While Apple didn’t make my first computer, they made the first ones I loved. When I was young, my mom worked at a local community college that ran an annual summer day camp series, including a week-long “Computer Camp”. For as terribly nerdy as that sounds, it was one of my favorite annual traditions. Some of the first “programming” I ever did was in LOGO on an Apple ][ at computer camp. It’s where I saw instructors get excited about things like the relative indestructibility of a 3.5” floppy disk, and let me know that it’s fine to be a perfectly nerdy adult.
As much as I loved those times, I spent the next several years with computers that I can’t describe as anything but “just awful” - a nightmare of functional and support issues, one after the next. I ran Windows, gave up, eventually installed Linux, and sometime around 1999, got rid of my computer entirely, using just the machines available to me at my college radio station and computer science department, plus whatever intrusions my roommates were kind enough to allow.
When Steve Jobs came back to Apple, there was a group of maniacs at Michigan Tech who would get together to watch his presentations in the basement of the electrical engineering building. A buddy of mine got me to tag along and I saw first-hand, his “reality distortion field”. When they launched the iMac, one of my fellow computer science majors got it. He wanted everyone to come use it, try it out. It was my first real experience with Mac OS (OS 9, at the time), and while I couldn’t afford a Mac then, I sure enjoyed my time with it, just like before.
In 2005, I bought my first Apple product - a PowerBook G4 - the first computer I ever both owned and loved. The rest is TechOps history.
While Steve Jobs is gone, Apple and the Jobs family are poised to further realize his vision. He made the computer personal, and in so doing, reinvented industry after industry.
Make things that people are going to love today.
Here's Steve Jobs at WWDC 2007, the first time I was fortunate enough to see a Stevenote in person.
(Photo credit to flickr user acaben, Ben Stanfield).