Like most Apple fans, I have never met the man. But we all seem to know him through his products and the yearly appearances at MacWorld shows in San Francisco.
What is it that triggers such a huge outpouring of grief and accolades at the passing of a man whose impact on our lives has largely been through the gadgets that we carry - notably the iPod, iPhone and iPad? Mr Steve Jobs was not only a visionary who created a great number of cool devices that millions took to. It was his ‘thinking differently’ that overturned conventional wisdom and led many of us down a path of discovery - about ourselves and the world we inhabit.
To have a user interface that best suits our innate needs instead of doing it the standard or accepted way - whether it is listening to music, talking on the mobile or surfing the Net. This is important as it resonates with our passions, an emotion frequently denied in this world of compromises.
Apple appeals to our hearts, not our minds. And Jobs was the prophet.
The iPod was not the first MP3 portable music player. Yet, when introduced in 2001, it swept the world.
To be so successful, surely Jobs must have seen something no one else did. The same goes for the iPhone (2007) and the iPad (2010). In fact, since Mr Jobs’ return to Apple in 1997, Apple has seen a great number of successful product launches, all due in no small way to his obsessive devotion to doing the right thing, be it design, functionality or the operating system. It is never easy to pursue one's passion so fervently, even if one is predisposed to it.
Mr Jobs did not have it all smooth sailing. The intervening years after leaving Apple in 1985 and returning in 1997, were not easy for him. NeXT computers were not a commercial success and Pixar came much later. Still, he persevered and set the tone for the greater battle ahead - resurrecting Apple.
Having been a Mac fan since 1982 when I first bought an Apple II, followed by the Lisa in 1983 and the first Apple Macintosh in 1984, I would say the period from 1985 onwards when Apple was run by CEOs John Sculley, Michael Spindler and Gil Amelio, were confusing years for the Cupertino company.
A slew of disappointing Macs and frequent policy changes took the edge off Apple's uniqueness and frustrated many diehard followers.
Even today, Apple still behaves like a kitchen Nazi at times and imposes its will on users. However, so long as the products churned out continue to be great, Apple devotees are fairly forgiving. And it is an emotional thing for Apple fans (PC users are just merely users).
At a Macworld keynote speech by Jobs in 2005 which I attended, I could sense the passionate charge in the air . Every time Mr Jobs announced something new, there were cheers and cries of approval. It was almost like a religious gathering.
This was the effect Jobs had on his followers and Apple fans had much faith in the great proselytiser. With him gone, many wonder if Apple will sink back to the mediocrity of the pre-1997 years.
We hope not. The folks at Cupertino owe it to their former CEO and his millions of fans out there, to keep Apple the way it is - an innovative zealot that always stays ahead of the curve.
It would be what Steve Jobs would have wanted.