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Steve Jobs’s Three-Fold Legacy

When someone you know (or think you know) dies, you reflect on the influence they had in your life. So, my first blog post is my response to the passing of Steve Jobs: co-founder of Apple Computer Co. (now Apple Inc.) and founder of Pixar Animation Studios.

I have been a lifelong Apple user, from the IIc onwards. One of my nicknames is actually ‘MacBorn With It’.

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak

From @Todd_Roy: Jobs and the Woz making amazingness back in the day…

Unfortunately, I can’t say that I learnt to type on the IIc. Well, I could, but I’m too honest. I originally learnt and practised on the Atari, with its cassette tape drive, that we had before the IIc. I do remember though sitting on my Dad’s lap once while he showed me a game on the IIc and I accidentally knocked his coffee into the keyboard. I learnt my lesson about liquids and computers!

Dad then moved from the IIc to IIe to IIGS.  His favourite Apple is still the IIGS, which is what I used to prepare my high school assignments. But it was the computer we had after that, the Macintosh LC575 that I took to university in 1997. At that point, aside from those studying IT, I was the only person in my group of friends who had their own computer.

Then in 2000, I used the pay from my initial Army Reserve officer training to buy an iMac. I bought the Bondi Blue one, rather than the multi-coloured, orange or pink ones, because it was named after the colour of the ocean at Bondi Beach. No, actually that’s a lie (okay, maybe I’m not so honest). I bought Bondi Blue because I disliked the other colours.

I dutifully returned the LC575 to my father, even though he’d already moved on through the MacPerforma to the iMac. I still have from my iMac’s 3.5 disk drive, mouse and keyboard. I’m actually using that keyboard attached to my MacBook to prepare this blog post.

In 2004, my first overseas trip was to Europe and I saw iPod billboard advertisements everywhere. I already knew about the iPod (it was released in 2001) but it was not big in Australia yet. But by the time I bought one a couple of years later, it was an MP3-player phenomenon. That tiny device helped get me through my deployment in Afghanistan.

When the iPhone was released in Australia, it was no surprise to those closest to me that I got one. Sure, it looks like I’m a sheep and following the crowd, but if you know me it’s not surprising that I have a suite of Apple products in my home.

So, what is Steve Jobs’s legacy to computers and phone technology? Sure, we’d still have those things, but would they be as beautiful to look at and use without someone like Jobs pushing the boundaries?

I think his legacy is three-fold —

  1. prophetic technology vision: compare the c.1987 intro to Knowledge Navigator and 2011′s intro to Siri
  2. ‘outside-the-box’ technological design, both in and outside the machine: here’s a video montage
  3. computer-animated feature-length films: here is Jobs’s speech to Stanford students where he recounted three stories, including setting up Pixar and how his accidental love of typography shaped typeface use in personal computers

Oh! Let’s not forget that since the iMac’s release, using a lowercase ‘i’ as the first letter in product names or for trends is now ubiquitous. Think Hyundai i30 or iLoad, or even the use of ‘iSad’ as a hastag on Twitter for Jobs’s passing.

Other responses to Jobs’s legacy and passing —

  • an article by Entrepenur Magazine (@EntMagazine): ’10 Things to Thank Steve Jobs For’
  • a poignant blog post from screenwriter John August:
  • a tweet that’s wrong, but … (be warned): @PeterGriffin: RIP Steve Jobs – id want to die if i had to watch that release of an iphone 4s
  • but my favourite tweet: @NicholeBernier: Prayers tonight from the 5yo, not kidding: “Dear God please have fun tonight with the guy who invented iPhone and iPad.

How do you feel about Steve Jobs’s passing?

Thanks for reading


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