A year since we’ve said goodbye
A friend pointed me to the Apple website, because 1 year ago today, Steve Jobs passed away. Apple changed their home page today to post a video (linked here, but no idea how long this link will remain, or if it’ll move to a more permanent home eventually), a tribute and remembrance of Steve Jobs.
Yeah… it choked me up a bit.
I didn’t know Steve at all, but my first computer was an Apple //e, and the day I saw a Mac… it changed my life. I’ve spent over 20 years writing Mac and now iOS software professionally, so yeah… Apple has a place in my life.
At the end of the video you hear Steve say:
It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing.
That’s what people tend to not get.
Sure, iPhone is behind Android in a lot of respects. In fact, in many respects Mac has been behind the PC/Windows. But in many other respects, Apple has completely lead the way in both the desktop Mac and mobile iPhone world (and let’s not forget the music iPod world either). And the biggest leader is Apple make products people want to have, that people yearn to have. Who lines up for the midnight release of any product? What other customers find opening the box to be a religious experience? that a product, a service, a brand creates such intense devotion… to plastic and silicon?
There’s an aesthetic.
I see Android devices all day at my day job, and I just can’t like them. Same with Windows vs. Mac. Oh sure, I can totally appreciate the technology going into them, both the hardware and the OS. I think there’s actually a lot of cool stuff about Android as an OS. But it just doesn’t sing to me. It doesn’t move me. I don’t look at it as a joy that I like to look at for hours every day, which is what I have to do. If I have to stare at something for a long time, I like it to be pleasing to the eyes (like my wife), and somehow stir my soul (like my wife).
To some people, they don’t care. These things don’t matter to them. And that’s OK. To some it’s pure utilitarian, or they don’t know any different or don’t care. And that’s fine. That’s them.
Well, speaking of Steve… if you consider his background with typography and how that influenced the development of Mac. Just the other day I read about a new programmer’s font, the article mentioned a few, I downloaded and tried them out, and settled on Source Code Pro. It’s a beautiful font. It’s a lot nicer on the eyes, and when you’re staring at code all day long well… the shape and placement and count of pixels really starts to matter. And you probably don’t realize it, until you start to care and do something about it… like change it. But there’s the joy of Apple. They spend so much time fussing and caring about every little pixel, every little detail. The intent? To just work. In some respects, it should be remarkable; “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” But really in most respects it should be unremarkable. It should just work, it should not get in our way, it should not impede the flow of our work, it should enable and empower us… and we don’t really notice nor understand why. And even something as simple as a font can do this. Does that matter? Yes it does. And Steve knew that. Many people don’t know, don’t care, or aren’t aware… and that’s fine for them.