I was certainly saddened yesterday when I saw on CNN that Steve Jobs had passed away. I have been an Apple/Mac user since my dad brought home our first computer, an Apple II+ back in the early 1980s. Since then, nearly every project I’ve ever done has been done using Apple computers of some flavor. From my high school essays and science projects to my doctoral dissertation, Apple’s products helped me along the way. Every one of my eBooks was produced on a Mac, and every one of my images was processed on one.
This is not to say that I couldn’t have accomplished these things without a Mac. Of course I could have. But what would the user experience be like without a company like Apple continuously pushing the boundaries? Would we still be using command-line word processors? In 1989, when I was a freshman at UCLA, friends of mine would mock my 8″ black and white screen (they had 8-bit color PCs)… until I printed my papers and lab reports. Using fonts. During the “dark times” for Apple (in the late 1990s, before the iMac and iPod changed the game), people would ask me why I was willing to use my Macs and, more importantly, pay more for them. To me, it was simple. Apple designed a computer and OS that placed the user in the center of its world. When I booted up my Mac, it felt like “what do you need to get done today, boss? Ok, then, I’ll fire up Photoshop and get out of your way.”
My three-year old son learned iOS in about two days… when he was two. If that’s not a testament to Steve’s legacy for intuitive design, then I don’t know what is.
We may never see a creative genius like this again in our lifetimes. I can only hope that Steve’s legacy is one of providing people like me with the tools to be 1% as creative as he was.