I seen my very first computer while in college in the late 1970’s, it was the size of a Volvo and just as stout and square. Shortly after that, much more manageable desktop computer models became available, such as the Commodore 64 and the Apple II. These became available for consumer consumption. Coming from a small town to the big city, it really was the first time that I even heard of the term “computer” as a mechanical box and immediately became hooked.
I found them fascinating, my first exposure to the smaller portable computer was the dawn of the Personal Computer era. Who knew that this little odd looking box with a TV screen would completely revolutionize technology.
The movement and fascination that this small machine created, which was a way of simplifying human tasks, was led by a man named Steve Jobs. He had a goal in his life, and that was taking technology and making it as affordable, accessible and personal as possible. Like the vacuum cleaner or the transistor radio, he envision that a PC would be in every household.
It’s almost tempting to say it was that point in time, I knew I’d be working with this computer box, on and off, for the better part of my life. But college to me and for most others, unlike for Steve Jobs himself, the vision of this type of achievement wasn’t as brilliantly creative as his was.
In fact, even if that idea ever occurred to me, it may of seemed a little preposterous back then. A world where absolutely everyone would be using this little computer machine? A world where people would be able to earn a living just writing about others who are using computers? A world where “Star Trek” grade futuristic gadgets and gizmos were common place. Thanks to him, the world that we live in now is far removed from The Flintstone’s and much closer to The Jetson’s.
And then here we are. Not only is the personal computer along with their offspring’s ubiquitous, being a common staple inside every classroom, the office, the home, and now inside our pockets. You can no longer imagine a life without them.
Like him or not, this is the biggest legacy which will be left by Mr Steve Jobs. Not because this pioneer envisioned, invented and marketed it to perfection, but because he got out of his basement and actually did it, he took action. He displayed the persistence as well as the discipline to bring his Apple products to the common people and not just the techno geeks.
There’s absolutely no way that you can overstate what type of accomplishment that was. Steve Jobs was able to humanized not just the entire computer industry, but then he went after one tech industry after another.
Steve Jobs made contributions to:
• The personal computer
• Media players
• Computer based animation CGI
• Distribution of media and software
• Mobile smartphones
• Tablet PC computing
These are just his direct influences. During the past two and a half decades, he has managed to get industry upon industry to firmly adopted his vision.
Apple’s basic focus on visual design as well as human based technology interaction, their influence on tech has become so pervasive that we’re now taking them for granted.
Similarly, for those from my generation, who may have any type of objective perspective on the influence of Steve Jobs, as well as his legacy, we’re just simply too close. We all lived alongside him. We celebrated as well as benefited from all his successes, along with experiencing his seldom failures.
We also heard or read about his character flaws. He became one of the very first celebrities to come out of the technology world, a man who had a personality, and the road that he paved made for a compelling story. We do not have to read up on his biography, although most undoubtedly will, because most of us followed his life and how it progressed with ours.
Consider this; If you’re someone who came of age in the early 1980s, then you mostly likely can’t remember anything such as a classroom that didn’t have one of his various creations in it. If you’re in your mid 30’s or younger, you’ve lived in a world where Steve Jobs was an American icon.
If you’re in your 20’s, then the chances are pretty good that your home, your work or school, or you personally own or used several of his tech offerings on any given day, this as long as you can remember.
If you’re reading this, take a quick peek around and you’ll most likely reveal a few of his objects, whether tech or not, which was influenced by Steve Jobs. This includes the companies which he guided, as well as the thousands of people that flourished under him.
If you happen to have young children, they will grow up in a tech world which is completely influenced by Steve Jobs. They will use Apple products way before they’ll even watch TV. To them a phone is an “iPhone,” they know you can store music on an iPod, and the home computer is an iPad. They will never know what a GameBoy is, but they’ll use an iPod touch. It won’t amaze them whatsoever, they’ll just expect it.
You can just tap or touch a screen a few times and instantly have their favorite song or TV show play wherever they are. Why this is happening wirelessly and instantly won’t even cross their minds, it just is.
It’s everyday life to them to be able to take a photo or record a video on a phone, which can then instantly appear on a screen, and they don’t understand or care why or how or who came up with it.
Remember when we took photos using a “real” camera, it took a week for the lopsided blurry pictures to get developed. It now takes an instant on the iPad. Although they’ll grow up in a world not knowing who Steve Jobs was, he’ll be a big part of their lives on a daily basis much like Henry Ford was to ours.
He’ll continue to be a big part of our existence for a while, so it’s really no exaggeration when some say that he’s this generation’s Thomas Edison or The Beatles.
He was an absolute giant in the world of imagination as well as invention, that rare “once-in-a-lifetime” visionary who not only foreseen and anticipated amazing futuristic things, but he also endeavored and made it possible to make them real and commonplace.
So for all the times he took that stage to talk and announce about the next magical device, Steve Jobs ultimate goal was that those dreams no longer be magical since they had now become normal and real.
His legend extends not to how he was able to save Apple from failing, but perhaps his true legendary genius legacy is how he did it, the process he took. He changed and molded much of our modern world, as well as saving technology from being way too technological and bringing it down to earth for us to consume.