With Steve passing, my RSS reader and twitter stream filled up with stories of how Steve (or a product created under Steve) had made life better. Or that he inspired, and challenged people in their lives to do something big. To do something more interesting, to strive for great – or insanely great. I’ve been an Apple owner for some time, and owe most of my career to Apple’s products. Not that I couldn’t do great things on a PC, but something about the Mac – creating great things just comes naturally on something that is itself great.
Before going into my own Apple story – I wanted to mention my favorite Steve story. I’ve read books, blogs, news stories, but this is the one that stuck:
I had this idea about having a glass display, a multitouch display you could type on. I asked our people about it. And six months later they came back with this amazing display. And I gave it to one of our really brilliant UI guys. He then got inertial scrolling working and some other things, and I thought, ‘my god, we can build a phone with this’ and we put the tablet aside, and we went to work on the phone.
Another article puts it:
Apple’s multitouch technology began life not as a cellphone, but as a notepad-sized skunkworks project internally dubbed Safari Pad, run by Tim Bucher, then Apple’s head of Macintosh hardware. To his credit, Mr. Jobs seized on the technology and morphed it into the iPhone.
It’s the ‘my god, we can build a phone with this’ part – that he saw something no one else did. He had the vision see how all the pieces fit together in a new way, in a way that finally took his company from his garage to the largest company in the world.
These are the types of people I admire most. People who can see how things connect in a way that no one else can, and what I strive for in my work.
This one observation – that what he had was a phone – has jumpstarted a mobile revolution that has grown countless companies, developers, designer, and startups – to join in on what may be the biggest change we see in our lifetimes.
Steve was a great American inventor, salesman, designer, innovator… I could go on. He brought Design to the front, and not a meeting goes by where the non-designers in the room don’t invoke Apple’s design as something to strive for, making my job a little easier.
Now back to my fanboy story…
I was digging through some old photos – while I used Apple computers throughout school, my modern usage came about during Design school in 2000. Where after using some brand new G4 Macs in class, I went and purchased a G4 350 – the cheapest desktop at the time.
I was at the Plano, TX Apple Store opening in 2001 – 3rd in the states – where @schubox and myself were videotaping and interviewing people in line:
I was around for the second DFW area store opening a couple years later, in Dallas:
From that early G4 tower, I bought a G4 500 Dual Processor tower, and a Powerbook G3 to accompany – moving up to a G4 17 (which I used at BrightCorner when they wouldn’t buy anyone a Mac!) – and then getting the very first intel iMac (sooo fast!) when they were released in 2006. Throw in the very first iPod, a newton I got at a garage sale, an Apple TV, and of course the iPhone.
I’m writing this on my MacBook Air, getting my internet from my Airport Extreme – and my iPhone 4 is right here next to me. You could say I’m a fanboy, or maybe I just enjoy products that think a little differently. Thanks Steve.