While I’ve never been a huge fan of then new products that have come out of the gates of Apple in recent years, I have always held a special place for the earlier products. The Apple Macintosh Plus, the SE/30, Pismo, Lombard, Powerbook 145. All of these machines I have either used or owned as some point in my life.
I’m no expert on Steve Jobs, if you want to learn about the man behind Apple, I’d highly recommend Wikipedia.
Back in the mid 70’s computers where large, noisey machines, that took ages to operate and if you got your coding wrong, it could cost you hours of work. In 1976, Steve Job, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne founded Apple Computers, inc. Selling kits for the Apple I and later the rather successful Apple II.
Many people will remember Apple and Jobs for the Macintosh, the famous 1985 Super Bowl commercial would cermented the tiny personal computer in minds of many of those who saw it.
The Macintosh was the first personal computer to feature a mouse and graphic user interface as opposed to the command line interface being used by IBM and other micro computers at the time. Surprisingly the Macintosh did not sell as well one might expect. The new GUI caused headaches for companies with existing software designed for command line interfaces. Resulting in many software houses not warming to the new platform initially. While the Macintosh had a strong following of fans and enthusiast, there where those who branded it a toy. Indeed this label would effect how the machine sold commercially in the business sector. While Jobs disliked IBM for their East Coast ethos, the fact remained that the IBM brand held a lot of weight in the business industry. The Macintosh and it’s fruit branded company, where generally disregarded as professional work machines. An image Apple would struggle with for many years.
Some people argue that Jobs was no visionary, while others bless the ground he walked on. Personally, I can’t help but respect a man who has achieved so much. When Jobs returned to Apple in the early 90’s after being fired, he returned to a sinking ship, Apple had lost direction and was leaking cash. Thanks to Jobs and the work he has done with his company NeXT, he turned the company around. In 1998 he introduced the Imac, a clean, smart looking computer that harken back to the original Macintosh. The legacy-free Imac was the first Apple machine to come with USB and no floppy drive. The slot loading computer was purposely aimed for the consumer. Even the I in Imac, which stood for internet. While the early models suffered from the slow speed of USB 1.0 and a lack of an internal CD writer. The machine sold well and placed Apple back in the game. The colourful candy cane transgluescent case design would later be used with the G3 Powermac and Ibook. This iconic look would go on to sell Apple millions of machines. Jobs had hit upon a hole in the market, in a word, asthetics. Turning the personal computer from the beige appliance we where all used to and in to something that was pleasent enough to have in the living room.
I recall the days of the clam shell ibook, every teenager wanted one. The colourful design and choice of colours gave a degree of individuality to one’s ownership. Today it’s not uncommon to find most manufacturers offering their laptops, netbooks, tablets in a variety of colours or cases. A principle brought about by Apple all those years ago with the humble Imac. Steve Jobs had an uncanny knack for knowing what the consumer wanted, even if they didn’t know themselves. I admire that greatly. If it where not for him, I’d not have a generic Android tablet, which was brought about by the boom of the Ipad. Again another market that HAD been touched on by other companies, but with awkwar and heavy XP/WinCE driven devices.
It seems only fitting, to end this blog on a high note, by watching Steve do what he did best.