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Steve Jobs, who recently stepped down as CEO of Apple, has made an unparalleled contribution to computing, music, design, technology and, well, our lives. Here are my top reasons to celebrate his work.

  • He made tech sexy. For my money, this is why the iMac could be his greatest achievement: it introduced the notion of gadgets as lifestyle items. We now take this concept so completely for granted that it’s hard to imagine life without it, but at the time the idea that your computer should actually look good was earth-shattering. Later, of course, Jobs dramatically upped the design ante on music players, phones and tablets in exactly the same way.
  • He made music marvellous. I don’t say this lightly – iTunes, the iTunes store and the Genius algorithm have genuinely revolutionised the way I enjoy music. Building playlists, discovering related tracks and an iPod on shuffle deliver auditory revelations at the touch of a button. Back in the day, you’d have to listen to the radio for hours or buy LPs on spec for the same experience. (Yes, I’m old.)
  • He made business try. With his credo of ‘real artists ship’, and the whole way he ran Apple, Jobs showed what it really meant to run an innovative company that also kicked major commercial ass. In doing so, he surely inspired anyone who’s ever hoped to marry creative integrity with real-world success.
  • He made work easier. By pouring so much love and attention into user interface and usability generally, Jobs made the experience of using a computer a pleasure – something Microsoft still, rather endearingly, just cannot get right. From installations that ‘just work’ to indispensable functionality like Spotlight, Apple simply gives you more of the insanely great features that make your working life as easy as it can be without retiring.
  • He made life digital. I must admit, I found the concept of ‘your digital life’ a little twee when it first surfaced. A few years on, and it’s become so obvious that the phrase has had to be retired. Apple has done more than anyone to put the media we like into the form we want, and let us take it anywhere we go. Jobs’ most recent triumph, the iPad, looks forward to a time when the consumption of digital media will move centre stage as our central leisure activity – if it hasn’t already.

So those are my top reasons to love Steve. What are yours?

Image courtesy of ijsmblog