RIP Steve Jobs

Apple announced this meeting that its chairman and co-founder, Steve Jobs, died today at the age of 56.

Jobs, one of the computing industry’s pioneers, was one of the most important American business figures of the last half century. As the founders of Apple, Jobs and business partner Steve Wozniak, were instrumental in bringing the computer to the household and the classroom.

I never met Steve Jobs, nor have I covered Apple in any serious
capacity. I don’t even own any Apple products. But I do still remember
the first time I ever used a computer, which was an Apple IIe encased in
a beige body attached to a green-screen monitor.

The experience took place in 1985 when I was just a new kindergarten
student in Mrs. Hill’s class. She scheduled the class as to give each
student a chance to play learning games on the class computers once per
week, and although I can’t remember the first game I played, I do recall
that one of them featured a robot and something interesting happened
when you pressed the space bar.

At the time, of course, computers were relatively rare. They even
intimidated many people. Before Apple popularized the graphical user
interface, the prospect of seriously using a computer meant one would
have had to practically learn a foreign language. Indeed, anyone with an
interest in programming during the 1980s would have earned the right to
be called a nerd, and even the local tech store called itself “Egghead

I’ll let the programmers and experts debate which companies make the
best products, but no one can deny that Apple has done more to change
Americans’ view of computers from being a perception that computers were difficult and for nerds to one that saw computers as user-friendly and even cool.

Since Apple introduced the
iMac in 1998, the company’s i-branded products has claimed a
cool cachet that other quality products simply do not have. Maybe it’s
all marketing, but to be fair, the marketing behind products like the
iPod, iPhone and iPad is brilliant marketing and Apple and its
competitors have changed – and continue to change – the way Americans
work, share information and enjoy entertainment.

Please read the San Jose Mercury News, our sister paper, for more on Jobs’ life and career.

Below is the first video clip from the 2007 All Things Digital 5, featuring a rare joint interview with Jobs and his leading competitor, Microsoft’s Bill Gates. Check out YouTube for more of the interview.