It is fitting that I first learned of Steve Jobs’ death while reading on my iPad. A “Breaking News” alert popped up on my screen. As I reflect on the impact of his life on Global Business, Technology, and Culture, I am truly left without words.
I remember when the first Macintosh computer was introduced in 1984. I was a student at Arizona State University, and the Apple folks setup a display in the Memorial Union with a few Macs available for students to try. The Mac was appealing, but it quickly gained a reputation as a toy compared to the true business machines, the IBM PC running MS-DOS. My only brushes with a Mac over the next two decades would be brief. It was always the “art” guys who seemed to gravitate towards the Mac. The rest of us clung to our PCs, first with Windows 3, then Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, and finally Windows 7.
It wasn’t until 2009 that I finally gave in to common sense and moved into the Mac world. The killer feature that made this possible for me was the move to Intel machines that could double boot into either Mac OS X or Windows. This allowed me to make the transition slowly. Today, in 2011, I am writing this article on my Mac using beautifully crafted Mac software and an operating system that just works.
I think the final A-ha moment for me was in April 2010 when I stood in line to purchase my iPad. For years I had followed from a distance the tablet PC niche within the Windows World. I had always longed for a tablet PC, but the cost was so prohibitive for a computer that seemed underpowered, too heavy to carry around, and had a battery life of two or three hours. Still, tablet PCs were “it” for me.
Then I purchased an iPad, and I saw clearly for the first time the stupidity of tablet PCs.
Jobs and Apple had created a completely new device that did everything the tablet PCs could not. It was light. It was attractive. It had a long battery life. It made sense. That’s the thing I finally realized about tablet PCs. They didn’t make sense. Why try to take a keyboard/mouse-centric operating system like windows and port it onto a tablet? It simply doesn’t make sense. The iPad, on the other hand, made perfect sense. This is when I became an Apple fanboy.