I learned about the passing of Steve Jobs via Twitter. I take that back. My friend said it and then to confirm, I checked Twitter. There it was. CNN. NPR. Everybody I follow. Steve Jobs was dead. My heart sank.
I have no connection to Steve Jobs aside from the use of his products. My first Apple was a Mac Classic. I wrote the first short stories I really remember writing on that cute little computer. That was 20 years ago. For the past 20 years of my life, I have only owned Apple computers. Every once in a while we would upgrade. I remember going through Mac catalogs with my mom (pre-Apple store=catalogs) and the excitement of New Computer Day. I remember when we got our first tower. I remember the colorful little apples on them before they turned to more subdued colors. I remember eWorld (how do you like them geek points?).
My first laptop was an iBook. It was blue, had a handle, and probably one of my favorite keyboards ever. It came with me to my first college, where I got a job at the IT helpdesk as their “Mac girl.”. A few years later, I replaced it with a PowerBook and gave my broken iBook to a friend in 2003. It was his first Apple computer. He took it to get fixed up and he’s been an Apple fan ever since, as far as I can tell.
My Powerbook (on the left) lasted for a good six years before I replaced it. It had taken a good beating: droppings, drink spillings, missing keys, etc. I type this on my MacBook Pro, easily the best computer I’ve had. And, again, even at 27, I was beyond excited to get this home and open it up. I sat in awe at the screen as it first booted. Lots of people get excited about their new gadgets. I do too. But I can tell the difference between bringing home a new toy in a box with a big apple on it vs anything else. There’s something about all the details: the way that it’s packaged and presented, the feel of the product in your hands… My new TV was less exciting than any of my Apple gadgets.
Fast forward from 2009 (when I purchased the MacBook Pro) to today: I bought my iPhone last summer. It sounds ridiculous, but it changed my life. Get your eyeroll over with… I know it’s just a phone. Everyone has a smartphone and apps and they all do amazing things. This phone made my life better. I may be wrong, but I don’t think my long distance relationship would work out quite as well if not for FaceTime. Sure, we could have done any number of other video calling, but the convenience of FaceTime made a big difference. I can see one of my favorite faces hundreds of miles away with the tap of one little icon. That sentence alone is just crazy talk.
I could keep going about my iPad and how it got me to start reading and writing more regularly again, or how my AppleTV helped me get rid of cable and how all my iDevices work so great together doing this and that, streaming from one thing to the other, etc. I could talk about how my phone and a little app have helped me start running, start communicating, start budgeting and bettering. I could go on forever (and I have). It’s easy to get lost in the technology and the devices and the materialism involved. This whole post is full of that. But it’s not the heart of it. The heart of it is the good that all of it brings: the ways that these things can enrich your life.
All of this to say: I am heartbroken that a man who has made my life so much different than it might have been has passed away.
I have never met or spoken to Steve Jobs. I barely even thought about the CEO of one of my favorite companies until a few years ago. I only heard the stories about him, read articles, listened to keynotes, etc. But I have spent the last 20 years having my life changed by the products his company made. Whether it was from that first Mac Classic to my iPad, my life is better thanks to what he helped bring into it (and I haven’t even talked about all the other stuff he’s done like Pixar, etc). Things I never thought would make my life better do so on a daily basis. You can’t wish for more than that in a lifetime. Steve Jobs is a lucky man to have had such an impact on so many people.
Rest in peace, Mr. Jobs. You have more than earned it, I’d say. Thanks for everything while you were here.