What is it about the simple apple that causes such interest and intrigue? Perhaps it's because that when we think of Adam and Eve, we think of an apple and the fate sealed for all mankind because of its taste. People bury apples around October 31st as food for the recently departed. The Beatles had Apple Records. Everyone compares apples and oranges. Israel is the apple of God's eye. And, Apple Computer. That's the one we're interested in at this moment in time.
As you no doubt know, Steve Jobs has passed away from this world into the next. October 5, 2011.
While every other technical pundit writes his or her own obituary for Steve, no doubt touting his accomplishments, exalting his visions and extolling his intellect; I'm going to tell you a different story--a story of the Apple and Steve Jobs that I observed over the years.
Hopefully, he would appreciate this, his most unlikely obituary.
Steve Jobs was an entrepreneur. He had smart friends. He was very clever. I envied him greatly. I envied him because he did something that I wanted to do: create computers. He created the computer equivalent of the Volkswagen. His computer wasn't a black box. It was more toy than tool but it could do real work.
Not only was I envious of him but I think I actually hated him a little. I wanted a Mac but I couldn't afford one. I watched other people use one to draw things, to create cool documents, to layout newspaper pages, to play games and to control their garage doors and lights. By the time I could afford to purchase a Mac "classic," it was too late. The little Mac that could--could no longer. It was cute but useless.
Fast forward to the NeXT machine. The black box of awesome UNIXness. I loved NeXT machines. They were cool, they were black and they were UNIX without the DOS-like command line staring back with that incessant 'blink blink blink' that just about made my first computer become airborne.
Fast forward again to the days of the business Mac. I supported Macs in my consulting business but still never was able to own one. I couldn't wait to go to certain client's offices to play with their one-button mice, their huge screens and all of the toys that worked only with the Mac. How I longed for my very own Apple slice.
Present day: My wife ordered me an iPad for Father's Day 2010. It was a 32GB model with 3G. I didn't allow her to pick it up because I thought it was too expensive and I couldn't justify spending that kind of money on just me, when $800 would clothe all three of my kids for an entire school year.
At Christmas 2010, the subject came up again and I wanted it. I got it. March 2011, Apple came out with its iPad 2. The regular iPad dropped significantly in price.
For my birthday this year, I got an iPhone 4. That was August. Yesterday, Apple announced its iPhone 4S. Apple announced a significant price drop on all previous iPhone products.
I won't buy an iPad 2 and I won't buy an iPhone 4S. Not because I don't want them but because I know that as soon as I do, the price will go down by $100.
I'm looking forward to the iPhone 5 and the iPad 3. Both of which I'll probably purchase very close to the release dates.
Steve Jobs made me want a Mac. He made me want to steal a NeXT machine. He made me lust after an iPod. He made me drool over the iPad. He made me throw good sense to the wind and buy a $200 iPhone 4 plus pay AT&T $100 per month for the privilege of using it.
Steve Jobs made me want these things.
I didn't want them because he was a great visionary. I didn't want them because he was a great designer. I didn't want them because he rescued Apple from the brink of obliteration.
I wanted them because Steve Jobs had them.
I knew darn well that Steve used a Mac. He used an iPod. He tapped away on an iPad. He talked and texted on an iPhone. He actually used the stuff that he wanted me to use. Knowing that I could have the same phone, tablet computer or desktop computer, made me want one even more.
Now that he's gone, I'm not sure that Apple will have the same appeal (no pun intended) as it did when he was alive. Steve Jobs was Apple. He was the incarnation of Apple. He was its face, its soul and its heart.
I don't think I'll ever desire any Apple product as much now. I don't think I'll "need" any of their trinkets as much as I once did. I'll never covet another Apple gadget the way I did when I saw him with one. Steve put the value in Apple.
Apple will live on as corporations do. I think, though, that Apple will never be the great company it was when Steve was at the helm.
Today is the day that Apple died.
Rest in peace, Steve, and may you find a few oranges along your new path.