I’m not an Apple fanboy. In fact, I rally against the Cupertino-based company and the lemmings that follow it blindly at every opportunity. I don’t own even one Apple product (although I do covet an iPad), I even avoid iTunes because the one time I did install it, it spread its tentacles deeply into my system and refused to retreat even after a lengthy uninstall.
However, I was hit by the death of Steve Jobs. It affected me when I heard the news that he’d passed. And that was something I didn’t expect.
While Steve Jobs was alive I made jokes about his everyman attitude (despite the fact he had $65 billion sitting in his bank account), and about his black turtleneck and blue jeans uniform which made him look like a kind of Kickass-style superhero. I ranted and raved about the level of Apple fanboyism which saw Jobs treated as the Second Coming, and how in some people’s eyes he could do no wrong. But his passing saw that disappear and be replaced by sadness, and a realization that the tech world has lost someone mighty, someone important, someone who will never be replaced.
Steve Jobs was more than just the CEO of a company, a company that was transformed from near-bankruptcy into the richest in the world in a little over a decade. While he isn’t the only reason Apple is as successful as it is, he’s a huge part of the puzzle, and his return in 1997 was the starting point for this sea-change in the company’s fortunes.
He was a visionary who changed the world.
Imagine if the iPod hadn’t been invented, or the iPhone, or the iPad. And while I don’t personally use iTunes, I regard it with the reverence it deserves, as it changed the way we buy digital content. How about the design sensibilities which Jobs, along with Jonathan Ive, dragged into the mainstream. It’s a visual mindset that other companies have since adopted, with only mild success.
What has become clear since Steve Jobs’ death is how much of an impact he had on people’s lives. Whether or not they knew him personally, or had an anecdote to share with the world, his presence made a difference. Jobs changed the order of things as the ultimate disruptor of technology – from challenging Microsoft’s stranglehold on the personal computing market to using his and his company’s influence to force old media into letting the Internet blossom – and that is how he should be remembered.
Gone But Not Forgotten
In hindsight I guess writing about someone, covering the products they have imagined, seen through to production, and then brought to market, and reading about the impact one person has had on an industry and the wider world meant that his death was always going to at least resonate with me. But still, I was shocked by how news of his passing made me feel.
Image Credit: Cain and Todd Benson