Apple released a statement on Wednesday, October 5th stating that Steve Jobs had passed away. The Apple homepage is devoid of advertisements, in spite of the recent iPhone 4s announcement.
I got my first Mac in 1987. That Mac Plus is sitting in my garage right now. If I had the System 7 disks, it would boot up, but the screen is shot. I have every other Mac I've ever owned (even a few I've rescued from others.) That little Mac Plus lasted through high school, follwed me to college (where I maxed out the RAM at 4MB, bought an 80MB external hard drive, played endless hours of Tetris, and created fake IDs for myself and my friends,) and continued to serve me well into my life in Portland. It was around 1999 that the little 9" screen finally gave out.
That little Mac defined my entrance into the world of computing. It spoiled me. When I was finally forced to use Windows 95 for work, (graphic design work, even,) I wondered why anyone would choose to use a PC over a Mac. When my Mac Plus died, I found out. I was working for $8.50 an hour, and I couldn't afford to buy another Mac. I became an imposter in the PC world, and built my own AMD system in '99.
When MP3 players became popular, I bought a Creative Jukebox. I scoffed at the iPod until I actually had a chance to try one. I had assumed all MP3 players were essentially the same, but the iPod was more intuitive, and actually sounded better. Bought my first iPod shortly after that. That iPod purchase marked the beginning of my return to Apple. I picked up a Mac Mini in 2005, and slowly but surely spent more time on it than I did on my PC. I was still at a job that required me to use a PC, but I was able to convince them that editing video on a Mac made more sense. In the years that followed, many more iPods were purchased, along with another Mac Mini, a MacBook, MacBook Pro, Airport base station and Express, an Apple TV, a couple iPhones and an iPad (purchased the day the 1st generation iPads were released.)
Tonight I find myself thinking back to 1987 and that Mac Plus. It's strange to think that a piece of technology is capable of shaping a life, but my love for design and technology began with that old Mac and copies of MacPaint and ClarisWorks and HyperCard.
"Think Different" they said… Steve Jobs did. Apple's business model was different in that they controlled the entire experience; hardware and software were perfectly combined to create the ultimate user experience. Your ideas were evolutionary, sir, and you will be missed.
If you'd like to share your thoughts about Steve Jobs, Apple has set up an email address.