Thursday, October 6, 2011

We Lost Our Jobs

The world lost a true visionary yesterday when Steve Jobs, the co-founder and public face of Apple, apparently succumbed to pancreatic cancer. The world as we know it is a vastly different place than it would have been without his contributions. Think about it:

Macintosh computers changed the way we work, and made home computers friendly and accessible to the common man.

Pixar Studios, which Steve Jobs got involved with after his temporary ouster from Apple, changed the way animated movies are made, creating new programs to improve computer graphic animation (and they continue to innovate).

iPod changed the way we listen to and store music.

iTunes changed the way we purchase music and video.

iPhone changed pretty much everything about mobile phones.

As a graphic designer, I'm not sure I'd still be doing what I do for a living if not for Steve Jobs and the innovations that Apple brought to the industry. Twenty-five or so years ago, there was a dynamic shift in the graphic design world due to the arrival of the Macintosh computer on the scene. A few years later, at my first job in the business, I was lucky enough to work for a company that embraced the new technology of the Mac. Even so, we still had to produce a lot of paste-up mechanicals, which included cutting rubylith and amberlith for simple separations, calculating cropping and resizing of photographs, and shooting and developing stats on the big stat camera in the darkroom. Creating "camera-ready art" actually included a camera! And a huge one at that... not the kind we'd all be carrying in our mobile phones a couple decades later.

The Macintosh changed all that. Creating a layout became a fluid task, with the ability to change things like size and position on the fly. The whole process became exponentially faster and easier. It kinda seems that making tasks exponentially faster and easier is a common theme with all Apple products. And those products keep on spawning copycats and imitators, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I'll freely admit I'm a staunch Macophile and Apple fan.

It was only 10 years ago, on October 23, 2001, that Apple launched the iPod. Can you remember life without a portable music library and player? The first iPhone debuted just four years ago. Most people today can't live without one, or at least some kind of smart phone.

The Mac. The iPod. The iPhone. They changed everything. As my husband said, Steve Jobs was a world shaker. I don't know what the world will be like without him in it, but I'm guessing it will probably shake a lot less.

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