Apple, Steve Jobs, and Me
Thursday, October 06, 2011 - 08:00 AM
I started writing on a computer in the early 1980s when I worked at Time magazine. The several of us younger writers, including Walter Isaacson, who were eager to abandon typewriters had to go to use special non-PC consoles in a special little room. There were no PCs, no on-screen icons, no mice.
A few years later I bought my own PC to use for writing at home; it was useful but it was no fun to use. But my friend Tom Phillips, a Stanford business school graduate with whom I was in the process of co-founding a magazine, had a computer that he loved using. He was the first Apple cultist I knew. His Macintosh was a little toylike for my tastes, but it became the computer on which we dreamed up and launched Spy magazine.
I joined the Apple cult around 1990, and I'm now on my fifth desktop and third laptop.
For a while, around the turn of the century, I was living and working in a place without cable or phone-wire internet access, so I signed up for satellite service, which in turn required me to use a non-Apple PC. I hated it. I felt like I had been sentenced to serve time in the clunky 1980s.
In late 2000, I had co-founded a web-based publication covering entertainment and the media, and was trying to put together a conference of muckety-mucks in the field. I emailed an invitation to Steve Jobs, and he emailed back immediately to decline, very nicely — he was too busy. So he was: the next year iTunes and the first Apple store appeared.
In general I'm not someone who covets gadgets. But when the iPhone was announced in 2007 and I saw a video of it in action, I had an immediate, visceral, intense desire to have one. When the first iPad came out in 2009, I vowed to resist: I had a PowerBook, why did I need this? But in a few weeks my resistance dissolved and I bought one.
Like so many people, I learned that Jobs had died from a news alert I received on my iPhone.