We all heard last night of the passing of Steve Jobs. But rather than going over his life I would like to here discuss some of the Apple products I have used over my life and how they affected our family.
I don’t know why but I never got an Apple II. In fact the first time I saw one in use was in the early 80’s. But it certainly looked nifty.
But I was struck with love at first sight when I saw the Lisa, a progenitor of the Mac. I was at a computer conference in the area which had a number of products on display but when I saw the Lisa I couldn’t see anything else. It had a 3.5″ floppy drive which was encased in hard plastic, hardly ever considered a floppy anymore. But the real striking aspect was its screen, a white background, bit mapped screen that sported great black and white graphics.
At the time, I was using IBM 3270 terminals which had green lettering on a dark screen and the only graphics were ones made with rows and columns of asterisks. To see the graphics pop to life on the Lisa, different font options, what you see is what you get was just extraordinary at the time. The only downside was its $10K price. Sadly we didn’t buy one of these either.
Then the 1984 commercial came out in the superbowl spot. The one where Apple was going to free the computing world from the oppression of big brother with the introduction of the first Macintosh computer.
We got our hands on one soon after and my wife used it for her small accounting business and just loved it. Over time as she took on partners their office migrated to business applications that were more suited for PCs but she stayed on the Mac long after it was sub-optimal, just because it was easy to use.
Ultimately, she moved to a PC taking her Fat Mac home to be used there instead. Over the next decade or so we updated the Mac to a color screen and a desktop configuration but didn’t really do much with it other than home stuff.
Then the iMac’s came out. We latched onto the half basketball one which had a screen protruding out of it. We used this for some video and photo editing and just loved it. Video upload and editing took forever but there was nothing else out there that could even come close.
I ended up using this machine the first few years after I left corporate America but also bought a Mac lap top, encased in aluminum for my business trips. Both these ran PowerPC microprocessor but eventually ran an early generation of Mac OSX.
A couple of years later we moved on to the all-in-one, Intel based, desktop iMac’s and over time updated to bigger screens, faster processing and more storage. We are still on iMac desktops for home and office use today.
In 2008 we moved from a dumb cell phone to a smart iPhone 3G. We wanted to wait until the world phone came out which supported GSM.
But this was another paradigm shift for me. When working in the corporate world I had a blackberry and could use it for contacts, email, and calendar but seldom did anything else on it. And in fact, at the time I used a PalmPilot for a number of business applications, games, and other computing needs.
When the iPhone3G came out, both the PalmPilot and dumb cell phone were retired and we went completely Apple for all our cell phone needs. Today, I probably scan email, tweet, and do a number of other applications on my iPhone almost as often as I do them on the iMac. Over time we moved one or the other of us to the 3Gs and 4 and now the children are starting to get hand me down iPhones and love them just as well.
Then in May of 2010, we bought an iPad. This was a corporate purchase but everyone used it. I tried to use it to replace my laptop a number of times (see my posts To iPad or Not to iPad parts 1, 2, 3 & 4) and ultimately concluded it wouldn’t work for me. We then went out and got a Mac Airbook and now the iPad is mainly used to check email do some light editing as well as gaiming, media and other light computing activities.
The fact is, sitting on our living room couch, checking email, twitter and taking noteshas made using all these tools that much easier. When we saw the iPad2 we liked what we saw but it took so long for it to become available in the stores that we had lost all gadget lust and are now waiting to see what the next generation looks like when it comes out.
All in all almost 30 years with Apple products both in the home and at work have made me a lifelong advocate.
I never worked for Apple but have heard that most of these products were driven single-mindly by Steve Jobs. If that was the case, I would have to say that Steve Jobs was a singular technical visionary, that understood what was then possible and took the steps needed to make it happen. In doing that, he changed computing forever and for that I salute him.
Steve Jobs RIP