WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST?
The world has been so full of everything and anything that can and could be said about Steve Jobs today. And rightly so, as endless reporters and techies have claimed he is the Thomas Edison of his generation.
But he wasn’t just for his own generation. I was talking to Seth who works in our office today, Seth is 23, he said, “He represented my generation.” I said he did, but he represented mine too. There are several generations that do not remember a world without the Apple and at least four generations that feel he belonged to them.
He pretty much covers the span from babies who play with stuffed iPhones to my Uncle Bob Fox who has an iPhone and an iPad at 80.
He made sexy products that made your daily life better from making a phone call to typing a letter. He made the mundane fun and the fun even better.
One of the more interesting things I heard today was a group of commentators talking about their first Apple product.
In the same way people can tell you exactly where they were when they heard Kennedy had been shot, ditto Lennon and I fear we can add Michael Jackson’s death to that list: People who have any Apple product can tell you exactly what their first one was. That’s how sexy,memorable and coveted they have become.
I can’t tell you what my first cell phone was, or even the brand of my first TV. But I remember each detail about the first day a Mac walked into my life.
It was the third week of September in 1990. Columbia Studios had hired me for what was then (and still if they have them) an “over all deal.” That meant they gave you an office, an assistant, a decent salary, all the office supplies you wanted in exchange for any good ideas that might cross your brain. You then had to execute those ideas in the form of a TV pilot. And they wanted you to execute them on a computer, that computer being a Mac.
Up until that point I had written three plays, two pilots, and three films all on a Smith Corona Word Processor.
Not every one was on a computer in 1990. I was rather terrified of them. But the rule was at Columbia you wrote on a Mac. So on my second day there, a gentleman came in and set up one of these on my desk.
The very sight of it frightened me. I kept my Smith Corona on the ready in he event the computer proved too much for me. But I sat and stared at it, befuddled, amazed and intimidated that it knew so much more than I did and it always would.
The same man who delivered it gave me two week’s worth of lessons. He was on staff at the studio as he had to teach most of the writers how to use them. When you eventually got fired which everyone did, they checked the trunk of your car as you drove off the lot to make sure you weren’t taking the computer.
It’s been 20 years since that day and I have never used anything but a Mac. It’s the only system I know, want to know, or think is interesting.
I confess two years ago I had Glenn buy me one of those teeny, tiny Sony’s to use when I travel. I think I couldn’t actually buy myself anything that wasn’t an Apple. I used it maybe ten times, let’s say I turned it on and fought with it and hated it and resented it for not being a Mac.
I stayed loyal to Apple even back in the days when you would walk into CompuServe to buy software and there were rows and rows of every thing imaginable for PC’s, but off to the side was one little corner with a shelf for some Software that was “Mac Compatible”
I asked Lucy today if she remembered her first Apple product. Without missing a beat she said “When I was six you gave me your old iBook G4.” I had an iBookG4? If I had pushed her she probably could have come up with the operating system number. She then said “When I was seven Taylor gave me an iPod Shuffle for the holdays.” I asked her what color it was. She said that was when they were all white and looked like remotes and then gave me that look that said – What kind of dork are you? Everyone knows that.
I said I thought it was the blue one, she said that was two years later. She then said the first Apple computer that was new and all hers came on her eighth birthday in the form of a 13-inch PowerBook.
This morning I went over to see the shrine that has been set up in front of the Apple Store in his honor. People of all ages and all nationalities were taking pictures with their iPhones, paying their respects, then taking off into their Apple product filled lives, buds in their ears, talking on their iPhones, downloading a new App or listening to their playlists. As sad as it is I think it is exactly what he wanted us to be doing.
His next big product. It’s like he’s still talking to us.
Do you remember your first Apple product? The color? The year? How you felt? If so I would love to hear.