Thursday, August 25, 2011

#SteveJobs resigns as CEO of #Apple

I was never a massive fan of Apple until about 5 or 6 years ago when I bought into the iPod rage, already going for quite a while before then. I purchased my first iPod, the 2nd generation Nano, that long thin thing, at the recommendation of one of my best friends and a massive Apple fan. I haven't turned back since then.

When the iPhone was released unto the world in mid-2007, I was amazed. I remember playing with the online demo on the Apple website, learning all I can, and desperately wanting one. Sadly, it was for the American Market only. Still, not too long after, the iPod Touch was announced. The next best thing.

I couldn't place an order in the Brussels Mac Store, but the guys at the shop suggested I keep checking in with them because they didn't know when the stock will arrive. I must have called twice everyday for a few weeks, when one late afternoon, the guy said: "the stock is coming in at 5pm. You can pick yours up before we start selling tomorrow if you can make it before we close." Clearly, he wanted to get rid of my hounding.

Very quickly, my bag was packed and I hopped onto the bus eagerly bouncing up and down for the 45 minute journey from work to the shop. I literally ran down the street with my heavy laptop case flying and sweating a heck of a lot in my suit. I didn't care! I paid what must have been €350 for, probably the first sold in Belgium, my own iPod Touch!

I loved it. It was the most innovative thing I've seen yet. It brought me closer to my dream of the future, something akin to scenes in Star Trek when everyone shared vast amounts of information on small digital pads. This was it!

I happily used it until I had a chance to buy a second hand iPhone, the original, first generation, from another friend. I bid a sad farewell to the Touch and sold it to a colleague before becoming a super early adopter of the iPhone. It was, and remains, the best phone I have ever owned. I did everything with it, and it did everything and more I ever needed.

Now, I've tried several phones in the past 3 or 4 years, but everything pails in comparison to Apple's genius creation. The BlackBerries are useless, they are popular because they got into the business market very quickly and monopolised it. Nokia fell way behind on their rubbish Symbian OS. HTC just didn't cut it, and neither did Samsung - the scrolling was so artificial, even though the processor was faster than Apple's.

I planned to replace my used-to-death iPhone 2G with the iPhone 4 last year. But for some weird reason, Apple decided to sell through Mobistar in this country, the mobile company also known as second worst of the four. They didn't have stock, and some stores even tried to extort me by asking me to pay the shopkeeper upwards of €150 to be put on his own, homemade pre-order list.

I was so upset, I gave up then sent a rather long letter to Apple to complain. Nothing happened, I blamed Apple, but then I thought a bit more and realised it wasn't them. It was simply because of the second worst mobile company in Belgium (worst is Proximus btw). Now, Apple seems to sell their phones directly, which makes more sense. Phones are by default unlocked here by law, only other place in Europe is Italy. The business model from the US should not have been ported here, no point.

In any case, I replaced the broken iPhone with this iPad and I could not be happier. This is easily the most useful thing in my life at the moment. That's why I take it everywhere and use it constantly! I think I fell in love with it the moment I first played with it on an American air base in Germany in the first quarter of 2010.

I've always been a PC person, not having grown up in the States. Macs weren't big at all in South Africa, or Taiwan for that matter. I've always consider Bill Gates as a demigod of some kind, and still do. My baseless hatred, before, of Apple came out of that PC vs. Mac battle. As I said, that changed a few years ago. More recently my boss, a big Apple fan, pointed me to Steve Jobs' commencement speech at his alma mater, Stanford, telling me that it was really inspirational and worth a watch.

How right he was. That short speech gives you an incredible insight into the man who dragged Apple out of the mud and made it into the world's biggest company, way ahead of Microsoft now.

Thank you Mr Jobs for bringing such massive technological steps forward for the world. You and your company have truly given us some really special gifts, even though you charge an arm and a leg for it, but quite justified since you're so far ahead of your competition. I wish you the best, especially in your health, and hope that you will still be able to contribute to the company you co-founded for a little while longer yet!

Correction: My friend Georgi just pointed out that Greece also sells iPhones unlocked. So that brings the unlocked tally in Europe up a bit :p Thanks for the tip!

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