This week Steve Jobs announced that he is stepping down as CEO of Apple, Inc. Serious health issues have impaired his ability to attend to business responsibilities. We are all sad about that because he has been such a dynamic, creative force. His creativity has touched our lives in many ways. When other entrepreneurs have been focused on the bottom line, he has always focused on creating innovative products that inspire imagination and make life a little more fun, perhaps easier.
I remember the Apple IIe. It was my first computer. Back then, few people went to the trouble or expense of purchasing a computer. It was for geeks. My IIe didn’t do much. It had this funky green screen and the operating system was on a floppy drive. It was a glorified typewriter. If you wanted to be a true geek, you could try your hand at creating a few crude programs. The IIe was an imaginative foray into computer technology, but Microsoft soon took over the business world. Once I became a technical writer, every computer I came in contact with was a PC. I learned enough PC mysteries and mumbo-jumbo to survive the blue screen of death and innumerable crashes, corruptions of data, lost files, and other frustrations. The PC became this inanimate object that ruled my life at work and at home with its vagaries.
Some people love the complexity of technology. They like being initiated into a coven of geeks who hold the secret code. I prefer simplicity and question the necessity of complexity for the end-user. Who needs more frustration? About a year ago, I decided to buy an iPhone for myself and a simpler phone for my husband who doesn’t want to deal with anything complex. As it turned out, his simple phone is much more complicated, but much less sophisticated and intuitive than my iPhone. If it’s possible to love a thing, well, I love my iPhone for its ability to accomplish very complex tasks in a way that is simple, intuitive, and fun. And when you run into a problem, Apple’s technical support is excellent.
This week I took the plunge back into the Apple world of computers. I hung up my wheezing, whirring, temperamental PC and bought an iMAC. There’s a lot to learn in the transition from PC to MAC, but so far it’s not painful. In fact, a lot of things just seem easier. It’s a beautiful machine conceived by a genius, Steve Jobs. I hope Apple, Inc. never loses his intuitive vision.