I powered down my iPhone when I heard the news

For a moment of disconnectedness. From io9 and Slate.

RIP Steve Jobs, who made the world more science fictional
Today Steve Jobs' death has us all reflecting on how a technology entrepreneur could have changed our lives so much, leaving us a world where we can't imagine daily life without Apple products. Partly that was because Jobs was never just a technologist. He always seemed to start with a social or cultural question, and tried to answer it with technology. That's why we have to remember Jobs not just as a technology innovator, but as a culture producer who, among other things, ran the innovative movie studio Pixar.
The Man Who Invented Our World
If Steve Jobs hadn’t been around, what might that stuff have looked like? To appreciate how Jobs changed what you do every day, you’ve only got to look at how entire industries shifted after Jobs pushed Apple into them. Think of the BlackBerry, the Palm Pilot, the Creative Nomad music player, or MS-DOS. These are all perfectly serviceable technologies, things that got the job done. But none of them was transcendent. None was a dream to use, and most were a pain.

More importantly, they all represented the logical, Darwinian end point of major technological trends. The BlackBerry is the obvious result of smaller processors, smaller screens, and better cellular radios. If Research in Motion hadn’t created it, someone else would have. The iPhone, though, was not an inevitability. Every single thing about that device was the product of deep research, testing, and unyielding refinement. The “Jesus phone” underlines Jobs’ place at the head of this business. While every other company in tech has been shaped by the forces of technological evolution, with their products getting better as chips got faster and cheaper, Jobs had no patience for evolution. He was the intelligent designer.

Jobs’ best talent was his ability to spot the pain points in every technology he touched. He could look at anything and tell you why it sucked. This became his standard formula for unveiling new products: He would begin by explaining what was awful about the industry he would soon supplant. Old-style smartphones? They were encumbered with buttons that were there whether you needed them or not, and that remained static for every application you used, leaving very little room for a screen. Portable music players? The ones before the iPod stored too few songs, transferred your music too slowly, didn’t catalog your tracks in any useful way, and were too large and ungainly to carry with you. Pre-iPad tablet PCs? If you got him started on those things, you’d be there all day.


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