Today our industry is much less than it was yesterday. We have lost one of the great innovators. Even more importantly, Steve Jobs’ family has lost a husband and brother and father, and our thoughts are with them.
What can be said that hasn’t been said? Steve has been arguably the single most influential driver and shaper of personal computing in every one of its five decades, from the 1970s to the 2010s. It’s obviously true for the 1970s (Apple, Apple ][) and 1980s (Mac). As for the 1990s, it should be enough that the Mac shaped essentially all of that decade’s desktop and notebook platforms, and icing on the cake that technologies pioneered at NeXT and Pixar so heavily influenced personal gaming and other personal computing. In the 2000s, suffice it to say that Steve put the personal i into modern computing and again transformed this industry, and other industries. Looking forward, absent some other world-changing event, it’s clear that the rest of the 2010s will see personal computing develop along the trail he and his teams have blazed already in this decade.
Here is a measure of a man’s impact: Imagine how different — how diminished — the world would be today if Steve had passed away ten years ago.
Makes our hearts fade a little, doesn’t it?
Now imagine how different — how much more — the world would be if Steve had lived another ten years.
Or another twenty. Or another fifty, as though what we have seen were but the first half of his life — and if the second half were not as a slowly aging, diminishing man, but with his health and strength and faculties as strong as ever for that much more time, a true fifty more years.
We are all cut down too soon.