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The Immortality of Steve Jobs

Thousands of years from now, archeologists will sort through the ruble of our civilization to see how we lived. What they are likely to find are piles of aluminum devices like iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, and iMacs. Like the two hundred year-old VW Beetle in Woody Allen’s Sleeper, some of them may even still work when charged or plugged in!

The intention of building the devices with blocks of aluminum was to make them tough and recyclable. While many will be recycled, many will simply survive forever. This will be part of the legacy of Steve Jobs.

I was born in the 50s and grew up with the evolution of personal computing, including Apple computers, Commodore Computers, IBM, and the launch for Bill Gate’s Microsoft Windows. Xerox innovated many of the technologies that Apple and Microsoft used to build their empires, but that is another story.

To be honest, I grew up mostly in the Microsoft world. The arrogance and fanaticism of Apple simply put me off. As funny as they were, the television ads with the Mac Guy and the PC Guy put me off buying a Mac for a few years. The ads played to myths about both platforms that simple were not true.

My first seduction was the iPhone 3 GS, which has outlived protective cases. I now toss it in a pocket with my keys with only minor attention to not having the keys rub on the glass. Ann has an iPad, which is amazing. If Steve Jobs had found a way to sandbox Flash! on the iPad, there would be little room for other tablets to compete.

I am typing this on a MacBook Pro with the Retina display. In many ways this laptop represents much of the legacy of Steve Jobs, including an elegant interface, great battery life, a wide range of software that comes with the computer, and low cost apps to download. It is arguably one of the best laptops ever made.

Among the many innovations made popular by Apple, iTunes helped provide a model that helped save the music business and the App store is pure genius.

iTunes also demonstrates a baffling quirk of Apple: You can buy a book through iTunes using a Mac, but there are only Apple readers available for IOS devices!?! I had to download a utility from Adobe to view a book I had downloaded from iTunes. On the other hand, Amazon provides a Kindle reader for virtually all computers and mobiles devices. Even Linux users can use the Amazon Cloud Reader. Hopefully the Apple oversight will be fixed by the time you read this.

Check out the Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson to learn more about the lasting legacy of Steve Jobs beyond the eternal aluminum devices.

Greg Dixon

March 4, 2013