Thursday 6 October 2011

Rest in peace, Steve Jobs

The first thing discussed at work today was, of course, the death of Steve Jobs, aged only 56. The news was not entirely unexpected - his retirement from apple earlier this year made many people suspect this day was coming - but few people expected this to happen so soon.

When you're a advocate of Microsoft/Apple/Linux, it's tempting to do nothing but pick faults with the two competitors. I have had a go at Apple for their patent lawsuits against Android smartphones. But that should not distract us from what Apple has achieved under his leadership. Technology is not just about creating something new - anyone, for instance, could have created a miniaturised computer capable of playing MP3 files - it's also about recognising what people want. There is no shortage of inventions out there that failed to take off simply because people saw no point in switching from what they were using before. But Steve Jobs had an extraordinary talent for identifying what will grab people's interest, how to sell these ideas to the public.

In the years when the world subscribed to all things Microsoft, Apple kept a niche with the iMac: tightly integrated software and hardware, praised for its reliability, and still the number one choice for artists and graphic designers. With the iPod, iPhone and iPad, Apple pioneered products that were previously unheard of to the everyday public. Google's Android has since taken a significant chunk of the smartphone and tablet market, and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 can't be dismissed just yet, but no-one can take the title from Jobs as the man who introduced these products in the first place.

We will never know what future innovations Jobs may have brought to Apple, but one thing is certain: the loss of Steve Jobs yesterday is a huge loss to both Apple and the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment