Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.
Steve Jobs passed away at 56 due to a rare form of pancreas cancer. He had been struggling with health issues for years, noticeable to the public only by the fit of his perpetual black sweater getting consecutively looser. If you have to ask why a music blog would remember the passing of the CEO of a tech company you probably haven’t listened to any music over the past 2 decades. Steve Jobs his influence on the daily lives of the modern world and the music industry were nothing short of revolutionary. Several companies actually passed on the chance of further developing the clunky iPod prototype but Apple immediately bought up the whole start-up company that brought it to them. They then did what Apple always does, take existing technologies and perfect their usability, accessability and design to result in a device that works intuitively and without elaborate setup right out of the box. With the rise of the iPod, the way in which we consume music would never be the same again. It was the biggest shakeup in the music industry since the invention of the vinyl record, and we still feel its reverberations today.
Then Steve did it all again with the cell phone. The app store. Movies. Animation. Yes, animation. Ever wondered why Wall•E makes a Mac OS startup sound when he reboots? It’s because John Lasseter, one of the Academy Award winning directors at Pixar, was booted out of the Walt Disney Animation Studios when they didn’t see any future in his costly experiments with computer animation. He then found a home at Pixar, a part of Lucasfilm, but the division was cut from their roster in 1986 when George Lucas lost interest in fully animated feature films and wanted to focus on special effects instead of animated features. Steve Jobs recognized it’s potential and bought the orphaned Pixar, gave it a much needed monetary injection, and saw it grow into an award-winning studio that revolutionized animation, produce quality feature after quality feature and become the highest grossing animation studio in the world. They were eventually brought back into the fold at The Walt Disney Company for the sum of $7.4 billion, making Steve Jobs Disney’s biggest shareholder.
Over the past years, as the number of customers kept growing, so did grumblings of the less than permissive attitude of Apple products. As easy as they are to use, they are much harder to tweak. Which is very much a downside to the tech-savvy crowd, but the company wouldn’t have had the imapct on the way we employ technology in our lives if it only catered to them. Wether you choose to use Apple products or one of their bigger competitors is mostly a choice of ease in use versus freedom of use, not one of quality. They caught flack for the opaque policies in what was or wasn’t allowed into the app store as well as their claim on a part of the fee subscribers of magazines and newspapers paid for publications on the iPad and while critique of Apple is often overwrought it doesn’t mean it’s never justified. One thing however, remains without a doubt, and that’s that Steve Jobs was a visionary. It’s hard to imagine what media, pop culture, arts and technology would look like in the 21st century without his influence and you’ll have a hard time finding many more people who impacted the world like he did. R.I.P. Steve, I wonder if heaven got an OS.