPad, and all the third party products that followed. Apple paved the way for selling digital music and video thanks to the “i” line of products. Without the path Apple paved under Steve’s leadership, I doubt we would find ourselves in the media rich environment we do today.
Tonight I raise a glass to a man who inspired us all to think in a manner that would have otherwise been unconventional and to dream of a tomorrow that will hold the key to a better technological future.