My good friend Tom introduced me to Apple, properly. My brother, Martin, had been using Macs for quite a while but I didn’t quite get that. It was only when Tom sat me down and discussed the appreciation he had for the stunning service, the product architecture, the seamless integration of hardware and software — and the, “it just works!” mentality — that’s when I thought I’d take a look.
I spent quite a bit of time dithering. Until I arrived home from the cinema one evening to discover that my super-dooper hugely expensive PC had somehow forgotten it’s wireless drivers. Or something. Basically, it wouldn’t connect to the internet. And, in typical fashion, I had a TON to do that evening online. After 2 hours of fiddling I ended up carting the machine downstairs so I could connect it physically to the ethernet cable and get some work done. I finally finished my work at about 3am. I went to bed resolving to rid myself of this shit.
I bought a Mac Pro tower the next morning.
I like the fact that with Macs, everything is generally binary. It either works, brilliantly. Or it’s screwed. And that’s what you need the Apple Store for.
I won’t go into the whole isn’t Apple brilliant thing. Suffice to say that I’ve spent a lot of money on their products and services over the years and I’ve enjoyed the experience immensely.
The iPod and it’s effect upon the music industry was exciting. The engineering on the original MacBook Air was a wonder to behold. But the iPhone? It changed everything. (That’s precisely what I wrote at the time.)
Over the years I think many of us grew accustomed to the annual (or sometimes half-yearly, if we were lucky) keynotes from Steve Jobs. His turn of phrase, his clear passion and vision for how things should be, no wonder he and the company garnered millions upon millions of fans.
I only wish the fastidiousness and attention to detail that Steve applied to his work was duplicated by other senior executives across the technology space. It’s patently clear to see that the overwhelming majority are pushing pencils and paper around desks. I used to marvel at the stories that would come out of Apple’s HQ about how Steve behaved, about how he pushed his teams to seriously innovate, to think different — and to bring it all together into a coherent, compelling consumer offering that just worked.
There are a number of exceptions but I think it’s more or less fair to say that when you hear the term “Consumerisation of IT” what folk really mean is ‘Apple’ in all its guises whether it’s laptop, desktop, phone, tablet or service.
I’m hugely saddened that Steve’s no longer with us. The planet is poorer for it. The technology industry is poorer for it. However, as many have commented, his legacy lives on. And what a phenomenal legacy it is. I hope they do keep this in mind at Apple and keep implementing the Jobsian rigour throughout their operations. I’m sure they will.
Finally, if you haven’t already seen Steve’s Stanford University Commencement Address, I do recommend you take some time to watch it: