As I was leaving work -- a retail store that specializes in Apple computer products -- just a day after the release of the newest iPhone, I heard that Steve Jobs passed away. At first I did not believe it, I didn't think it would be so soon after he resigned from his position as CEO of Apple that the inevitable would occur. After the shock receded, I began to reflect on what Steve Jobs and Apple meant to me.
Every day, Americans are inundated with products, from the food we eat, to the chairs we sit on. Everything is marketed in some way, but there are few times that any of these products have a true impact on our lives.
I remember my first iPod, which was developed around the time that other MP3 players were on the market. Other MP3 players were difficult to use and made no sense, so when the iPod was released I remember being amazed because it was the product that everyone wanted but which no one could articulate.
But the iPod went beyond just an MP3 player; it fundamentally changed the way we use music. Through iTunes, music became more accessible; we could now download and store thousands of songs in the palm of our hand. Soon the iPod became a cultural phenomenon.
My love for Apple started with the iPod, but it soon transitioned to Apple computers. Like many people, my first experience with technology was one of frustration and confusion. The computer I brought to college took 20 minutes to start up and almost never completed a task without crashing.
College, for me, began in 2006, and around this time I noticed that many of my classmates were using small, white computers. My first experience with these computers, which I later learned were MacBooks, was when I was in desperation to register for classes. I used one of my dorm resident's MacBooks, and after registering in less than a couple of seconds with no problem, my first feeling was amazement, and the thought, "I didn't know this could be that easy." After that experience, I fell in love with all things Apple.
It was through the iPhone and iPad though that I truly saw how Apple products could change lives. For me, the iPhone does everything. I can store all my music, books, class notes, photographs and video. I can take still photos and video and use all kinds of apps. After two years of owning the iPhone, I still discover new things about it and new things about the world through the accessibility it gives me.
At my workplace, I have seen people who have never even used a computer, or have been scared of technology, pick up an iPad. Their world is changed. They will come back time and time again to show me how they have been able to organize all their pictures from years back or to demonstrate an app they have discovered and loved. Or perhaps for the first time they have been able to email or Skype their grandchildren who live far away.
Steve Jobs was responsible for changing technology from something foreign to something accessible to the average person. He gave everyone a chance to impact the world through technology. Steve Jobs is one of the few true innovators we will ever know, not just creating a product, but creating a culture.
Email Corin Harpe at firstname.lastname@example.org.