I have a confession. I don’t have an iPod. I don’t have a Mac. I don’t have an iPhone. I do have an iPad, bought in the rush of excitement the week of its launch…but I seldom use it. I’ve managed to buy a couple of things on iTunes, but I’m a mass of insecurity about what happens if I want to transfer them to other devices. It seems easier not to try. I looked at buying a MacBook when I needed a new PC recently, but decided the Mac was too expensive and would cut me off from some nice PC-only applications.
All up, I’m not much use to Apple. But I suspect Apple is of use to me in ways I don’t even know about. Whether it’s keeping other companies on their toes, or developing technologies that influence innovation in products I do use, or even changing the way I think about how markets (including publishing) work, Apple has snuck in there.
But the fact is, I don’t think of Apple as Apple. Mostly, I think of it as Steve Jobs.
So even though I never knew him, and even though his company has many flaws (reports of atrocious conditions in iPad factories in China cannot be glossed over) Steve Jobs’ death seems significant, and a loss. A loss to global innovation , and a loss to Apple. Few of us can expect our lives to be celebrated or our passing to be mourned on such a scale.
But above all, Steve Job’s death is a tragic loss to his family. Which is something, hopefully, we all can expect. And while that’s what hurts most, it's also what matters most.