Steve Jobs: Done Too Soon

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Richard S. Ginell - From Out of the The WestBy Richard S. Ginell: From Out of the West

A giant has fallen before his time should have been up – and I got the news minutes after it was announced on my Apple MacBook laptop.  Which shouldn’t come as a surprise, since my laptop has become my office, my typewriter, my publishing arm, my archive, my primary research tool, my CD and DVD player and burner, my satellite music collection, my television set, my mailbox, my newspaper, my photo lab, my musical instrument, my road map, my weatherman, my shopping mall, my consumer guide … and I’ll bet that’s not even close to a complete list.

No doubt about it, Steve Jobs changed my world and your world and everyone’s world with one revolutionary, snazzy-looking, easy-to-operate gadget and gizmo after another.  If there is a comparison in the music world for such a track record of constant innovation over a lifespan, it would have to be Stravinsky or Miles Davis – who were also able to lead the way to something new, different and pathbreaking again and again.

And not only that, Apple is one of maybe a tiny handful of companies in this sick, sad world that on the whole, give capitalism a good name.  Apple consistently puts out reliable, stable and innovative stuff, each new model an often-significant and sometimes revolutionary upgrade over its predecessor without raising the price – or if they do, it’s a very modest increase. Moreover, Apple listens to its customers; if they try to pull something, the Apple scruffs let them have it with both barrels, and very often, they back down. I disagree with the idea of planned obsolescence – and Apple has ticked me off when their constantly-surging new technology isn’t backwards-compatible. Yet almost every time, in the short and long run, I have to admit that their innovations have made life online easier, more fun, more productive.

Yes, I know this is a music blog (lousy music critic, what does he know?) – but Steve Jobs, coming From Out Of The West in the Silicon Valley, has had an incalculable impact upon the way we work, the way we increasingly procure and listen to music, certainly the way in which many now make their music.  Many thanks, Steve, for jumping in to save Apple a few years after I started using Apple equipment despite dire warnings that the company was on the ropes.  Thanks for stubbornly maintaining Apple as a unique entity that calls its own tune and doesn’t regard quality control as a profit-killing nuisance. And thanks for all of the toys.