Legacy: Steve Jobs put the personal in computing

Summary:The greatest legacy left by Steve Jobs is putting the personal in computing. The Apple devoted customer base understands this better than anyone.

While the world reflects on the legacy left behind by the passing of Steve Jobs, nowhere is it more evident in the evolution of personal computing. While this originally just encompassed the Mac, Jobs foresaw it would cross over into every aspect of computing with the growth of the mobile industry. His unwavering mission to make every Apple product resonate on a personal level with buyers put the personal in computing.

See also: Thank you Steve Jobs

The famous Macintosh ad that launched this personal computing mission of Jobs laid the foundation of what Apple was going to do. It took it straight to IBM and the "Personal Computer" by calling on consumers to cast away the shackles of the me too crowd and stand apart. The message was clear that the Mac was a world apart, and not just another computer. It was a personal computer of the truest kind.

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The personal user experience of the original iPod is what made it the best-selling gadget of its time. It wasn't the first music player, and it wasn't the best technical achievement of the time. But it made owners feel special when it was used, as it did exactly what they wanted, easily, and in style. The personal computing era continued through the growing dominance of the entire iPod line. The iPod made people feel good using it.

This really took off with the introduction of the iPhone. The line between phones and computers became blurry, as consumers flocked to the iPhone. It looked good, felt good, and did exactly what Jobs understood that owners wanted it to do. Users quickly felt that the iPhone was a part of everyday life, and in a very personal way.

Jobs wasn't sitting on the iPod and the iPhone successes, he was growing the main Mac product line to fit his vision. Through iconic design and software engineering, Apple evolved the Mac to be the most personal computers ever. They feel personal while used, and make owners feel good. The personal computer has finally come to fruition thanks to Jobs' vision.

The iPad was the combination of the personal nature of the iPhone and the MacBook line. It was the most personal product from Apple yet, as quickly became apparent to most everyone who picked one up. It felt right to use, it did what Jobs knew people wanted to do, and new buyers soon understood how personal computing could be. Jobs had finally bridged the gap for tens of millions of customers who quickly realized that computing could indeed be very personal, and that was a great thing.

The lesson of putting the customer first is the biggest legacy Steve Jobs has left for Apple. The zealous fan base for Apple products is not just because of the stylish design, nor is it because of some sort of brainwashing that some would have you believe. No, Apple customers are so devoted because of the personal nature of its products. The products quickly become an important part of customers' lives because they do what they want, where they want, and make them feel good while doing it. That is the very definition of personal computing.

Topics: Hardware, Apple

About

James Kendrick has been using mobile devices since they weighed 30 pounds, and has been sharing his insights on mobile technology for almost that long. Prior to joining ZDNet, James was the Founding Editor of jkOnTheRun, a CNET Top 100 Tech Blog that was acquired by GigaOM in 2008 and is now part of that prestigious tech network. James' w... Full Bio

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