Steve Jobs, 1955–2011

It must be something when my first reaction during the day as soon as I woke up today is shock, because the most recent tweet I saw in my Twitter gadget was the unexpected passing of Steve Jobs, former CEO and co-founder of the largest tech company in the world today. While I’m not exactly a fan of his creations, I do acknowledge his contributions to tech, and his role in shaping the field by making innovative products that set the standards against which everything else will be compared.

His inventions easily and almost single-handedly defined Apple as a company. All of these devices were built on solid hardware, and I think this is Apple’s definitive edge over its rivals: Microsoft, which is primarily a software company, or Google, THE Web company. Heck, Apple devices managed to challenge other hardware companies as well in other fields, such as Nintendo and its handheld game console.

In celebration of his works, let me share my thoughts about the greatest devices that he created:

  1. Macintosh computers

    Apple is originally defined by its signature computer called Mac’s, and it represented the company’s original stance with its products. Everything about the early Mac’s is nonconformist: it’s not built on x86 architecture, it puts too much effort looking fashionable and stylish (heck, Apple used to be synonymous with white because of the glossy white finish of their devices), and it doesn’t run on Windows. The Mac vs PC debate may continue indefinitely, but to be honest, it’s already pointless at this point, so the best thing everyone can do is use whatever works best for us.

  2. iPod

    At one point, I am already disgusted with portable media players because devices are getting more and more clunkier. The original Walkman is still svelte, but at the turn of the century when portable cassette and CD players are all the rage, I wonder what the future holds for PMP’s.

    iPods solved the problem by introducing a device with flash-based storage and lack of moveable parts, resulting in a device with compact design. The device is stunning in its simplicity, it’s not cluttered with buttons, and the controls are absolutely intuitive. Also, flash storage allows for big storage capacity, making it possible to store massive amount of music. Another strength of the device is its excellent music management. iPods prolly were the earliest devices synced to computers, and, with the aid of iTunes, makes it easy to add, remove and manage the contents of the device.

    The iPod was Apple’s breakthrough device, and despite being challenged by other PMP’s that offered more features, it remained the top device, so much that in fact, it was ultimately neutralized by Apple’s own product.

    Moving forward, the iPod evolved by getting colored screens, video support and finally, a touch screen, absorbing the features of its phone cousin, which is the…

  3. iPhone

    In 2006, the tech world is buzzing about Apple’s new device which was predicted to be a phone. Apple is also known for its ability to keep secrets well-hidden, and the Net cannot do anything but speculate about the specifications of the device. I still remember participating in discussions, for which I would always jokingly remark, “It’s an iPhone. Duh. That’s the only sure thing we know.” I never expected that it will become only one of two accurate tech predictions I had made so far LOLx (the other one being the Wii becoming the top console of its generation.)

    The phone featured flawless hardware, with perfect touch-responsiveness and, borrowing from the iPod design, just a few buttons. It also introduced the multi-touch control.

    On top of it is a custom OS of desktop caliber. Even though the iPhone is not the first to put emphasis on operating systems (PalmOS, Symbian and Windows Mobile is already available in other phones, and has features also found in iOS, such as app support, device customization and desktop-quality web browsing), the phone pioneered the finger-friendly UI with its use of large screen elements, and the best web browsing experience on a mobile device, with its Webkit-based Safari browser.

    Another innovation of the device is the App Store, which made it easier to acquire and search for new apps, at extremely affordable prices (some apps can only be purchased for 99¢).

    Another major feature of the device is the ease of updating the OS.

    The iPhone practically steamrolled the competition, but was ultimately displaced by Android as the most popular phone OS. However, for every upcoming devices, the newest iPhone is always the preferred device.

  4. iPad

    Fueled by the success of the iPhone, Apple came up with another device a few years later, reinventing the tablet PC. Tablets were not new, Microsoft designed the Courier a few years ago, and the device were actually known by other names then, such as ultra-mobile PC (UMPC).

    The iPad was marketed as an iPhone with a larger screen, and at present, is the leading tablet, but only because of lack of competition, mostly coming from Xooms and Galaxy Tabs. Windows 8, Microsoft’s tablet-centric OS, is still in development and is yet to be included in any device.

The combined success of the iDevices propelled Apple to the top of the tech industry. But for the rest of us, we’re just glad that we have such beautifully crafted devices that we can use. And it’s saddening, because we can no longer look forward to seeing more of these.

RIP Steve Jobs. We will miss you greatly. Thanks for everything.

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