The outpouring of emotion, eulogy and analysis sparked by Steve Jobs’ death has been overwhelming. Like much of the world, I found out he had died on one of his devices (an iPod Touch). I’ve been reflecting since on why his insight into what people needed was so profound, especially since he despised consumer research and relied on his intuition.
Why are these products so appealing? It’s not just that everyone wants the latest toy, although that is part of it. To me, it’s that each machine lets you do things you didn’t even know you wanted to do. The Touch lets me play music, check emails, play games, keep my contact list, look at videos, carry photos around with me, chat with friends–in a small package that fits in my pocket or purse. With an iPhone I could take photos and call people as well. And do a million other things it never occurred to me were fun to do.
Ten years ago those possibilities did not exist. But other devices have come along. Why are Apple products the ones people want? I think it’s because they are stylish, sleek, simple and cool. And also because they were FIRST, in perception if not in fact.
Will Apple go forward without its guru? It’s hard to imagine, but life, and companies, do go on. No one else will have the passion, taste and inability to suffer fools that Steve Jobs did, the intolerance for anything but the best. May he rest in peace. May he inspire some other brilliant perfectionist to create the next best thing.