It’s been a sad week this week with the passing of Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs for those who don’t know founded Apple Computers in the 1970s / 1980s, was fired, and came back in the mid 1990’s in time to re-invent the iMac, and lead the company to launch iTunes, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad, as well as the MacBook Air and other similar delights.
Many an Apple fan (myself included) have mourned the passing of such an energetic salesman and businessman. There are many obituaries on the web for him, and since I never knew the man I feel it inappropriate to comment myself. However, I do feel it necessary to realise just how this man has changed so many of our lives…even if you have never used an Apple computer.
One of the concepts Steve and Apple helped pioneer is the mouse. Think of the early Commodores, Spectrums and DOS and the mouse never really featured on early computers. It was Apple that helped (not on its own, but certainly a key player) in it becoming an essential part of the modern computer. The idea of being able to sell the concept to manufacturers, programmers and us, the buying public.
The other thing Apple under Steve Jobs helped pioneer was the GUI – Graphic User Interface. Again, computers used to be all text based – anyone my age will remember the old BBC computers, typing in the commands to run a program. Certainly I remember seeing an Acorn computer with a mouse and pictures on the screen and being awed by the concept. Icons, menu bars, things to see and click were agin from the early Apples.
Later, MP3 players really begun to take off in my humble opinion with the iPod and iTunes, the seemless link where I can click to buy music, and bang, it appears on my iPod, with no effort on my part. That concept, that harmonisation between buying and importing the songs and them transferring while I check my emails made the concept sellable to the public at large.
As I’ve said before, many other pages on the web can highlight in more detail about Apple’s inventions and Steve as a man (the good, the bad, and regrettably when someone passes away, the ugly comes out too), but I just feel we all need to spend a moment to acknowledge how the world of computing was immeasurably shaped by this man. RIP Steve, and thanks for vision.
P.S. As an Apple fan, typing this on my iMac, I have to say I think Apple computers are the bees knees. Yes, they’re slightly more expensive than Microsoft’s offerings. Yes, they’re not perfect. Yes, Steve didn’t donate as much to charities and projects as the Bill Gates Foundation is currently doing. And yes, I’ve even read comments that say “Oh, why are we mourning a businessman who made profit from all of us?” Surely the success of the company, with which he had such influence with and gave so much of himself to, to the point everyone has heard of it and its products, is all the testimony the man needs. And he was a man, a flawed man, but a man nonetheless, we should all be respectful for his passing. </rant> 🙂