STEVE JOBS (1955 – 2011)
We here at Abnormal Use were saddened this week to learn of the death of tech pioneer and Apple, Inc. czar Steve Jobs. We’ve been fans of him for decades, and each day, when we use our iPhone and our iPads, we realize just how much he has changed the way we as consumers, and as lawyers, communicate with each other. Just two weeks ago, we were attending a CLE seminar in Columbia, South Carolina featuring a section called “Using the iPad in Litigation.” Pictured above is the February 15, 1982 cover of Time Magazine, almost thirty years old, showing that Jobs was making innovations even then. (See its Time Magazine Cover Gallery entry here.). Now, today, two days after his death, we pause to reflect upon his life and legacy and how his creations affected and influenced our daily lives.
I myself have had a long history with Apple Computers. As an elementary school student, I used an Apple IIe in computer class to learn the Logo programming language (and, of course, play The Oregon Trail). At home, I first began using an old school Macintosh computer – one of those clunky old boxy ones – in the mid to late 1980s. My mother, a freelance graphic designer at the time, brought one home one day. Many grammar school homework assignments made their way through that old Mac (though I always preferred to play Shufflepuck Cafe). Later, in high school, as the editor of the school newspaper, I used Macs to cobble together our monthly publication after school in the old journalism classroom (although staffers would often switch over from Aldus Pagemaker to Sid Meier’s Pirates!). There was a point where I really, really wanted to buy a NeXT computer, although that never came to be. In college, working in the editorial department of the student daily, I used Macs and the QuarkXPress platform each day to design opinion pages.
Somewhere along the way, though, I reverted back to PCs. Even as a college student, I used a Dell as my home computer. I was a PC user for many years after that. It wasn’t until 2004 that I finally came back into the fold. It was April of that year, and I was in Los Angeles visiting an old friend, Daniel Loyd, who had a new device: a third generation iPod. That day, driving around L.A., we listened to a host of terrible heavy metal songs, simply because we could do so in such an easy fashion. (Dan makes a living as an editor using an Apple computer and Final Cut Pro). Within the week, I had bought my own iPod, and I’ve bought at least four of them since that fateful day in California. I was hooked. Every computer I’ve bought since has been made by Apple, including two successive desktops and a laptop. I’ve gone through three models of iPhones already (and I anticipate pre-ordering the new iPhone 4S sometime today – the first day one can do so). And of course, just a month ago, I bought an iPad, which is one of the most fun purchases I’ve made in many, many years.
With the iPhone, we are able to accomplish with a single device tasks that previously required multiple devices. Remember the old days, not so long ago, really, when traveling out of state, you’d have to take a laptop, Blackberry, cell phone, and iPod? Now, just one Apple product can cover for all of those devices. It’s a marvel. The products make you wonder how you ever lived without them.
What’s the legacy of Steve Jobs? Many have contemplated that over the course of the last two days in pieces far more eloquent than these words here. Really, though, he brought into existence the types of devices we’d previously only seen on Star Trek.
That’s a pretty good epitaph. May he rest in peace.
The last two days have seen many tributes to Jobs from the blogosphere. We would encourage you to take a look at this piece by Jeff Richardson of the iPhone J.D. blog as well as this article by Ben Stevens of The Mac Lawyer blog. Those are two of our favorite Apple-related blogs. We’d also recommend this post from The Rainmaker Blog and this entry from the Associate’s Mind blog.