06/10/2011

RIP Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs has died at the young age of 56 after years of fighting cancer.

He has affected many people in many ways, mainly good though in the early years at Apple he was thought of as a bully but mellowed after being kicked out and then brought back in.

He revolutionised the home computer market with the Apple I and then the Apple II (with Steve Wozniac) - after which it went slightly pear shaped and he got fired and went to start Next Computers.

The Next Cube was a design classic (and later Apple designs kept hankering back to it) and NextOS was way beyond its time (and computing capabilities).

After Microsoft had bailed Apple out with a $250m cash injection and saving them from bankruptcy (and MS being a monopoly in the desktop OS space), Apple purchased Next (which was a commercial failure) and took on NextOS which later evolved into MacOS X.

In the meantime Steve Jobs had purchased a small computer generated image (CGI) start-up (spun out of LucasFilm) called PIXAR which he eventually sold to Disney ...

Steve Jobs also took on board an unknown British Product designer (Jonathan Ives) who made technology fit what were to become iconic designs such as the iMac, iPod etc. Changing the face of computing to what it is now.

Apple's iPod dominated the music player market since it's inception (over 70% of all music players sold) which has continued with the iPhone and iPad.

Apple made a bold decision to move from IBM/Motorola with the PowerPC to Intel's x86 CPU, but IBM was concentrating efforts on consoles such as Microsoft's Xbox and Sony's PS3. Though Intel's CPU's weren't that special, Intel had the resources to support Apple and allowed them to produce the Macbook AIR which used the same silicon as normal Intel CPUs but on a new substrate allowing a much more compact design of the physical hardware.

The iPhone was also a radical move from the traditional smart-phone which was a phone that could sort of do apps. Apple changed that and made a small computer that could sort of make phone calls. When the iPad came out - they dropped the phone call bit altogether (well apps could make calls, but using data not voice circuitry).

Whether people are Apple 'fan boys' or not, Steve Jobs made a huge impact on the computing industry as we know it now and fundamentally changed the way music could be obtained and played, put design first and made the technology fit and made a computer into a phone.

He made some mistakes along the way like the Apple Lisa. The Newton was revolutionary but never had the software or hardware for it be useful. Apple also dallied in expensive printers (one of the first laser printers) and digital cameras.

He will be missed even by Windows die-hards.

There's currently a tribute on the Apple home page and a page dedicated to the man himself, which is simple yet poignant ...
Post a Comment