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The Daddy of the Mac

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[UPDATE, 6/10/2011: Steve Jobs passed away on 5th October 2011]

The picture above in itself is iconic. It shows some of the most influential entrepreneurs of the internet age, dining with US President Barack Obama, toasting to the digital future that they’ve partly helped to shape. On the night of 17 February, 2011; Barack Obama, during a trip to the San Francisco Bay Area, hosted a dinner for the country’s top tech CEOs. The guest-list included Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt, Facebook-founder Mark Zuckerberg, and the iDude himself – Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs. These are the people who carry the internet-age’s torches in their hands, leading the pack from the front. This fact itself makes one want to print this photo and preserve it in a scrapbook. However, what this photograph is being increasingly noted for is something else. Seated to Obama’s left is a frail gentleman dressed in black shirt that seems a size too big for him. Although we can only see him from the back, his forearm looks like it could use pounds of flesh. If the media is to be believed, Apple CEO and co-founder Steven Paul Jobs may have as little as six weeks to live.

This is what you get on Google Suggest when you search for “Steve Jobs”

In January this year, Steve Jobs took a medical leave of absence to focus on his health. He had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004, and has since undergone a liver transplant in 2009. A few days ago, The National Enquirer – a US tabloid that prints what to sane minds appears speculative nonsense – stated that Steve Jobs may only have six more weeks until he meets his maker. The Enquirer’s analysis was based on following Jobs around for an entire day, taking pictures of him and then handing them over to the two Doctors Gabe Mirkin and Samuel Jacobson to analyse and comment on. None of the doctors are oncologists or have met Steve Jobs personally [SOURCE]. Although most – including me – would be quick to dismiss the Enquirer’s report as trashy speculation; many people are genuinely worried that there could be a hint of truth in this report.

Steve Jobs is a man who has created magic partly with his two hands and mainly with his hundred billion brain-cells. He founded the company in 1976 with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. The rest, as they say, is history. Under Jobs’ dictatorship leadership, Apple created products that weren’t just state-of-the-art, but were eons ahead of anything that people had ever seen. In 1984, Apple introduced the Macintosh – a computer like none other; a computer that cast the template for how a personal computer should be. After Jobs was fired in a boardroom coup in 1985, Apple entered a slump-age. They briefly made innovative products like the PowerBook, which set the standards for the design layout of the modern laptop; however they soon ran out of ideas and were termed a dying company. The company’s rise to profitability was seen soon after Jobs was re-hired in 1996. As soon as he became the CEO, he tightened the leash on the company and made sure that they products they made were top-notch and utterly desirable. Using sharp marketing, creative design and clever business strategy, Apple brought to us some of the toys that consist of many a kid’s and adults’ festival-dreams. The iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad are some of the objects that redefined how we use digital technology. All of this has been the handiwork of one man – Steve Jobs.

His charisma is incomparable. It is under his leadership that Apple has entered the Golden Age it is in. The man knows how to sell what he makes, and he does it well. Blame Apple all you want for being too secretive, too patent-hungry, too greedy and too restrictive. Tell Steve Jobs all you want that his cell phone doesn’t even have FM radio and can’t send files on Blutooth; but the truth is that you can’t stop drooling when a shiny iToy is dangled in front of your face. You want it, and you want it bad. The polish and refinement that is put into iProducts is what gives them the edge. Their fine attention to detail and an uncompromising attitude towards quality shows well in the gadgets they make. Who calls it an MP3-player? All portable music players are called iPods, whether they’re made by Apple or not. The iPhone was followed by the blackberry-touch, Android-based touch phones and Windows Phone 7 – based touch phones. The iPad was quickly followed by a worried Samsung with their Galaxy Tab. HP and Dell joined in the panic soon by making the Dreamscreen and the Streak. If Apple will make a car, they’ll redefine it, and everyone else will be quick to copy them. You can thank Steve Jobs for that.

Some would call me a (very devout) fanboy after reading the last paragraph. I’m not. The only Apple products I possess are an iPhone 3Gs and a now defunct iPod nano 4G. Like most people, I’ve cursed Apple for their restrictive policies, I’ve vented my frustration at the fact that I can’t do my own battery-removal, and at times, I’ve regretted the lack of FM in my cell phone. However, the last paragraph doesn’t lie. It tells the tale as it is. You’ll still drool when you see the new iPhone 5 if it launches this summer.

It’d be a sad and abrupt end to the Golden Age of Apple if the S-man passes away too soon. Again, like most people, I don’t believe in a single word the Enquirer has printed based on their long-distance diagnosis. They may have swayed the AAPL stock a bit, but that should be it. I hope Steve Jobs recovers soon and comes back to running the show at Apple for at least another ten years. After all, who would want to see a presidential toast to the digital future burn to a bitter-crisp?

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Written by parrymathur

February 18, 2011 at 2352

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