When Steve Jobs passed away, it nearly broke the Internet. Few CEOs have inspired both such accolades and such diatribes. He was clearly a corporate dictator; the argument is mostly whether or not he was a benign one. He’s been acknowledged as a dick since the 80s, but on the other hand, he had extremely high standards and ideas that he rigorously applied to Apple and its product line, which in turn has made Apple the largest company on the planet.
I didn’t know the man, but I’m going to miss the Stevenotes. Even Apple haters have to admit that he was a showman par excellence. I know it was all scripted, but I don’t really think he had to fake his enthusiasm when he whipped out whatever cool new product he was launching. The fabled RDF was probably made up of a lot of enthusiasm. I’ve been an Apple user and fan for about 15 years now. I’m not among the crazy ones looking for converts, but very simply put, it works for me. I have an iMac, an iPad and an iPhone. As a designer, I appeciate how Apple stuff looks and feels better, smoother. I know – your mileage may vary. I don’t really care.
We had an Apple II way back in the day, but my first Apple box proper was one of the blueberry iMacs – I got it in my sophomore year of college. I miss those machines. Before the iLine, nearly all computers came in that same light beige. But the iMacs were so different – they were fun. And OS X felt like the future. I still think the iMacs and iBooks looked wonderful, and I miss their sense of jollity in the ever-expanding forest of minimalist, brushed aluminum products.
I wish Apple’s products weren’t made in deplorable conditions in China. But I own a lot of non-Apple stuff that was made under equally deplorable conditions in China too. There are a couple of ways of changing that, but they involve the sort of sacrifice that a society based on rampant consumerism can’t really afford to make, or at least isn’t prepared to, because we’re told that Dancing With The Stars has to be experienced in High Definition. (Not that I’m qualified to make grand statements about this sort of thing.)
So was he a visionary or a huckster? Probably both. Either way, he changed the course of consumer technology, so thanks for that, Steve.