I’m well into my reading of Walter Isaacson’s definitive biography of Jobs, and I can confidently say that it is by far the most comprehensive look at his life ever written. So many interviews and so much research went into the crafting of Isaacson’s narrative that I doubt anyone will ever cover Steve’s life more completely.
But if you’d prefer a shorter option, read this eulogy. Steve’s biological sister, the novelist Mona Simpson, packs more emotion and beauty into those 3 pages than Isaacson does in 656, albeit without the plethora of historical information. It’s a heartbreaking look into the mind of her brother, told in the way only a close relative can. It’s fortunate in this case that the relative also has a talent for creative writing that would make her brother proud. Do not miss the last words.
Today is the 10th anniversary of the most iconic music player on the planet, and the product that saved Apple in 2001. Widely derided at the time (aren’t all Apple products?), it went on to change how we listened, bought, and thought about music. Here’s how it changed me.
I still remember the elation I felt when I bought my first iPod in 2005. After two years of saving, I amassed enough to purchase an iPod, I’d never really spent time in an Apple store before, and I was dazzled by the sleek displays and magical atmosphere. I was trying to decide between getting a newly-released nano or the classic iPod with color display. The salesperson hinted that if I waited a bit, there might be a new design, but I didn’t want to wait. It was my birthday, and I purchased a classic anyways. As it turned out, the video iPod was released only 3 weeks later, but I opted to stick with my chubby yet iconic 4g. I preferred the look of the smaller screen and the way the thicker body fit in my hand. I’ve never regretted keeping my “outdated” model, and to this day it’s displayed proudly in my apartment. I even use it sometimes when nostalgia strikes or I want to focus on work without all the distractions of an iOS device.
After high school graduation my dad bought me a video iPod (the famously fail-prone 4g was limping along by then) and I tried hard to get used to the new design. But try as a I might, I never fell for it in quite the same way. I still prefer my original 4g to the video model, which sits unused on a shelf. I plan to turn it into a permanent car jukebox someday, for which its large capacity and buttons make it ideal.
Thanks to my inconvenient attachment to the 4g iPod, I ended up paying to get it repaired twice over the next three years, with factory replacement parts and a new case. It still needs to be opened up monthly to reattach the hard drive connectors, but we’ve reached a favorable balance where I can count on it to perform when needed. This tinkering led me to install (and subsequently remove) Rockbox, as well as replacing the default typeface. I’ve always liked the look of Naughty Dog’s Precursor alphabet and the spot-on font by QueenSimia, so I added a few necessary glyphs myself and loaded it on. Now that I’ve removed Rockbox due to its horrendous battery life and labyrinthine design, I can’t edit my fonts anymore. But that’s ok, because I personally love the distinct and eye-catching Precursor typeface.
Loading a custom firmware, replacing broken parts, and changing a default font are hardly advanced maneuvers, but they introduced me to the tinkering world and helped me discover what technology is capable of. Without those customizations and repairs, I probably wouldn’t have the passion for tech that I do today.
I’ve never considered the iOS lineup to be true iPods, but my iPod touch is undoubtedly my most-used possession. After 3 years of updates, several jailbreaks, and a particularly devastating drop onto concrete a few weeks ago, it’s seen better days. But for that time, it’s been an unfailing window to the internet, a fabulous gaming machine, and a personal organizer to keep my life in order. I feel insecure without it in my pocket, and I know more and more people that feel the same way. Music is only a small part of its capabilities, but the iPod touch has expanded the role of the personal media player far beyond anything we could imagine in 2001.
My first major purchase was an iPod, and my next will be an iPhone. That probably represents the shrinking state of the iPod’s market, but the iPod remains the most iconic product of the 21st century, and likely the sole reason Apple turned a profit in the early 2000s. On its 10th birthday, think how different the world might be without “1000 songs in your pocket.”
Samsung really isn’t making this lawsuit any easier for themselves. A judge held up an iPad and a Samsung Galaxy Tab, and asked the Samsung lawyer to tell her which product was which. The lawyer could not. Now that’s just lazy.
