Mac with a Soul: Steve helped us to do our Jobs better

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By Sengupta /  06 Oct 2011 , 14:27

Last morning, I woke up to text messages, BBMs, Facebook status updates, tweets, emails and blogs on the iPhone 4s. And little by little, as the day unfolded, I contemplated, in all seriousness when to finally get myself an iPhone. Despite the negative reviews, the undelivered high expectations and the lacklustre design rants from technocrats across the globe, my mind was made up by about midnight. I would dump my Hangberry. And get myself the real phone for creative professionals.

Cut to 24 hours later.

My vivid dreams of asking Siri dirty questions and expecting factually correct answers were interrupted violently by the same steady flow of virtual pokes and tweets. Only this time, the news wasn’t so great.

It’s easy to misread communication. Especially when you are one-eyed and still groggy. “RIP. Steve Jobs”, read the status update of a friend. OK. I know he’s upset with the new iPhone, I thought. But Jobs is retired, right? The voice in my head spoke up. I felt a sudden chill in the room and a knot in the stomach that I just couldn’t ignore. So in my same dilapidated state, I reached for and fired up my MacBook Pro. Yes, I sleep with it. Not that you never have.

I hit Wikipedia. And stared. This had to be dream. I sat up. There right after his name someone had keyed in an end date to the man. Like the reign of an ancient king, from one AD to another AD.

Gandalf is dead.

As a creative professional, I remain devastated. As a human being, I feel cheated. Devastated, because I do not know who will understand my needs better. Cheated, because now we will never know what our lives could become.

Numb. I don’t know what to do and where to go next.

Jobs with the Mac
The way the MacBook looked inspired us. It made sitting at our desks for hours a rewarding experience. Tony Avelar/AFP

I have not grown up with Apple. That is not my generation. I grew up playing with my 486DX and PCs with similar complicated names like that. By the time, I hit my fifth PC, I was a certified hardware geek. I could rattle of names and specs of motherboards and video cards. Overclocking CPUs made me feel special. I was in a complicated world where only the learned survive. I was the systems settings savior.

And when I got my first iMac, it looked complicated. Once after installing Photoshop, I waited patiently for the system to ask to reboot, for a good hour. Finally, when nothing happened, I gave up and restarted it myself.

It was then that I realised. This is not a computer. It is a device designed to better my life.

And that remained the man’s obsession. The reason why many do not look at Apple as a technology company, like they do for instance with IBM or Dell. It is more of a design house that hires a lot of artists who also love science. And use it liberally and in new ways to make their art better. The only difference being that this art becomes personal.

Every brushstroke makes our hearts sing. Every colour gets our pulses racing. It seems alive. And true to our very primitive and basic traits as humans, we tame it with our touch. We pinch, we swivel, we tap, till such time this magic doesn’t merely change us. It becomes us.

We had just about reconciled to the fact that we would not see the black turtleneck and blue denims any more. Year after year, the keynote was by far the most downloaded clip the next day. Creative people who otherwise cannot sit through a five-minute product demo would be transfixed with a glassy look in their eyes watching a man alone on a stage with a giant screen behind him. And not just creative people. Entrepreneurs, Apple haters, Television Evangelists, Technocrats, college kids – everyone had something to take out from it. Hell, TED made a million dollar idea out of it.

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