When I was in fifth grade, my dad brought home an Apple IIe computer. From that moment on, I never (voluntarily) hand wrote anything ever again.
While looking at pictures of that old model now reminds of me of the Pony Express in terms of its efficiency, it was state-of-the-art back in the mid ‘80s. When I went to college I got the Mac Classic desktop, and I’m now on my third Mac laptop since graduation. I’ve been anticipating the announcement of the Verizon iPhone ever since they splashed onto the smartphone scene, waiting patiently to order mine on Feb. 3rd. The iPad isn’t up my alley in terms of toys, but not for its lack of sexiness. My hot pink iPod Nano is pretty sexy though, so I’m feeling pretty good about my cache of current and future Apple products.
What I’m not feeling good about is Steve Jobs’ health. It was announced today that he’s taking a medical leave of absence as he continues to battle a rare form of cancer and deal with the liver transplant he received nearly two years ago. His dramatic weight loss has been the source of speculation for some time, and Apple’s stock fluctuates regularly as pictures sporadically emerge of him looking gaunt (today’s announcement pushed down Apple shares in Europe, and U.S. stock futures fell, according to Business Week). It is his third leave since 2004. In an email, Jobs said he will continue to “be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.”
Like Richard Branson and Virgin, and Donald Trump and, well, anything that has the word Trump slapped on it, very few products are so closely associated with their CEO. But Steve Jobs has built Apple into an emotional brand, one that has changed the way most laypeople think about computers and their associated products. While Apple continues to revolutionize the computer industry, the overall brand has spoken to a generation younger than mine maybe more effectively than any other product ever will. Apple products are hip, sleek, user-friendly and seriously and painfully cool – and the loyalty to them all is fierce and nearly unparalleled. There’s no one product that inarguably stands out, it’s the entire roster, and it’s all really thanks to Steve Jobs, who co-founded the brand in 1976.
I look at Steve Jobs like a distant uncle — fondly and with no small amount sentimentality. I have a shelf of photo books that I’ve created of my family, and my toddler loves nothing more than to sit on my lap and look at the pictures that didn’t make it into the books on iPhoto on my computer. She also likes to see her funny images in Photo Booth, plus the pictures and video of her in utero that I have saved in a special file on my desktop. It’s not that I don’t think some of this can be done on a PC in one way or another, but there’s a familiarity and warmth to Apple products has been part of my family since age 10, and it has become a tradition that I know will continue. After all, what kid doesn’t want something with a little “i” in front of it? Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery.
Are you a Mac or a PC?