There may be problems with the patent system, but company lawyers should at least be able to pick their product out of a lineup.
– Via MacDailyNews
iPhones are cool gadgets, and undoubtedly many people want the latest version. Tech pundits upgrade every year to stay current, as do technophiles the world over.
But regular people just want a phone, and most people I know will get whatever model is free with a contract. While the 4GS is a fantastic new phone, I predict massive sales from the 3GS for this reason alone. A free iPhone is incredibly compelling psychologically, even if it’s 3 years old and doesn’t hold a candle to modern smartphones. It’s still an iPhone running the most current software available. By giving people a free upgrade with a contract, Apple and AT&T stand to sell a ton of these. I honestly can’t imagine a better free phone on the market today, and just saying “free iPhone” will light most people’s eyes up. (I know because I tested it on my girlfriend.)
“Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.
… No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much.”
– Tim Cook, Apple CEO
“Steve took a chance on us and believed in our crazy dream of making computer animated films; the one thing he always said was to simply ‘make it great.’ He is why Pixar turned out the way we did and his strength, integrity and love of life has made us all better people. He will forever be a part of Pixar’s DNA. Our hearts go out to his wife Laurene and their children during this incredibly difficult time.”
– John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer, and Ed Catmull, President, Pixar
“Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives.
The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come.
For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it’s been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.”
– Bill Gates, former CEO and co-founder of Microsoft
“Steve Jobs is a constant reminder to me that one man can change the world. And that he did, several times over.
It is now on us to write the next chapter.
Let’s make it a great one.”
– Ben Brooks, tech writer, The Brooks Review
“Steve Jobs didn’t invent the Mac on his own. He didn’t invent the iPhone or the iPad on his own either. But none of them would have existed if it weren’t for him, and this world would be a smaller, duller, less beautiful place without them.”
– The Macalope, writer at Macworld
“Steve devoted his professional life to giving us (you, me and a billion other people) the most powerful device ever available to an ordinary person. Everything in our world is different because of the device you’re reading this on.
What are we going to do with it?”
– Seth Godin, entrepreneur and author
“I am thankful for Steve’s life and what he accomplished. But I also remember that he was still just a man, like all of us. We continue by seeking to live with intention, by loving those around us, pursuing our dreams, trusting our gut, and remembering that life is fragile.”
– Shawn Blanc, tech writer, shawnblanc.net
“I just feel lucky I had the chance to tell a kind man that I was sorry for being an asshole before it was too late.”
– Brian Lam, Gizmodo writer, on his closure to last year’s iPhone 4 scandal
“You don’t need me to tell you how Steve changed the world. You’ll find a thousand articles on that topic today. If you don’t mind, I’d rather tell you how Steve changed me.
After all of his inventing, leading, pushing and revolutionizing, this may sound simplistic and trite: Steve taught me the importance of doing the right thing.”
– Ken Segall, creator of the “Think Different” campaign
“It’s telling that fans, pundits, bloggers and rivals refer to Mr. Jobs by his first name. Renouned for his low-key behaviour and privacy, not that many people outside of his close circles must have known him too well. A single-word reply in an email was the most contact a lucky few would have with him.
Though we all feel like we knew him a little bit.”
– Terry Lucy, tech podcaster, The Bro Show
“I first met Steve Jobs in the spring of 1977 when I helped the two Steves take a prototype computer out of Woz’s Fiat at a Homebrew Computer Club meeting. In the 34 years that followed I was hired and fired by Steve more than once, our relationship conducted in large part through screaming. “Sometimes I can be an asshole,” he said to me many times, and it was true, but I miss him already.”
– Robert X. Cringely, tech pundit, I, Cringely
“We sat on a bench there, talking about life, our families, and our respective illnesses (I had had a heart attack some years earlier). He lectured me about staying healthy. And then we walked back.
Steve Jobs didn’t die that day, to my everlasting relief. But now he really is gone, much too young, and it is the world’s loss.”
– Walt Mossberg, tech columnist, Wall Street Journal and AllThingsD
“Apple always seemed like a company built to serve the needs of a single customer. But because that one customer was Steve, because he wanted such wonderful, magical, fantastical things – we all wanted those things. And Steve, almost incidentally, changed the world.”
