Steve Jobs – The Crazy One

Today it was announced that Apple co-founder and long time CEO has passed away after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. As the owner of an Apple centric company, this probably means a lot more to me then many others…or does it?

Many companies have lost a much beloved CEO, but how often do you hear about it? How many company CEO’s have passed away and affected not only their family, their company employees, but the public in general? And not just the public in general, but the public worldwide?

He will be missed by his wife, four children and his loving family. He will be missed by his coworkers and his employees down to the lowliest janitor. He will praised for weeks by his industry compatriots and even his detractors. Every person on Earth that has, or does own an Apple device will look at it and realize Steve Jobs himself had a say in it.

That is something only Apple owners can say, most other CEO’s are mere business men, making corporate decisions that keep a company running and profitable. Steve Jobs was an inventor, artist and business man; so obsessed with the products his company produced that he personally directed the design, features and evolution of the majority of them. And that is why they are so amazing. Along with world renowned designers, software and hardware engineers, Apple Inc. has been responsible for more changes in our day to day live then any other CEO in history.

The style of and way we use computers, the way we purchase and listen to music, the way we use our phones, and countless innovations in computers & electronics that most people have no idea about. A lot of people will agree about his impact computers to a “degree” and many will say he was just the CEO of a computer company and could not have influenced society in anyway. But let’s have a look at some of the biggest things Apple and Steve Jobs have done and it’s impact today.

Apple Macintosh – The first truly user friendly computer was introduced in game show fashion and ushered in with what is still considered one of the most iconic advertisements of all time, 1984. The Mac brought the mouse, windows, multiple fonts, and the graphic user interface to the masses, and is copied from to this day. The vast majority of computers in use today, the Windows based PC owes its heritage to the Mac.

iMac – The first simple to set up, all in one computer for the masses. The original bondi blue iMac brought the PC from under a dusty dark desk to the living room. A departure from the still in use steel case box with a confusing array of cables sprouting from the back, the iMac inspired computer manufacturers to finally produce computers that weren’t an eye sore. All in one PC’s are only just now becoming common place.

iTunes – During an era of unprecedented piracy via sharing of digital music over the Internet, Apple delivered The Best Of Both Worlds. After years of intense negotiations, and giving a lot more then they wanted to, Apple gave music fans what they wanted, the choice to buy music they loved, and the ability to mix music selections dynamically. Who of you can imagine going to buy a physical CD of music, let alone a entire music album, instead of individual songs? When was the last time you listened to an album in it’s entirety? You have the vision and tenacity of Steve Jobs to thank for that, yes, even if you buy your music from Amazon.

iPod – Remember the Walkman? Throw a tape in, put on your headphones and go running, rock out or study while listening to your favourite tunes. Remember mix tapes? Yea, well along with iTunes, Steve Jobs brought that combination into the future. A portable music player that could hold not just the 10 odd songs a tape could, but hundreds, and all with the ability to choose what song was playing, and mix on the run. Almost being eclipsed now by smartphones, portable music players were introduced to the masses by Steve, and they continue to own the portable music player market.

iPhone – Before the iPhone there were phones that could browse the web in a very limited fashion, had a calendar, but none had a touch screen interface and allowed us to see web pages like we did on a computer. The iPhone exploded on the market, and sent massive and established companies like Nokia in the dust. To this day the iPhone is the product to catch up to.

App Store – Before the app store, you would have to march down to a brick and mortar shop to buy a new piece of software. Developers has to have enough money to pay for packaging and distribution, or try their best to sell their product online, very few saw success. Now, without the additional costs associated with packaging and distribution, many developers can get their product out and in a common area where it can be viewed by millions, and for a much more affordable price, resulting in millions of dollars more in sales.

MacBook Air – The ultra thin, ultra sexy laptop from Apple surprised everyone with a sub $1000 price point. It is generally regarded as the future of laptops, and even the mighty Intel can’t pay PC manufactures to produce something it’s equal and it’s price point.

iPad – The latest of Apples commitment to modern society has been a true revolution, many say it’s the future of computers themselves. The iPad has been in Steve’s mind for 24 years, and it has turned into his finally legacy, and much like the iPhone it has been the single device each and every other manufacturer has had to play catch up with.

The last three, perhaps four devices have not been around long enough to see their true impact on our modern society, but already there are signs. Sales of non smart phones are virtually nil, and in fact, its hard to find simple non-touch based phones out there. The PC class of “netbook” has virtually disappeared with the introduction of tablets like the iPad, and laptop manufactures are having a very hard time selling what are seen as ugly, cumbersome laptops.

Steve Jobs was arguably the single most influential person in the history of electronic technology. At least one piece of electronic equipment we interact with on a daily basis has been influenced by Steve Jobs in some way. Look around you and disagree with me.

I have a personal idea of what the Jobs family is going and has gone through, the effects upon his body of his pancreatic cancer are familiar to me through my own mother who suffers from pancreatitis. It’s a very slow, complex and frustrating organ to loose control off.

There are to many great quotes from Steve Jobs to list, but I don’t think anyone will ever forget “One more thing…”

The world has lost one of the greats. He was so intimately tied to Apple and it’s products, I do seriously worry about the companies future with out him. I’m confident in the team, but I can only hope that with each and every decision that comes across the desks of the board members they ask “what would Steve do”. We’ll see if the market agrees with me tomorrow by the response of AAPL.

By Ryszard Gold of The Stem

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Ryszard Gold

Ryszard (Rick) Gold, From Calgary, Alberta, Canada has over 20 years of experience working with Apple products in a technical capacity. Passionate about technology in general, his natural troubleshooting abilities, curiosity and appreciation of good design lead him into working exclusively with Apple Computer products.
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