2 hours ago,cbae wrote
Meh. Steve Wozniak was the one who proved you can build a PC small enough for the mass market. Commodore was the one who truly popularized the PC in the home. Research in Motion is the company that popularized smart phones. The term "Crackberry" was coined before the iPhone was even a twinkle in Steve Job's eye. Microsoft and Windows are responsible for pushing advancements in both graphics cards/GPUs and the DRAM to the point that it's cheap enough to even put into devices like smart phones and tablets.
All of these things would have happened with or without Steve Jobs. The only thing I'll credit Steve Jobs for is turning gadgets into aspirational products, which IMO is bad for the advancement of technology.
Perhaps the truth is somewhere in the middle. Personally, there are a few big names that I look up to in certain respects - and frown upon in certain other respects - and they have been role models in one way or another. Jobs is one of them. I don't like certain myths and certain mystic that has been built up around his character, but really appreciate the drive and ambition, and the foresight to drop everything and focus entirely on making your dreams happen. He couldn't have done it without Woz, and without a huge number of people that all bought into his vision for what a computer should be like. That's saying a lot. It's hard to drive the direction of millions or billions of people.
Apple under Jobs was in my mind, a company that drives a style of ergonomics and interface design that has played a vital role in IT, and helped to drive ubiquity. Not everyone wants an ugly beige box in every room. People like the look of Apple hardware and so it is more likely to be used by people. It's comfortable. Aside from everything else that is technically breathtaking, and always pushing the limits, and close enough to engineering perfection that it raises the bar on everyone, their designs have been inspiring. Jobs drives that kind of attention to detail; there are stories abounding on the internet, especially today, that talk about his attention to detail in the products Apple and partners make. One of the biggest contrasts between MS and Apple is that eye for the artistic detail. A software developer claims, "I love elegant code". Steve wanted elegant software and hardware. The interface is the hardware and you have to program that as well - it doesn't stop at the software layer. By program, I mean plan a design, solve problems in the design, and implement solutions.
In the end we'll see if like-minded people pick up the reins and can do what Jobs has done so successfully in the past. I don't think it's the "reality distortion field" they need. They need actual vision, and the sheer force of will required to bring it to fruition. When other CEOs focused on the bottom line, Jobs remembered to focus on the design, and showed that the rest will follow.