Thursday, October 6, 2011

Farewell, Steve Jobs

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart." - Steve Jobs

Not once did I meet him, but Steve Jobs has touched my life in a way that many so-called icons and heroes of our time couldn't. I feel that God was gracious enough to put me on this planet at the same time as Steve. I was extremely lucky to witness the awesome presentations he gave, use the innovative products he dreamed up, and learn to really live a little from his inspirational way of perceiving life.

No words can describe what I really feel, and I can't believe he is really gone, but the legacy he created will never leave us. That's the most reassuring thing - that I'll always have a little bit of my hero with me every time I need to measure myself against someone truly great. He changed the world for the better, and it's always awe inspiring to realize that. We will all miss you Steve. Your impact on me has changed my life. Steve, I can't imagine life without your influence.

Last night, I learned about Steve's passing from a very close friend; a friend who equally holds Steve in a light brighter than most. A text read "Call me", and I did, knowing what we'd discuss. I was working on another project, and my concentration was blown. I opened up Safari to Apple's default start page. Three things I never thought I'd see were glowing on the screen in front of me. A large picture of Steve, his name, and below it, a set of years, "1955 - 2011", all in black and white. Ominously prominent, but very real.

I spent the evening looking up every major news outlet for articles about Steve. Some great, namely one by Walt Mossberg, and others very brief, but all of them had a common theme. A mythical titan of a man had left us, and no one again in creation will ever be able to step in to fill those New Balance shoes. I really thought hard about something; Steve Jobs lived for 56 years, each year seemingly more fulfilling than the last. Since the dawn of time, there has never been another Steve Jobs. Somehow, some way, I was given life at a time where I was able to watch him do what he did best. Innovate. I hope I can be an innovator someday.

"No one wants to die. Even people who wanna go to heaven don't wanna die to get there." - Steve Jobs

Think back to the scientific minds and philosophers you've read about in the history books. Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Isaac Newton all come to mind. Did you ever believe that you'd live to witness a man work who was equally as great, if not better than those minds? Steve Jobs belongs among those names so rightfully so, that already, you can open any book that relates to business in any way, and find some reference to Steve, Apple, or a product or industry they've created or changed. Some day, you'll be asked about this time, and you'll be able to talk about it because you were there.

This morning, when I woke up, I went for a drive. I came to a stretch of road between two towns where spreading fields surrounded you, and the road seemed to go on forever. I hoped in a way that it would, and that I wouldn't have to face reality for a while. A flock of geese flew overhead, and when I looked up, I noticed that there wasn't a single cloud in the clear blue sky. I didn't stop moving, but the world seemed to, if only for a moment, and I realized how lucky I am to have life in the face of death, especially here and now. Unfortunately, I had to turn off of that road, and I arrived at work, where I am a Network Administrator and Technician. I arrived at this job only because I was inspired years ago to get in to computers. I only got into computers because of Apple. In a way, I am where I am today because of Steve.

Two sets of dates will live forever in my mind; the 10 year period from 2001 to 2011. I remember where I was and what I was doing when the world lost Dale Earnhardt. An All-American hero in sports. I remember the shock of hearing that music legend Johnny Cash's house being burned to the ground. Now, I'll always remember the evening of October 5th, 2011, that I spent wide awake, reading and consuming everything I could about Steve Jobs. How I clung to the belief that I could somehow measure up one day. Maybe something I've done will mean something to someone, hopefully something I've said has helped somebody, and maybe what I just wrote made you realize that life is equally as fragile and precious for everyone.

Farewell Steve. You will truly be missed. You have touched my life, and endless others. I will always miss you.

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." - Steve Jobs

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Skippy's iPhone Event Predictions

"It's been a long time. How have you been?"

To quote Aaron Lewis, "It's been a while" since I've done a prediction post regarding an Apple Event. So I figured I owed it to you.

You should suspect that there is no redesigned iPhone, given that we have very little to go on regarding new hardware leaks. I'll go on the record and say that the iPhone 4S / 5 is an updated iPhone 4. Apple is all about how the iPhone "feels in the hand".

The iPod Touch is the polar opposite of that mantra. It feels like crap holding it to your ear, and rightfully so, since it's not made to be held like that. A tapered iPod Touch certainly is. All of these tapered rumors are for the iPod Touch, and those might not even happen this year. The iPod Touch is only going to go white and gain the A5 this year. Tapered designs are on hold, if not for next year, then indefinitely. I'm 99.9% certain.

Will the iPod Classic hit the end of the road? Good news. No. It's still too early, and to give a product the axe so close to its 10th anniversary at Apple would insulting to the iPod itself. It says that no matter how long a product works well and remains wholly unchanged, there's always a chance that it's on the chopping block. It's strange, but it's the only explanation I have. The Classic will not only go unmentioned again this year, it will be untouched - pun intended.

The iPod Shuffle on the other hand is not safe. It's the iPod that no one really ever talks about. You don't hear that often how "I love my iPod Shuffle" or "I wish Apple added (Insert worthless feature here) to the iPod Shuffle" - it just doesn't happen. Maybe the iPod Shuffle is perfect the way it is? Hell, Apple went right back to what it was two generations ago with minor alterations. HELL! Even the iPod Nano is now based off of the iPod Shuffle!

That all adds up to a big problem. The Nano has now evolved to handle the only thing the iPod Nano is good for - a clip-on-and-go music player. Its design was proven the way it was a few years back, and it proven again now that Apple brought the design right back. How do you evolve it without upsetting people? You don't. Everyone gets pissed off when you do.

The Shuffle is closer to the end of its life than the Classic, and no one realizes it. At least with the Classic, people always want a storage bump. People never request the Shuffle gains anything. There's a reason for that.

So that leaves the Nano. It's possible that it will get a storage bump, a price drop, or maybe even both. There was also a rumor a while back that referred to the implementation of a camera in the Nano. How cool would that be? The world's most compact and portable camera? I might buy one just for that reason. AS LONG AS IT CAN TAKE STILL PHOTOS IF IT CAN TAKE VIDEO. Excuse me, fifth generation Clickwheel Nano? HEAR THAT?

Referring finally to iCloud, I believe that our hopes of seeing it under Snow Leopard are bogus. A screenshot went around a while back that v10.6.9 would include it. You know the only problem with that? The v. Apple NEVER adds little V's in front of an OS version number. iCloud, for us iUsers will be Lion-Only.

Yes, to get the free iCloud, you need to upgrade to Lion for $29. Would you expect anything less? I think not. Either you get your PPC apps under 10.6, or you get iCloud under 10.7. You can't have both. Apple doesn't roll that way.

Did I hit it all? I think so. Two and a half hours to go now, folks! We'll find out soon enough, won't we? I'll grade myself after the event. Stay tuned.

I'LL ACE IT. LIKE I ACE LIFE. FTW... Or whatever the kids say.