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PowerMac 8500/120
[My desk circa 1997: PowerMac 8500/120, Apple Display, Apple laser printer, Iomega ZIP drive]

When I originally set out to write this post, I wondered whether it would focus more on Steve Jobs’s lasting legacy on the design world, the imminent closing of the Book Warehouse chain, or the newly issued iPad3. All three appear to be linked.

Although I’ve had Walter Isaacson’s hardcover book sitting on my shelf for several weeks, I’ve only recently been able to pick it up, plow through its 571 pages, and thus finally (five months later) come to grips with the fact that Steve is now longer on this planet.

Yes, I’m one of *those* Apple fans. I lived in both Southern and Northern California in the 80’s and (most of) the 90’s, having bought my first SE/30 (with an additional 13″ colour display) back in 1992. A good friend worked at Apple then, and he would frequently mention the ‘unpleasantries’ between the execs and the company culture’s less than perfect scenario.

In the winter of 1998, we were invited to the Apple campus to witness the live stream keynote and unveiling of the coloured iMacs. This was during a holiday to California, just over a year after I’d moved to Europe. The excitement of a new product (years later witnessed through online keynote addresses), always left the crowd awestruck, immediately coveting the latest creation.

Flower Power iMac 2001
[Flower Power iMac. Yes, I own one of these.]

Reading this biography made me again realize what an indelible footprint Jobs has left on both the technology and design fronts. His aim in life was to marry the two and keep them happy for eternity. Being a graphic designer, I can appreciate his insane attention to detail, to the point of often driving his team crazy day and night. He even obsessed over the oxygen masks used in hospital while he was receiving a liver transplant, inspecting several masks before he chose one (by that point, his wife Laurene was able to calm him down enough to let the medical team do their work).

It’s only fitting that I finish this book a day before the latest iPad is about to hit our doorstep. It may be the last hardcover book I read in awhile, if the iPad is everything it’s cracked up to be (my husband has the original version, but I don’t often get the chance to use it). Come to think of it, the iPad3 will be my first Apple product in a post-Steve world.

And with Book Warehouse (and others, including Kitsilano’s Canterbury’s) through, it’s a growing testament to the world of digital readers (iPad included) that consumers are ready to bring their reading piles onto the tablet.

I highly recommend the book, as it’s finally a way to understand the personality behind the brand. Though there’s been online backlash since its release, I take most things with a grain of salt and along with millions of other Apple fans, am grateful that someone’s come along to move people so passionately.

To quote Steve Jobs, “Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. One is very fortunate if you get to work on just one of these in your career. Apple’s been very fortunate it’s been able to introduce a few of these into the world.”

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