I’ve just watched Twitter go beserk, and for the past 30 minutes, the only tweets I’ve seen on my feed have the hashtag #RIPSteveJobs attached to them.
People who criticised Apple, people who outright hated Apple have had to, over the years, admit that Jobs was a genius.
His foresight and innovation has been so forward thinking that the iPad still has no rival. And that’s two, nearly three, generations in.
As one person I just spoke to said “Jobs was the rock star of IT”. It’s an apt analogy. The impact this has had on me personally, and plenty of other people if Twitter is to be believed, is similar to Michael Jackson’s passing a few years ago.
And why not? He’s made the lives of millions of people more fun (iPod) and more productive (iPhone). He’s turned technology into something that everyone can use. He single-handedly reversed the fortune of Apple and eased it into the position as the #1 company in the world.
The iPad and iPhone are daily companions for me. I didn't invest in them because they were “Apple” products. It was that they worked and were easy for me, a tech journalist with little patience for technology, to use. In fact, those two devices have replaced my PC entirely at home. That’s a substantial impact on my life that Jobs has had, and I’m just one of a very large group.
So while I never had the good fortune to meet the man, he has had a profound impact on the lives of millions, and in making the competition scramble to keep up with Apple he’s indirectly furthered the rapid development of the entire industry.
And in doing so he’s been responsible for the gainful employment of hundreds of thousands of people. He’s given software developers, even the one and two man little startups, opportunities that they would never have had otherwise thanks to the App store.
Perhaps it’s fitting that he passed just as the iPhone 4S comes to market. Jobs was so clearly passionate about his company and products that his life should be linked to Apple’s products: that way the launch of the iPhone 4S can act as a phoenix of sorts, of his legacy continued.
Nobody expects Apple will suffer as a business. Like any great leader, Jobs surrounded himself with very good people, and Cook and co. will keep his legacy alive and strong. But the world did just lose a true visionary and Jobs’ influence will, hopefully, never be forgotten, and will be unlikely to be matched any time soon.