While I can’t say I’m overly fond of the hyper-controlled walled garden Apple is building, I will never have anything but admiration and respect for Steve Jobs. His singular drive, his strong sense of design, and his anal-retentive need to make Apple’s machines both beautiful and easy to use transformed computers from confusing tools that made the average person swear, into tiny, wondrous and sleek have-to-haves that are as familiar and comfortable as the morning newspaper they helped to bury.
I own an aging MacBook Pro, which I will be replacing soon, with a brand new MacBook Pro. I own an iPad, and I can honestly say I am in love with that device. In our family, iPods abound. I am not an exclusive Apple geek; I have an Android phone, and I spend as much time on Linux as I do on my Mac. But Apple’s technology stands apart, and Jobs’ manic dedication is the reason.
I still remember the Apple ][ machines that showed up in a special, new lab in Temple’s computer science building, back in 1982, when I was an undergraduate. A few of us student consultants, including Rob Keiser, Stan Spotts and me, were tapped to staff the lab. Naturally, as geeks, we took the opportunity to play with the machines in the lab. I spent way more time on the Apples than on the IBMs. Even then, Jobs and Wozniak had a knack for making their computers seem more fun.
It’s been amazing to watch where that humble machine, and garage-built company, have gone.
Rest in peace, Steve Jobs.