Ah, well. Though it has been long expected, I still feel a bit stunned about the passing of Steve Jobs.
I have watched quite a bit of “American Morning” this day and have been taking in the coverage of Steve’s passing. This mass popular recognition of Jobs, while profoundly deserved, is (lamely) somewhat irritating to the remaining vestiges of defiant and rebellious Macaddict left over in me from those struggling Mac days of the 1990’s. Steve, Apple and the Mac seemed like private possessions for many of us through those years. People who thrived on love of them, but also thrived on how foolish everyone else was for not following along. To now have everyone commenting on how great he was is like seeing someone taking our personal rebellious icon and mass marketing him (like seeing Ice Cube in middle-class comedies or the proverbial Grateful Dead sticker on a Cadillac). Even though, admittedly, I was not a fan of the Mac era for many years… I remember my snide derision of the Mac in Jon and Jason’s apartment back in the day (though, much earlier, I remember being envious of my friend Todd’s Apple II during Jr High). After my experiencing a Mac II during the Windows 3 era, that all changed and I was an instant convert.
So, yes, it is nice for Jobs to be getting recognition for revolutionizing the personal computer industry with the Apple II and the Mac and then the iMac, and revolutionizing the music industry (not just for storing and playing, but also distribution) with iTunes and the iPod, and not only revolutionizing the cell phone, but also changing peoples whole connection with media and information with the iPhone… Basically, having a major hand with how nearly everyone interacts with computers, friends, the world, music, information and media. So yes, all of that is well and good but what has brought this on was what wasn’t mentioned.
After his original departure from Apple, Steve’s founding of Next eventually led to Apple’s OSX, which is a development that should not go unmentioned: A functional and modern operating system built upon a UNIX base. Moving past the aged roots of Windows and the MAC OS into a modern and powerful Unix based system was a profound and important step for me.
But the most glaring omission from the coverage that I saw was that there was no mention of Pixar, Steve’s development of Pixar as a film animation studio changed the animation film industry almost as profoundly as Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarves did back in 1937. Pixar’s dozen or so movies have made animation a serious art form in cinema to an extent that no one else (except for maybe Hayao Miyazaki) has in modern times. Generating a previously unheard of level of respect from critics, adults and children alike. Each film continues to pioneer the continued advancement of computer animation technology (and marketing), and also the expectation of quality scripts, plots, character and storyline to a level that continues to be well beyond their competitors… While also being very financially successful.
All in all, I will miss Steve’s aura effect that created such devotion in his fans. He was an incredible marketeer, and businessman. He was a great visionary who changed so much for nearly everyone… Whether they realise it or not.