Five years ago today, Apple’s guru, genius, and godhead, Steve Jobs, lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, but if technology’s most famous innovator was still alive, would he be happy with the way his company has changed the world and the way we live?
Even if you’re a die-hard Samsung fan — and there’s still a few of them out there — you cannot deny Steve Jobs’ legacy. If Bill Gates is the technology world’s version of Paul McCartney, then Jobs is definitely its John Lennon.
A born maverick with a strange charisma, a massive mythology now surrounds the man in the black turtleneck and ill-fitting jeans, who, according to Google Trends, still dominates online searches in a way Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and, of course, Gates can never hope to achieve.
Death has a habit of conveying immortality on those from the ranks of the great and good it takes at an early age. Yet even before he passed away, Jobs was viewed as a visionary across the world and was more famous than anyone in the world of tech hitherto thought possible for one of their own.
Maybe it had something to do with his early experimentation with LSD, something Jobs described as “one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life,” which endeared him to people from all generations.
Or maybe it was because the vegetarian who dabbled with Zen Buddhism was a college drop-out who proved raw talent and ambition beats qualifications and toeing the line every single time.
Or maybe it was just because his bizarre phobia of buttons paved the way for the arrival of the sleek, user-friendly, and buttonless iPhone, which was the beginning of the beginning.
One thing is for certain: Apple, the company Jobs co-founded, just isn’t the same since he disappeared from the scene at the age of 56, leaving long-time friend and close collaborator Tim Cook to helm the ship.
Yet, despite improving the company’s value from $50 billion to $600 billion in the last five years, Cook has never come close to receiving the sort of universal acclaim still bestowed upon his old friend.
This, however, doesn’t bother Cook, who told the Washington Post, “To me, Steve’s not replaceable—by anyone. He was an original of a species.”
Of course, it was the aggressive pluck of Jobs, his willingness to keep pushing the envelope, and raw refusal to rest on his laurels that made Apple such a dominant force.
In the five years since his death, the statistics speak for themselves. More and more of the world has become “Applefied.” If we’re not spending a large part of our lives using and being governed by Apple products, we’re using products that have been heavily influenced by the old fruit.
This is Jobs’ legacy, but would it have made him happy?
He’d probably be buzzing that Apple was still dominating the marketplace, if not quite so happy with its lack of groundbreaking innovations. Then again, how often do ideas as sensational as the iPhone come along?
Yet, the increase in screen time, social isolation, physical inactivity, and breakdown in real-life interaction, which Apple products have been in part responsible for over the last five years, may give Jobs cause for concern.
The Inquisitr reported in 2014 that although Jobs may have had an instinctive flair for technology, he was a low-tech parent who firmly believed in restricting his children’s access to electronic devices.
“We limit how much technology our kids use at home,” said Jobs in 2010, expressing growing concerns about his children’s gadget use.
Apple products such as iPhones and iPads are often used as pacifying devices by over-tired and over-stressed parents looking for a little down time at the end of a working day, but here’s the rub: It doesn’t take long for the all too familiar “screen addiction” to kick in. Before you know it, the kids are looking for a bite of the mighty Apple at every available opportunity.
It’s probably why Jobs always limited the technology his kids used around the house.
Walter Isaacson, the author of Steve Jobs, spent a lot of time at the Apple co-founder’s home and confirmed that face-to-face family interaction always came before screen time for Jobs.
“Every evening Steve made a point of having dinner at the big long table in their kitchen, discussing books and history and a variety of things. No one ever pulled out an iPad or computer. The kids did not seem addicted at all to devices.”
[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]