Viewpoint: iSad

I remember Christmas morning 2003. No. 1 on my wishlist was the new third-generation iPod Classic in white: four buttons, the revolutionary click-wheel with no mechanical moving parts, thinner and yet capable of holding thousands of songs in my pocket. My dad had cleverly hidden the small package, so it wasn’t even under the tree. After we had opened what seemed to be all the presents — mostly clothes for me — I did my best to look grateful, but I’m sure he knew I was holding in disappointment. Finally, he had mercy on me and pulled out a small rectangular package. It felt solid in my hands, and heavier than I expected. I remember literally screaming when I tore off the red and green paper, exposing the clean picture of the thing I had coveted for so long: my first iPod.

Since that Christmas, I’ve had four other iPods, an iPhone and a MacBook. I happily admit to being a Mac-head. Every day, I have to talk myself out of buying the new MacBook Air so I can actually pay for school.

With that said, I have to express my sadness at the passing of Steve Jobs.

At this point, it is no longer breaking news. But I wish to draw attention to the ramifications this could have for Apple and its community of faithful consumers. Some might remember the Apple of the ’90s. It was a dying entity, more than $1 million in debt and losing customers faster than Chuck-A-Rama after a food poisoning scare.

Jobs, a co-founder of Apple, was pushed out by the company’s board of directors in the early ’80s. He’d recently introduced the new Macintosh personal computer, which cost nearly $3,000. After he left the company, Apple, which had been a strong rival of the other PC companies, fell into its dark ages. It wasn’t until 1997 that Jobs was asked to return to the brand. Within three years, he gave us the first iPod.

Notorious for pushing out new versions of existing products seemingly every week, no one can deny Jobs’ and Apple’s commitment to innovation. Many have even questioned whether his legacy will surpass that of Einstein.

But, without Jobs, what will happen to Apple? We’ve seen a Jobs-less Apple before, and it nearly killed the company. Can Tim Cook fill those enormous shoes? Will Apple die with Jobs?

I submit that it will not, but only because of Steve Jobs. It is thanks to his marketing strategy and the company’s drive for newer, cleaner, better, faster products that have given Apple its staying power. There is a younger generation of Mac-heads who will keep the company alive. Enough of us are addicted to our iPhones, iPods, iPads, MacBooks and iTunes to keep Apple alive. It’s hard to say Cook will have the same influence as Jobs, but the corporate giant will live on.

I echo the words of President Barack Obama: “There may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.”