Courtesy Apple Computers
It was a sad day for technology and design Wednesday, when Apple Computers announced the passing of its co-founder, Steve Jobs. Jobs was 56 and died at his home in California of Pancreatic Cancer.
The reactions were nothing short of tremendous, and twitter was abuzz with everyone retweeting quotations from his commencement address at Stanford University in 2005, to simply saying thank you for how he revolutionized the way we use technology.
From the first Macintosh computer to the iPad, the creative that was Steve Jobs was the driving force of the Apple Brand. He was also the founder of Pixar Studios and in doing so changed the world of animation thereafter.
In the design field, macs are almost a given, and sometimes it’s hard to think of how we ever got to this point. Like everything in design and technology, it started with an idea, made real by Steve Jobs.
The original Mac has since moved from people’s desk into museum collections, but it certainly was a marvel for its time. It was the first personal computer that people could use with ease, and included a slot-loading disk drive for file storage. It was launched in 1984 with Steve Jobs unveiling it. The video of its launch can be found on YouTube.
Not only did Apple and Mr. Jobs revolutionize the way computers were used, but their design was also something that was given particular attention. The Powerbook 100 was the first battery-powered computer that sported its keyboard behind a palm rest for ergonomic purposes. Since its introduction the design has become the standard for all laptops to this day.
Images from iMac World http://imacworld.110mb.com/
In 1998 Apple rocked the computing world when they put out their fruit-flavored (and I’m being completely serious, the colors were named after fruits), revitalized Macintosh computers now fondly called the iMac. The colored plastic enclosed machines omitted the clunky tower that most PCs sported at the time, and spoke to every personality that wanted one. The only downside was the circular mouse – which remains to this day one of Apple’s most hated products.
Image by Moemen Khafaga
Possibly my favorite design of all Apple computers is the iMac G4. The adjustable monitor was ergonomic genius. You could move the screen up, down, all around without making you crane your own neck. I was disappointed when Apple decided to do away with that feature when they launched the next generation of iMacs, which resemble the current models but with plastic casing.
And speaking of plastic casing, there’s also the iBook G4. At a time where the laptop market was dominated by black portfolio looking ThinkPads (IBM) and Satellites (Toshiba), the white iBook looked more like a piece of gum than something that had the power to perform serious tasks. Many designers I know of began their explorations thanks to this little wonder.
Apple however really came into prominence with another little white thing, which while didn’t do many things did one particular thing well – play music, play alot of it, and play it anywhere. The iPod is still the number one music player on the market, and has been so since its inception. To say that it’s impact on the music industry is tremendous is an understatement. New car models today come with iPod auxiliary ports, and the word iPod itself has almost become synonymous to music player.
While these gadgets all represent the development of Apple and its movement to becoming one of the world’s largest tech companies, they all started out as ideas from people who wanted to make a difference with how we see and use technology. Steve Jobs helped these people to “think differently,” so that somehow, in our own way, we could too.