Steve Jobs – Harry Potter of the tech world18 February 2015, Magdalena Markiewicz
We can definitely say that Steve Jobs was the man who changed the world. The reason for this can be e.g. the fact that some of you are reading this text using the device he designed. Apple products have become the gadgets that stole the hearts of millions of users around the world.
Jobs is described as a designer who has created devices that people didn’t realize they needed. Only once they used the product it became transparent that they couldn’t live without them. The idea of creating exactly this kind of products and their simplicity have become the aim for the Apple founder.
Harry Potter with a genius in one person
Steve Jobs was a child of half American, half Syrian descent. His parents decided to give him up for adoption because they were afraid of their parents’ reaction to pregnancy. Little Baby Steve was adopted by an ordinary working class foster parents. Since he was a child he knew that he was adopted but at the same time the foster parents have taught him that he was unique. With this belief in mind Jobs was growing up giving others a sense of his uniqueness at every step he made.
His foster parents quickly realized that the boy outsmarted both of them. As it turned out really soon not only them, but also most of his school friends. By the end of fourth grade he was already at the level of senior high school student. The gap between him and other kids and the feeling of being abandoned as a small child made Steve feeling totally alienated. Just like Harry Potter Steve realized that he is a wizard that was raised by muggles – says Alan Deutschman, the author of “How Steve Jobs changed our world”.
The guru of new technologies
In his youth Jobs became fascinated with the idea of enlightenment and own spirituality. When he was 19 he went for a trip to India where he planned to find his guru. The search was a disaster but it has not gone down the pan. When he came back, Steve came to a conclusion that IT can become the source of transcendence and can help us live in a whole new dimension. It is then, when together with his friend Steven Woźniak, they built the first personal computer and founded Apple. In 1976 the duo presented Apple I to the world. The invention cost $666.66 and it was the first computer that was using the monitor and keyboard. What is more, Apple I was sold fully assembled which differentiated this product from the do-it-yourself computers.
The road to the true success of the newly-created Apple Inc. started with Apple II. This was a perfect idea. As the first computer in the world it was using colorful graphics and was not only surprising in its capabilities, but also in its modern design. It was “packed” in a beige case and looked appealing in comparison to computers offered by the competition at that time. Apple II was quickly noticed by the investors and its sales was growing dynamically. When it was launched to the market Jobs was only 22. When he was 25 the worth of his genius was estimated at $200 million.
After the success of Apple II Jobs and Woźniak created Lisa – one of the first computers utilizing graphical user interface. It turned out as a failure because customers were unwilling to pay $10 000 for a personal computer. We need to remember that at that time computers were enormous and were covering the space of an entire office. They were used only by the military and large banks. Personal computer was a genius device that was created with the needs of the ordinary user in mind, but it turned out to be an exclusive device that only a small group could afford. After Lisa Apple decided to make users’ lives easier and created Macintosh – easy to use computer that didn’t require special IT knowledge.
At the same time, Jobs who was perceived as an eccentric young hippie by the big fish, was pushed away from larger projects. Because of the tension that was growing within the company Jobs had to leave Apple in 1985. Bitter and depressed he sold all Apple stocks that he owned except for one.
Great coming back
Although the break-up with a company that he created himself has treated him badly Jobs did not stop working. In 1985 he started NeXT and a year later he invested in Pixar animation studios which he bought from George Lucas for $10 million. However, he was still obsessed with the idea of creating a personal computer for everyone. in 1997 facing the bankruptcy Apple bough NeXT which brought Steve back to the company. At that time iMac, the first computer in the world which in different color than beige or black, was launched to the market. Next to that Steve always wanted to combine his two biggest passions – technology and music into one. This dream brought him to creation of iPod which changed the lives of all of us in 2001.
This small inconspicuous device that could easily fit into user’s pocket contained hundreds of songs inside. Users who were acquainted with walk-man and disc-man devices were fascinated that with iPod they could store all their music at one device. iPod has quickly become very desirable and white headphones designed by Jonathan Ive have become the style icon. – I could see someone wearing white headphones at every corner and I thought – God it has started! – This is when Jobs has probably suspected that iPod will change the entire music industry.
