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Everywhere You Look, Steve Jobs Touched That

Steve Jobs at the WWDC 07

Critics be silent...for now.

I am a Realtor professionally, but as you probably can already tell, I am an Apple fan. When Steve Jobs retired from Apple a month ago, I wrote about him and the impact he had on me. Well now he's gone. The tributes are everywhere and unfortunately so are the criticisms. For now, let the critics be silent. I have some more to say.

I have been using computers since the card punch days. I learned to program in Fortran back then and 'liked' it so much I never did it again. It was amazing to be able to make lines of symbols print out a circle and all, but I wasn't interested in that aspect of computering. When Apple developed a computer that didn't require typing commands, I was hooked. What was then called the graphical user interface (GUI),  turned into what we see on all our computers. Steve Jobs did that.

That was the beginning of his quest to design products with the user in mind. He wanted our experience with computers to be friendly, to be easy, to be intuitive. That's what Apple products have always been, and still are today.

But Apple didn't invent that...

Steve didn't invent the mouse, but he turned it into a must have accessory which hundreds of companies copied or built themselves. He didn't invent the all-in-one computer, but he made one that started the obsession with all-in-one's. He didn't invent the smartphone, but he made one that had one button and a touch screen, which is now the industry standard. He didn't invent the tablet computer, but made one that has sent every other tablet to the recycling bin. He didn't invent the personal music player, but made one that could hold thousands of songs and fit in your pocket. He didn't invent animated movies, but at Pixar, he showed what was possible and even Disney was left to play catch up. In short, Steve set many of the standards for products we use today.

Do you see a fan base of people lining up to buy the newest thing from Android, or Microsoft, or Blackberry? Is the press overcome by reports or rumors of what's coming out next in any other industry, anywhere? When you walk down the street do you see large numbers of people with headphones in their ears, many of them white? Ten years ago it was rare for anyone to wear headphones in public, or have a personal phone they carried with them.

Do you know anyone who loves their PC? I can give you a long list of people who love their Macs. How come? My brother, (a consumate PC tinkerer) would say it is a personal problem, but I say it is because Steve Jobs knew what most people want. They want to use their computers (or phones) and not have to figure out on their own how everything works. People spend less time tinkering and more time doing.

iPads are for everyone.

He was also committed to getting Macs into schools. Why should school IT departments and students spend large amounts of time learning and tweeking hardware and software when they could simply provide computers that would allow students to get to work and create. Both Maine and New Hampshire have seen the logic in this idea.

When I see videos of a two year old using an iPad as a learning tool and a 99 year old woman rediscovering her ability to read, I understand that what Steve set out to do, he accomplished. He made technology accessible to the masses. The two year old will never know a world without an iPad and the 99 year old who never used computers has learned how to use a one to be able to read again.

What's important to see here is that a man with a vision, who was called crazy, among other things, has changed the world as we know it. He not only gave us gadgets, but he also raised the bar for what we expect in the future, both from ourselves and from those that build things. Stay crazy and stay foolish and the world will be a better place. Thank you Steve, I'll miss you.


This article submitted by Steve Overton, Keller Williams GMP

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