Like most, I was shocked at the passing of Steve Jobs last evening. I believe there is something in all of us that wants to believe that genius and resources will spare us death. But I doesn’t. He is dead, but what a remarkable legacy he has left behind.
It occurs to me that the greatest tribute to Jobs is his work on the iPhone. In four years he revolutionized the way we think about, use, and what we expect from smartphones.
In 2007, the smartphone industry was a horror show of ugly, slow hardware with archaic input. Each phone seemed to have a larger keyboard, antenna, and battery. This was progress. Then came the first iPhone. Critics scoffed at it. No one would want a touch screen only device. It was too expensive. You couldn’t multitask. It didn’t had GPS or 3G. It was laughably expensive. It would fail miserably.
In 2008, the iPhone 3G was too slow. The screen too small. Too low resolution. Android was going to win because it was open.
2009 brought the too minorly improved 3GS. Apple was poised to be left behind, their massive lead would be quickly absorbed.
Then came the iPhone 4. Within a year of its release, my dad bought one. So did 4 of my non-techie friends. Most people I know that don’t have one, no longer say they never will get one. Android has grown, but the iPhone continues to dominate and define the technology.
I scoffed with the scoffers until 2009. Since then, I have converted from full Windows to full Mac. I bought an iPad. Great products create their own demand.
So that’s Steve’s legacy to me. In four years, he made the smartphone a household device. In four years he took a device from a toy for fanatics and nerds, to a cultural phenomenon. And all around the world, salesmen are pitching the competitions’ products as “Just like an iPhone.”
My friend Jeremy noted it should be called the iPhone 4Steve. I think he has a point. There’s no greater tribute to him than his last revolution.
Sent from my iPad