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Thursday, 6 October 2011


I've been pretty slow to respond to the death of Steve Jobs today. It's taken me a while to come to terms with. After all, this man changed my life. Who else can I say that about? It's worth repeating. This guy changed my life. Here's why.

I came to the scary world of digital cartography very late - 1991. And I could have so easily missed the boat. Thanks to Malcolm Swanston and Swanston Publishing (early pioneers of DTP Cartography in the UK) I retrained. As I recall I first worked on an Apple Macintosh IIci, with a 40 megabyte hard drive. 

It sold for $6000. But it was a great machine. I could preview my work in colour! We were running Adobe Illustrator 3 and Freehand 3 on OS version 6, and later version 7. I did try using CorelDraw on Windows at that time, but the user experience was just not the same. I soon fell in love.

1989-1991 is sometimes called the first golden age for Apple, but it all went downhill from there. Innovative ideas, but performance was poor and under Gil Amelio's tenure things got worse. I bought a Performa for home use in the early 90's, and frankly it wasn't very good. 

 I ended up selling it to a mate. Apple's first PDA, the Newton, came out about the same time. Another financial failure - but it paved the way for the Palm, the iPhone and the iPad. The company were on it's knees by now. But there was still a spark of hope.


In 1997 Steve Jobs rejoined Apple. Let's call this day zero.
Remember him? He's the bloke who built the first Apple in his garage, later attached a mouse to it and re-invented the GUI. My facts may be wrong here - but hey, I'm an Evangelist, and that's what Evangelist's do!


In 1998 Apple launched the iMac. Holy Moly! Not a grey box, but curvy and cuddly. I bought a Bondi Blue RevB version and adored it. Within a year under Job's tenure Apple started to build the iLife suite. iMovie, iPhoto and Garageband soon became must-have consumer software. On the professional side, Final Cut Pro and Logic were added.

Things had been turned around and Apple are back in profit again, but what happens next is just, I dunno, amazing.

March 2001 saw Mac OS X released - a completely new architecture, and the transition was really smooth for me. How did they do that?
May 2001 - the first Apple store opens. Now there are 350.
November 2001 - 1st iPod goes on sale. OMG.
April 2003 - iTunes launched.
January 2006 - shift to Intel Macs.
January 2007 - iPhone launched. Another OMG.
July 2008 - App Store launched.
January 2010 - iPad launched. Yep, another one.

What a 10 years that was! The iPod is not yet 10 years old, and Jobs has changed the music industry forever. With the iPad publishing is going the same way. The mobile phone market has had to up it's game to match the iPhone.

I don't bow down to the altar of all things Apple - I have no iPhone or iPad, and my iPod is a £40 shuffle. But I adore my Mac. It's not my adversary. I treat it well and it returns the favour in being reliable, stable and dependable. It enables me to make a living, in a way that is an enjoyable interaction with technology. If only for that reason, thank you Steve Jobs.

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