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ELECTRIC GRAPEVINE: Overthink different

After the terribly sad departure of Steve Jobs this week I find myself articulating the undeniable impact of the man. On a marketing level alone I’ve often said he and Apple are far and away the best on the planet and while I’m surprised how much I’m affected by his passing, I am also surprised at how intense the public and media has been.

I personally stop short of sandwiching his name between Edison and Einstein as many have this past week though. I ask myself whether my day would be hampered more by the absence of iTunes or electric light and the answer becomes clear as day.

I liken Jobs contributions to that of F.A. Porsche. Ferdinand Porsche didn't invent the wheel but man did he make it sexy. He did so with a similar minimalist approach and fetish for beautifully sourced material palettes. He also researched and developed simple cooling systems that others had not, much like Jobs and his reluctance to use noisy albeit effective fans in his machines.

Instead of acting as if this JFK assassination level news, let’s celebrate Jobs for what he really excelled at - the promotion and integration of brilliant aesthetics and slick minimalism.
As a fan of all things minimal I have to say the guy had an unreal eye for design. Apple stores have an allure even the most avid PC user can’t resist. More often than not each Apple product has been worthy of admission to the design hall of fame.
It almost makes me want to trade my blue screens of death for well...a lighter shade of blue screen of death with a sexy aluminium surround. Almost.

The genius option in iTunes is cutely named by the marketing Merlins but let’s not get it confused with Einstein himself. The workers in Apple stores are actually referred to as geniuses. I wonder how Albert would have felt about that, "I invented modern physics but these ramen noodle fuelled frat boys offer anodized MP3 players and we're par?"

I also ponder how other notable figures feel about being relegated to "also dead" in the back pages of newspapers.
A man who was an integral figure in the civil rights movement also died on that day and I had to flip so many pages on my iPad to read about it that I wondered if I was going to get carpel tunnel syndrome in doing so. I felt like Dane Cook sifting through an entertainment magazine desperately looking for evidence of my own relevance.

Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth, as I have now learned, was a pillar in the civil rights movement to the extent that he actually sent a stage frightened Martin Luther King back out to address a hostile crowd at the Birmingham protest.
This man was beaten and bombed, yes, bombed for his efforts. I realize he didn't expedite the delivery of pirated music to our ears via cheap headphones but come on, let’s get the guy some press in his passing.

But in the physical writing of this column alone I’m reminded of both the love and frustration I feel for the form over function appeal of Apple products.
I logged into my iMac remotely to format this column only to find it crashed so badly it requires a hard restart. Frustrating for sure, but at the same time I was logging into it from a half inch thick iPad at 500 kilometres away so I can't be too chuffed. Without the innovation of people like Steve Jobs I wouldn't even be attempting such a task.
Like the products or not, that is the kind of ambition that defines us. With that I salute the innovator for all he has contributed to the world I have grown up in and may he rest in peace.

This column was sent from my iPad on purpose.