Steve Jobs changed the way we live
We all knew this day was coming. Pancreatic cancer is serious stuff and is rarely defeated.
But when we heard Wednesday that Apple visionary Steve Jobs died, it was still a shock -- if only because the man has almost always surpassed people’s expectations.
Despite an occasional clunker, the king of all things Apple oversaw some of the biggest tech successes ever and is one of the truly iconic figures of our time, and his reach goes far beyond the realm of tech geeks who argue over gigabytes and screen resolution numbers.
I was often critical of the man, and found some Apple products to be overpriced and overhyped, but that doesn’t change the most important thing about the man and his company – they changed the way we live. Jobs once said, “I want to put a ding in the universe,” and I’m pretty sure he did that on some level.
We take it for granted that ALL our music can be stored on a little tiny machine and listened to via earbuds. That wasn’t the case until a decade ago, when the iPod burst onto the scene and became a phenomenal success. Anyone who wanted to listen to music while working out or just being on the go somewhere now had a viable option. Even with smartphones storing so much music nowadays, the iPod continues to be a success.
In the area of computers, I was not always sold on what Jobs offered – but there’s no denying he made a tremendous impact. He somehow managed to make computers that often cost twice as much as PCs, and somehow still convince a lot of people that it was worth it to buy them. Beyond the technology side, he’s without a doubt one of the greatest businessmen ever in our generation, and this is just one example of why that is so.
Then, of course, there is the iPhone. It is widely recognized as the springboard for the explosion of smartphones that has happened in the past five years. Fresh off a disaster of a phone called the Motorola ROKR (the first cell phone to feature iTunes built in), Jobs put his nose to the grindstone and oversaw the development of what is without a doubt the biggest smartphone name in the business, and will likely continue to be so for a long time. Just look at all the attention to the announcement this week of the latest iPhone … no other company gets that much hype, and no one was better than Jobs at generating a big buzz around his products. And while there is always room to complain some, the iPhones usually deliver pretty well on all the awesomeness Jobs promised (minus an occasional “antennagate” here and there).
Finally, of course, there is the iPad. Jobs no doubt knew he had little time left, and I bet he was most proud of this invention more than any other. Time will tell if the tablet revolution comes about and people start tossing their laptop computers in favor of the handheld devices, but if that day does come it will be Jobs’ latest addition to his legacy. Many people tried tablets before Jobs (just like other had tried mp3 players), but no one had succeeded.
He did, and if he had stuck around this Earth a little longer, I’m guessing he had a few more tricks up his sleeve that we’ll never get to see now.
Beyond all this tech talk, let’s not forget a man is dead. My thoughts are with his family, and I will end with a great quote from Jobs himself, who somehow continued to innovate in the face of an uncertain future and not knowing how much time he had left.
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life"-Steve Jobs, 2005
Matt Myftiu can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MattMyftiu.