There's no way I'm going to out geek the Apple geeks in their laments and thanksgivings for the life of Steve Jobs.
My life is better because Jobs shared his creativity in a way that inspired me to be creative. He gave (well, sold) me tools that helped me see in a concrete way what is possible. For all of the technical things I can't do, I can use a tool that gives me access to the world.
In the summer of 1979, I had the opportunity to go to computer camp. I had a good year of math in school (makes me wonder what happened later on), so I qualified for a camp in Seattle. I learned and played on computers for the first time in my life. That computer was an Apple II. I have since used Apple computers and products with a tech exclusivity since then (with some brief use of what was available to me at work--ugh). The camp was a lesson in branding. Show a 9-year old an experience and a logo, and you have them for life.
Apple products remind me something of what I hope for in the church--a point where the gifts of God are amplified. The problem with the PC for world with me was that I had to know something special in order to participate. With Apple, I could always jump right in. I know Jobs had something to do with that--an amazing combination of talent, skill and vision that has accompanied me in my life for 32 years. It will be interesting to see where Apple goes from here. But today, I give thanks for what Steve Jobs shared with the world.
Post Script--One thing I recognize about Apple products is their high cost. Jobs wasn't running a ministry or a charity. He developed products that people wanted and were willing to spend money to acquire. I have the financial means to be able to use these tools that Jobs' leadership helped create. Access is always a tenuous variable. Bill Gates' company spread computer use throughout the world with lower prices and the pervasiveness of their distribution chain. Access seemed limited because one seemed to require special knowledge to use PCs effectively. Jobs and Apple created higher priced products that were easier to use (I remember an ad campaign for Apple "the one that gets used"). This conglomeration of variables reminds me that barriers to access are everywhere, and we all seem to have different abilities to overcome them. But we all die eventually. The great equalizer.