I heard the news the other day that Steve Jobs is taking a leave of absence for health reasons. I thought about him all day, and keep thinking about him.
I have used Apple computers since 1991. Twenty years. The interface is so familiar to me at this point, so ingrained, that I am flummoxed whenever I have to work on a PC. It’s like a bad-fitting shoe; I can’t stand it. A PC feels terrible, from the look of the desktop to that inelegant mouse in my hand.
I have a desktop Mac and a MacBook laptop that my son has taken to insulting for its wheezy, antique ways. Recently, with all the writing I’ve been doing, I use my laptop a lot, because it’s portable and I can sit pretty much anywhere with it. I’m looking at it right this minute, in fact! The keys are all smudgy, and there’s a piece of tape on the edge where the trim cracked. I happen to know that the Apple Store would replace this part if I took it in, because I asked them. But it doesn’t bother me in a computer that in every other way is so elegant.
Hubbo went in yesterday to buy a new charger for his MacBook. They gave him a new one, just like that, when he explained how his wasn’t working right. They replaced my iPhone a couple of years ago, just like that, after I told them that I had dropped it five times in a row and cracked the button. Maybe everybody’s experience isn’t as good as this. But again and again, those Apple phone reps have talked me through all sorts of problems, have acted in a decent and responsive way. I can’t say that about many companies. And I think all that flows from Steve Jobs and his insistence on quality, on trying really, really hard to get it right.
Sometimes I go a long time without thinking about the particulars of my computers. On occasion, however, I stop to think about what these machines can do, what they have made possible for me, and I’m grateful to Steve Jobs for making them so simple, so intuitive.
Here is Steve Jobs in 2005, giving the commencement speech at Stanford, the year after he was diagnosed with cancer.
“The Macintosh was the first computer with beautiful typography,” he points out. That’s only part of it.
I wish him well, and I hope he is around, as he says in his speech, for decades to come.