I was lying in bed last night, taking a last look at email on my iPad before lights out, when I saw the breaking news note from NPR announcing the death of Steve Jobs, Apple co-founder and modern-day Merlin. The setting itself tells much of the story of Jobs’ impact and accomplishments.
While IBM and Microsoft set out to make the computer ubiquitous in the workplace, it was Jobs who envisioned how personal computing would change the way we lived at home. And the two approaches to technology could not be more different. The computer as engine of production vs the computer as platform for personal expression.
While the industry as a whole made progressive generations of devices ever more powerful and effective, Jobs always took the process further, making them also more elegant, more intuitive to use, better focused on serving specific desires, and in the end both beautiful and obscurely pleasant to hold. Good was never good enough for him. With a peculiarly American over-the-top approach, he insisted that Apple creations be “insanely great.”
He didn’t always succeed, but his many successes were transformative: of his own industry, of the media, of personal style, and of what the world should expect from technological innovation.
Jobs and his creations have also worked their transformative alchemy at NCPR. We have just finished development of the NCPR station app for the iPhone. We had intended to test the final version in-house for a few more days, but with the passing of Jobs, we decided that today was the right day. You can find it in the iTunes Store via this address: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ncpr-public-radio-app/id467968857?mt=8. Or just open the iTunes store and search “NCPR.”
Try it out on your iPhone and tell us how you like it in a comment below.