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Thursday October 6, 2011 12:53 pm
The influence of Steve Jobs
October 5, 2011 will go down as one of the most bittersweet moments in technology history. Apple chief executive Steve Jobs passed away at 56, a sad end to a magnificent careeer.
Jobs wowed us. The man is the Walt Disney of the technology space – funny, in a way, as he's also Disney's largest shareholder. Apple, Pixar, Disney – three technology icons synonymous with magic.
I can't claim to have known Jobs personally. What I, and we, have seen of him, has been in carefully managed stage appearances over the years, with Jobs rolling out product after product that defined and launched industries, and prompted countless imitations. The Chinese even copied Apple's stores.
I remember how incredibly annoyed I was at Computex, wandering the halls and seeing row after row of candy-colored hardware, virtually everything that you could think of. I remember complaining to the guy who was on the stool next to mine at the hotel bar. Seriously, I said, is this the future? Watermelon-colored computers? And this Taiwanese guy, not even in technology, said something that's stuck with me: "Only until Apple invents whatever's next."
I don't know if there's going to be "one more thing," the catchphrase that Jobs ended his speeches with. More than half the time, the press corps knew that that was going to be the thing that we wrote about. And would we dare criticize Jobs? How could we? The guy was always right. Remember the "death grip"? How the iPad was a fad? Logic said that both of those were legitimate concerns. But Jobs didn't inspire logic. He inspired faith, emotion, and well, loyalty.
Design guru Jonathan Ive remains at Apple. So does Tim Cook, the quiet, efficient mastermind that has kept Apple's operations humming. Will that be enough? Will the perfection that Jobs inspired stay with the company? For now, yes. Jobs remains in our memories, and unless we ever forget, the magic won't truly disappear. Steve Jobs Day is Oct. 14, a day that will almost surely become a memorial.
Until then, relive the magic. And, oh, what magic there was.
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