MacDirectory Magazine

Winter-Spring 2012

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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Page 43 of 115

FEA TURE STEVE JOBS >THE RINGSIDE SEAT WORDS BY RIC GETTER A ringside seat at a Macworld keynote had become one of the hottest tickets in the tech world. Though I had been to quite a few, through good years and bad, the excitement never quite wore off. As the magic hour approached, press credentials confirmed, we'd be squeezed between silk ropes and I'd find myself cheek to jowl with some of the biggest names in technology journalism, trying to avoid treading on the feet of 's Lev Grossman or whacking Andy Ihnatko with my camera bag. Fast flying rumors were about to become fact (or fiction), and there was always a sense that what we were going to hear over the next two hours or so was going to change our world. Eventually, we would be herded in, and I'd be squeezed into a seat juggling my laptop and too much camera gear. But the greatest challenge was knowing that I was being called upon to report, as objectively as I could, on a presentation by one of the people I admired most in the world. Okay. I admit it. I idolized the guy. I experienced the reality distortion field first hand and reveled in it. But for me, it went much deeper. Apple was part of my life, part of my everyday environment. When a Mac 128 wound up on my desk late in the winter of 1984 (at least Silicon Valley's version of winter), I sensed that a revolution had begun. For computers, this would be the new reality. At that point, I hadn't thought much about the driving force behind the new design or even about the blood, sweat and tears that went into its creation. I looked at computers as the product of companies and design teams, not in terms of the vision of a single individual. Hard Times Not many years later, I would burn with anger and frustration as one of the Mac minority when snarky Windows people would ask if I thought Apple would be bought by Sun or would they fold by spring and would steadfastly refuse to acknowledge either fate (though I silently feared the possibility). When Steve Jobs returned as the iCEO, I watched the world world once again began to change. First came a new computer, as startlingly unique as the Apple II and original Mac. Then came a music player that was even more extravagantly priced than Apple's computers, but soon became far more popular. Then came a service that made it far easier and more attractive to buy music than to steal it. Then, of all things, came a mobile phone—one that introduced an interface as revolutionary as the mouse and desktop. Though most phones in the United States were virtually being given away, hundreds lined up at Apple Stores for a chance to drop several hundred dollars on one of these. The Multi-Touch interface became the de facto standard of succeeding generations of smartphones everywhere. At the time, we didn't know that the iPhone was simply a trial run for the device that was Jobs's real goal: the iPad. The culmination of a series of innovations that began with the iPod, the iPad launched was essentially a new personal technology market. Jobs was not really an inventor (though his name is, quite rightfully, on a number of Apple's patents). He was, however, one of the tech age's most brilliant innovators who was able to build one of the most effective design and development teams in history. His artistic genius and eye for detail was responsible for creating products that people didn't just want, they craved. The public would never see an Apple idea until considered it perfect in every way. He would never be satisfied with "incredibly good." It had to be . The Showman Though thoroughly reclusive in his private affairs, Jobs was arguably the most talented showman in American business. In front of an audience, his ability to work an audience into a frenzy is the stuff of legend. He painstakingly worked out each element: staging, lighting, timing, visuals, even carefully choosing the music played while the audience entered. Though each keynote and product introduction was choreographed and rehearsed with obsessive perfection, they would come off with the air of an excited geek showing of his coolest new toys to his friends. For every minute of the show, he made sure that it wasn't he, but his products and company that stayed at the center of the stage. He would receive the cheers and standing ovations not with a bow, but only a modest nod. This was Apple's moment, not his. There will never be another Steve Jobs and I'll never have a chance to experience anything like a Steve Jobs keynote. However, I am confident that the company he built will continue his tradition insanely great products and innovations that will, on occasion, change the world. It was simply my remarkable fortune to experience the Steve Jobs era first hand. 42 MacDirectory h e i n s a n e l y g r e a t T i m e

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