Steve Jobs is dead.
To some, news of Apple’s co-founder and former CEO came as a complete shock. Others saw the writing on the wall when Jobs resigned from his position as CEO in August 2011.
Jobs was both a visionary and a creative genius, giving us iPods and iPads, iMacs and MacBooks.
Jobs even gave us “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo” (albeit indirectly).
The man who founded Apple, Inc. and Pixar Animation Studios gave the world one of its first practical home computers (amazingly priced between $1,200 and $1,800, not adjusted for inflation). Jobs certainly opened our world to a lot of cutting-edge technology.
Apple.com’s obituary of Jobs reads: “Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.”
One has to wonder if the world is truly better. No doubt, Apple’s products are more popular than they have ever been.
A look at many of today’s college campuses will uncover a large percentage of students who own iPods, Apple computers or the popular iPhone.
However, I question if all of these contributions have truly made our world a better place. Many companies had to die for Apple to get where it is.
iTunes is a respectable undertaking, trying to sell music in a legal, digital form. Although its guise was to save the music industry, it obviously has not helped.
Many artists sold the rights to their catalogs of music and subsequently found them all over the internet. The music industry is in more dire straits than ever.
By transferring a music file into a digital form creating a “digital footprint,” music is more easily shared. Piracy is not only common, but the prevalent form of downloading music. Good for the consumer, bad for record labels.
The iPhone is a useful, if overpriced gadget. By combining the components of a cell phone and a portable computer, Apple set a standard for the rest of the cell phone industry. In the process, rival companies have suffered.
Rival cell phone developer, Nokia, has seen its shares drop nearly 76 percent since the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, resulting in the termination of nearly 7,000 jobs.
The home video industry is also among the walking dead. With the introduction of downloadable movies and television shows on the iTunes store, the DVD industry has suffered irreparable damage.
It can also be observed that the hand-drawn, animated film production companies have seen a drastic decline in demand.
When Pixar gave us the ultra-successful computer-animated “Toy Story,” other companies followed suit and laid off entire production studios worth of artists in favor of producing computer-animated films.
One would be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of widely-released “classically” animated movies in a given year.
It can certainly be argued that the death of these industries is a natural part of a product’s life cycle. It is too coincidental, however, to chalk up all of these deaths to chance in such a short span of time.
While I am certainly in favor of technology furthering society, I believe that it has come at a cost.
In addition to the companies and industries that Apple has obliterated, one has to consider the social consequences of the “technological era” that Apple helped usher in.
Many children growing up in the 21st century will never know life without an iPad, iPod or an iPhone. A lot of kids today communicate primarily through texting and social media sites. I’ll leave it to future studies to determine whether or not this is a better or viable way of socialization. But there is something to be said about the ability to hold a face-to-face conversation.
Farewell, Steve Jobs. You were a brilliant man. I’m sure many a fan has shed a tear or two. In reality, Apple will move on. The machine is too big to be shut down now. We will all have to wait and see if that is truly for the benefit of society. Rest in peace.