By Zarina Holmes
Founder of Apple computer, Steve Jobs, died yesterday on 5th October. Creative director Zarina Holmes has never worked on any other computers but Apple Mac throughout her professional life as a creative.
This morning I learned from editor Salina Christmas that Steve Jobs had lost his battle against pancreatic cancer. She saw the news via a Facebook update on her iPhone. We quickly turned on our Macs to check if this was true. We broke into tears. Steve Jobs not only had invented a line of computer products that had changed the way we live, he had made millions of users’ life happy through his inventions.
I have never used a PC throughout my entire professional life as a creative and graphic designer. Since the mid nineties, I have only worked on Apple Macs.
My first ever Mac to work with was an Apple II in a small advertising agency. I also got to work with one of the first Apple Mac models too. It was this tiny rectangular box with a square screen. And boy, it was so slow.
I have gone through many versions of Apple Macs like I have gone through boyfriends – from Apple II to G2, G3, G4, iBook, iMac – but the Macs are far more satisfying and pleasant to be with.
I don’t miss PC or working with any computers that is not white in colour. What I love about Apple is that it understands creative people. Steve Jobs, a former video game designer at Atari, knew that pleasurable visual interface and the element of play is important while working and creating. He rescued visual people like myself from the cacophony of windows and folders on a PC, a pain I have to endure when using internet cafés abroad.
Jobs created the Mac like a designer would, to work around human behaviour.
Human beings are naturally adept to interpreting and communicating message via symbols and icons. Jobs introduced these elements to make a personal computer experience more friendly and fun.
While I was researching for my MA in Design at Middlesex University, there was a debate between visual communication designers, the Mac users, and the architects who were PC users. We concluded that the Mac has a far more “human” and “feminine” interface than a PC. It is a more suitable tool for carrying out creative tasks.
Jobs also introduced a work concept that you don’t have to be a programmer with C++ knowledge to create using a computer. Look at iMovie and Garage Bands editing suites. Undoubtedly many composers and filmmakers began their careers on these editing applications.
Under Jobs’s vision, Apple rolled out many game-changing innovations making information consumption and our day-to-day storytelling a pleasurable experience.
My personal gong will have to go to the iPod and iTunes. The iTunes has changed the way music is consumed, sold and distributed. The model is now considered by publishers to distribute stories and journals, via the apps. Shortly after loved one’s death a few years ago, my friend Chinh who was a designer based in San Francisco, brought me a gift “from California” to cheer me up. It was a white iPod Nano. I can’t live without it now. As a cyclist, it is my companion. I had even bought a white Ridgeback to match the colour of my iPod. Yes, I am that sad.
As an individual, Steve Jobs was truly inspiring. He began his life as an adopted child, given up by his parents due to circumstances. The odds were against him since day one, but he went on to create the most influential artefact in our lifetimes. He was a breath of fresh air when he introduced the Apple Mac in 1984, along with cool culture such Sony Walkman, break-dancing, hip hop and Yamaha synth-pop.
I don’t identify myself with any brand, but if I am one I am probably a Mac. Some years ago, I was interviewed by the commissioning editor of Microsoft Bing for the photo editor position. I told the editor I had never used a PC. He stared at me and said: “Well, we are PCs.” And I replied like in the advert, “I am a Mac.”
I didn’t get the job, of course. But hey, I escaped working with the much dreaded Windows. For that I owe you a big one, Steve Jobs.
Zarina Holmes is a designer. She loves her iPod. Read Salina Christmas’s tribute: “I’m a Mac too“.