Co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, died yesterday. Countless others have already eulogized him eloquently and passionately. I’m a fairly recent Mac convert. I don’t have a long history of using Apple products. I haven’t followed Jobs’s career over the years. I was sorry, in that abstract manner of basic human empathy, to hear several months ago that he was dying of cancer, but it would be untruthful for me to say that I was “sad” about it. But there are a few true things I can say about Mr. Jobs that I believe honor his memory.
I’ve had a MacBook Pro since October of 2008, and it’s almost three years to the day that I brought it home. In three years, I have had almost no significant problems with the software or hardware. My laptop is, to the best of my knowledge, free of malware and viruses. It has been incredibly easy to learn to use, and whenever I need to figure out how to do something new with it, it is easy to find out how. I don’t use it for much other than surfing the Internet and writing, but since those are two activities that are essential to my mental health and life projects, I am very grateful that my computer performs those functions with minimal difficulty. My processing speed has slowed down marginally since I first booted this puppy up, and programs will occasionally quit randomly, but these bugs are nowhere near as frustrating or tethered to slowness as every other computer I’ve had.
I don’t have an iPod, iPad, or iPhone. My iTunes is mostly full of music I’ve imported from my own CDs, but I have used the service to download some podcasts and Doctor Who episodes. I’m not a gamer, techie, or programmer, so I’ve had no need to customize my computer’s setup in any way, tinker with the hardware, or fiddle with the software; therefore, all the complaints I hear about Macs from my techie friends and family strike me as foreign and silly, since they don’t seem to consider the fact that some people (like yours truly) do not require a computer that does all the things they want (not need) theirs to do.
I’ve found the staff at my local Apple Store to be friendly, helpful, and patient — and I’ve almost never needed to consult them. My only link to Mr. Jobs is this MacBook, and it has served me well. It is a well-made, durable product. From my limited experience, it seems to me that Mr. Jobs was a solid craftsman who employed other solid craftsman to perfect the art of solid craftsmanship. None of this has anything to do with his personality, faults/strengths as a leader, the breadth/depth of his vision, or the degree to which he did/did not change the world. All I know is that my computer has done what I needed it to do, and with more efficiency, for a longer time than any other comparable product I have ever purchased. Steve Jobs’s company provided me with this product. If all he was known for was successfully running a company that provided a reliable, useful product that satisfied its customers, that would be rare and wonderful enough in a marketplace crowded with products that are designed to be (simultaneously, paradoxically) the newest and obsolete. After three years, my laptop basically still works as well as the day I bought it.
Thank you, Mr. Jobs. For three years, you’ve made my life a lot easier. God bless you for that, and God speed on your journey. ☕