The news of Steve Jobs’ death is dominating the news right now and for good reason. He has helped change the world for the better. Those of us in the creative and advertising fields are likely intimately familiar with Jobs’ work and Apple products in general. There’s a reason his passing is news, and a reason that people who never knew him are feeling as if a friend has died.
My first Mac experience was in grade school. I was a dorky computer kid at an early age, having fond memories of pounding out hundreds of lines of code into a Commodore Vic 20 in order to create a hangman game where I could replace the default library of words with a selection appropriate for a third grade playground. At school, though, we had a few Apple computers. They were amazing.
Not too long after the Mac came out, my dad, who was a designer and artist, got to bring one home for a week or so. I don’t think I left its side the entire time that little box with the built-in screen was in our house. Keep in mind – there was no Internet connection. I had no games. Just the built-in software, a keyboard and a mouse. But that’s all I needed. The device was magical and enthralling. I loved it.
The first Mac we purchased and owned at home was a Mac LCII. The good ol’ Pizza Box. That machine was truly amazing, and was the gateway to so many things that are still part of my life today. Here are a sampling of the things that something simple like a computer allowed me to do:
- Computer programming
- Play games
- Learn how to play the piano
- Access the Internet (pre-world wide web)
- Surf the Web
- Desktop publishing
- Design and layout
- Create music and sound effects
- Fight with my parents about how much freaking time I spent on the computer
- And a lot more… I can’t even remember
This was the foundation of a love for not just computers, but of creation, imagination, and information. This computer was an interface to the world, and I felt as if I could do anything I wanted on it. It also happened to be a Mac, and it was beautiful. There was an emotional connection to this thing.
Emotion is where Apple’s brand and associated products stands out. I think Jobs understood this, but that to him, it wasn’t simply business strategy. He felt it and believed it. He knew that something well-designed, elegant, and beautiful that also provided value and function would simply be better. Everyone who has experienced anything associated with Steve Jobs’ Apple has felt this. And that’s why the passing of a guy who made a computer is profoundly affecting so many people.
I’m sad that we won’t be able to find out what else Steve had in store for us. I hope that his legacy can live on not just within Apple, but inside everyone who hopes and dreams and wants to change the world in one way or another.
There are tons of great recaps, quotes, tributes, and stories popping up everywhere online right now. I think Apple’s tribute (as pictured below) sums it up best. Simply, Steve Jobs. Insanely great.