In retrospect, not a surprise. Steve's fight with cancer has been much discussed, and his step back from Apple was as much a portent as anything. But still, a bit of a shock and some unexpected sadness as I learned the news last night, while poking around Facebook on my iPad.
I'm an apple-come-lately kind of girl myself. As a techie I've been PC savvy since the early days - cutting my teeth on an HP workstation (something like a glorified calculator with a full keyboard, tiny CRT, and HP-Basic), then graduating to office PCs. I've dabbled in CP/M. But mostly I've grown up along the IBM / DOS / PC / Windows channel because so much of my professional software and applications were PC-only.
Also, as a notorious skinflint, a MAC was just never within reach.
As a musician, one might think that the iPod might have caught my attention. But I've never been much of an earbud person, preferring live music, the car (where CDs are perfectly serviceable) and the home as listening environments, and NPR to music most of the time anyway.
That all changed with the iPhone. I was charmed by the original iPhone but it was still a bit pricey. When the iPod Touch came out, however, I bit. My love affair was short-lived; I left the touch on the back of a vehicle while ballooning and drove off; it was never found. But I was hooked, and it was not long before I traded up to an iPhone 3G.
And last spring, as I turned to corner at 50, I treated myself to an iPad which has remained a favorite tool/toy.
Steve was my generation, my people. The Apple II came out when I was in college, a few of the more well off and geekier engineering students had them in the dorm. I remember marveling at early versions of flight simulator. Steve and Woz and Apple were protoypes of what an engineer could do with his/her life. So to lose him, relatively young and inordinantly privileged, demonstrates that we are all slaves to time and the capriciousness of health and vitality; technology, health care, none of it can save us.
Thanks for the tools and the toys, Steve. Thanks for the changes your visions have wrought on this world. Hopefully you've planted enough seeds and infected enough of us to carry your work into the future.