Like everyday, I woke up & opened the Twitter app on my iPhone. The first tweet that loaded was like a punch to the gut: “R.I.P Steve Jobs”
Scrolling hastily down the timeline, I hoped for a hoax but it wasn’t to be. Suddenly I needed to throw up. Suddenly I needed air. Suddenly there were tears. It was to be just another day, and then it wasn’t.
Twitter was my support system: Little by little people began recounting their own Steve Jobs stories. Some wrote beautiful prose, some wrote of small experiences that carried on his legacy & some created art. Soon Apple Stores all over the world became centers for people to pay their tributes. I asked a friend who was heading over to the Apple HQ in Cupertino to put a flower for me…
You may wonder how I can have such emotion for a person I have never met, but that is the kind of man Steve Jobs was. His persona, his enthusiasm was imbibed through his words, through his keynotes. A storyteller, masterful presenter [the 2007 iPhone launch keynote is nothing short of a concert] and visionary. He gave life to the beige boxes of the 80’s….Steve made technology beautiful, hold the iPhone 4, or the MacBook Air in your hand & tell me you don’t find it so. A fanatic for detail, everything had to be perfect, anything less just wouldn’t do. It was the little things that endeared him to me. And love at first sight.
I remember my first experience with the iPhone. My brother was coming home from the US so I asked him to get an iPhone for me. I promised myself to be objective in its evaluation and in my reaction to it. All that went straight to hell when my brother handed me the box. Simple, beautiful. I took out the phone and plugged it in. The screen lit up softly with an image of the earth and a gently luminous box at the bottom saying “Slide to unlock”. It was just so simple and beautiful. Nothing about it was ostentatious. It had the quiet assurance of a friend helping you out with a tough exam. Nothing on the box or the phone screamed a sense of over-achievement. Just a classy, polished, been there-done that-trust me look.
His last public appearance was in June 2011 WWDC Keynote. He looked frail, but the eyes still had the spark, the zeal. He was still the master of his craft, but it could be seen he was getting ready to transfer the reigns: Tim Cook, Phil Schiller & Scott Forstall did most of the heavy lifting. He was taking the training wheels off and sure enough, a few months later he resigned:
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
On 4th October 2011 Apple announced the new iPhone. After the event people commented how subdued Tim Cook was & compared him to Steve. Little did anybody know how hard it must have been for him to get through the presentation knowing that his friend & mentor was nearing the end…
That picture pretty much says it all. During the “Let’s Talk iPhone” event on Tuesday, I kept noticing that seat. “Reserved.” It was weird that the camera kept panning to that shot of the front row in Town Hall.
The room was packed tight with journalists, but there was that one seat left empty in the front row next to all of the other Apple executives. Steve’s seat.
You may not think much of him, but know this: The Personal Computer you are reading this on, was his invention. The phone you wish to buy soon, even though it may not be an iPhone, has taken inspiration from his vision. The tablet industry exists because of him. No single man can take credit for influencing & changing the tech landscape for an entire decade except Steve. Is it any wonder that Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, Larry Page have come to pay tributes?
Steven Paul Jobs. A Titan.