Dollar for a song
When iPods started spreading the record labels and artists started complaining that their sales is dropping and that their music is stolen on large scale. Users started to download music illegally from Napster and similar applications that enabled free and unlimited downloads of songs. Steve Jobs wanted everyone to be satisfied so he met with the representatives of the largest record labels and presented his plan that every song should cost $1. Of course, not everyone liked the idea. Eventually, this vision has come to life and in 2003 Apple launched iTunes store. Users didn’t have to buy whole records any more, they could just download their favorite songs.
The great success of Jobs was interrupted by the malicious pancreatic cancer. In 2004 Steve undergone a surgery and the tumor was removed, but his condition has made him look at the world in a completely different way. He realized that he has a limited time left and he started working even faster.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart – said Jobs to Stanford University students during his speech on June 12, 2005.
History showed that iPods where nothing in comparison to the Apple products that followed. on January 9, 2007 the company presented the most revolutionary product the world has ever seen – iPhone. When Jobs launched his new masterpiece he said it will change the telecommunications market. He was wrong. He didn’t expect that it will change the entire world. iPhone became the smallest and most efficient personal computer that has ever existed. At the same time, it looked good and was intuitive – even a small child could use it.
The most groundbreaking element of iPhone was its touchscreen. One more of Jobs’s foibles stands behind it. Steve was always fascinated by human palms. From the beginning of his work he paid great attention to usability – firstly, when it came to the mouse used in Macs, than the wheel in iPod, finally reaching the utterly direct way of contact with the device – he perfected the touchscreen and popularized it.
In the first year since its launch 10 million iPhones were sold. Pushed with the success and the vision of approaching death Jobs presented iPad in 2010. High-resolution tablet with wide Multi-Touch screen was an amazing success which was not difficult to predict. Jobs has always designed all his devices in a way that they would be interdependent.
Death is very likely the single best invention of Life – said Jobs to Stanford University students on August 24, 2011. Unable the lead Apple any longer he handed the CEO title to Tim Cook and became the President of the Supervisory Board. Few weeks later he passed away at his home in California.
Feeling like home
Not only Apple products were designed in every little detail. Jobs has also thought about the stores. Even though the interior design of Apple stores is dominated by grey and white colors you can feel like at home there. Internet is full of videos of customers dancing, coming in with animals or order a pizza to the Apple store. Apple products are not expensive in the U.S, this is why every American teenager owns them. The power of Apple brand lies in one tangible vision. The success of iPods lied in the outstanding white headphones. People bought iPods because they could be distinguished from the products offered by the competition. Every owner of iPod was showing that he or she belongs to the Apple family – group of beautiful, young and creative people. This is why a day before the official launch of new Apple products people are queuing in front of their stores to be the first to get something that will be fashionable tomorrow.
It seems that Apple is doing well even without its captain. Few month ago the latest iPhone – iPhone 6 was launched to the market. In the first three days since its launch 10 million iPhone 6 devices were sold. This is by far the greatest success of Apple. The customers were not even scared off with rumors that the new model is faulty and bends which caused a lot of buzz on the net.
The company is also working on Apple Watch design – smartwatch that next to its traditional use will be user’s health and fitness tracker.
The critics say that Cook is “more humane” than Jobs who was always a bit authoritative and chimeric. It is visible for example in Apple’s willingness to cooperate with other companies and company’s openness about their weaknesses. Recently, Apple has decided to ask IBM for help. When it turned out that iPad sales takes only 20% of the marketshare Cook decided to ally with his arch enemy to boost the sales of tablets for office use.
What is more, Cook is not afraid to connect Apple to forms that seemingly don’t have anything to do with Apple’s brand. It happened for example last year when the entire fashion show of Burberry was recorded using iSight camera in iPhone5s. – The cooperation aimed at strengthening the relationship between our companies both of which are passionate about high-end design and respect for craftsmanship. We share the same passion for creation and evoking emotion thanks to products which are cutting-edge and beautiful – said Christopher Bailer, Creative Director of Burberry.
Despite many problems that Apple will be facing one thing is sure – no other company had such a leader like Jobs who has “made technology humane” and user-friendly.