– Walt Mosspuppet, comedic parody of Walt Mossberg
“I didn’t know Steve. I never met him. I never worked for him. I never even got one of his famous one-liner email responses.
But it feels like someone close to me has died. He was so intimately involved in his company and its products (which have become critical parts of my career and hobby life), and he has publicly injected so much vision, personality, and care into our entire industry for so long, that I do feel like I knew him, even though I really didn’t.”
– Marco Arment, tech writer and developer of Tumblr and Instapaper
“Today NASA confirmed the presence of a massive dent, located some 11.5 light years from earth, near a star called Struve 2398.
Through celestial triangulation, it has been determined that the dent was caused by none other than Steve Jobs himself.”
– Stephanie Weehawk, Scoopertino
“People sometimes have goals in life. Steve Jobs exceeded every goal he ever set for himself … He gets a reputation for being a strong leader and for being brash. But to me he was always so kind, such a good friend.”
– Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder
“Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.”
– Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO
“From the earliest days of Google, whenever Larry and I sought inspiration for vision and leadership, we needed to look no farther than Cupertino. Steve, your passion for excellence is felt by anyone who has ever touched an Apple product (including the macbook I am writing this on right now). And I have witnessed it in person the few times we have met.
On behalf of all of us at Google and more broadly in technology, you will be missed very much. My condolences to family, friends, and colleagues at Apple.”
– Sergey Brin, Google co-founder
“Nearly every post I’ve written on this blog, every line of code, and every photo I’ve taken has made its way through the MacBook sitting here on my lap. But more importantly, Jobs inspired a generation of creative professionals to do amazing things with their imaginations. And no matter what kind of computer or mobile device you’re reading this from, I know that’s something all of you out there can relate to.”
– Andrew Becraft, contributor, The Brothers Brick
“We need people in technology with focus and passion who think ahead and see what’s possible, if only the right pieces can be pushed into place and clicked together. He wasn’t the guy at Apple who came up with those ideas, but he was the guy who created an environment that encouraged, even demanded, that kind of thinking, and the guy who would put the full might and authority of an enormous company behind you and your work if he thought you were right.
To adapt a line from “My Favorite Year”: “I need Steve Jobses as big as I can get them.”
– Andy Ihnatko, tech columnist, Chicago Sun-Times
“Steve Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple Computers and the only American in the country who had any clue what the fuck he was doing, died Wednesday at the age of 56.”
“Steve strove for excellence with everything he did at Apple. He made me want to be a better at my craft as a writer. I still strive to be best I can.
Thanks Steve. Goodbye.”
– Jim Dalrymple, tech writer, The Loop
“Steve Jobs invented very little, but he bent the line of history, of the possible. And because he did, I, and virtually everyone I know, now have an example of how the best, the amazing, and, yes, the special, can be wildly successful. He gave us a clear, undeniable example that the best can win over the cheaper.
And for that, I am forever in his debt.”
– Randy Murray, author and publisher, First Today, Then Tomorrow
– @GeniusBarTales, Apple Genius and humorous tweeter
“His way of seeing gave us a desirable path forward, and offered a way to live better with all of this technology. It was a way built on empathy and laced with magic.”
– Frank Chimero, writer and designer
“He had taste.
He was curious.
He was patient.
He was foolish.
He was hungry.”
– Horace Deidu, industry analyst, asymco
“The world has lost a visionary. And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Steve’s wife Laurene, his family, and all those who loved him.”
– Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States of America
“I like to think that in the run-up to his final keynote, Steve made time for a long, peaceful walk. Somewhere beautiful, where there are no footpaths and the grass grows thick. Hand-in-hand with his wife and family, the sun warm on their backs, smiles on their faces, love in their hearts, at peace with their fate.”
– John Gruber, chairman, tech writer, Daring Fireball
“No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.”
– Steve Jobs, former Apple CEO and co-founder, from a Stanford commencement address
All I can say is thank you. I think that’s enough.