I only worked under Steve’s leadership for a few years, and never spoke to him in person. Even so, he earned my respect for thinking big and really wanting people to *understand* what he was after. The technology is definitely just a means to an end.
I admire his dedication to building tools, both for developers and end-users. It’s pretty central for us as a species, and it’s been fascinating to see how such tools enable people to communicate better, find information better, organize thoughts better… all of it. Not to have cool gadgets, but to be empowered with abilities that would be impossible without the gadgets. And yeah, if you’re going to do gadgets, might as well make them beautiful.
For a while I was pretty conflicted about Apple’s direction with iOS and the conclusions one might draw about how it might affect the future of Mac OS X. I felt like my beloved computing environment was about to get dumbed down, and my concerns marginalized as an edge case. I still feel this way, but in the last year or so I’ve come to understand (and observe) that it’s totally worth it. Making an iPhone this easy to use means it gets *much* more widespread use than something else that might be more appealing (at least, at first blush) to geeks. The overall value of countless computer illiterates gaining access to iOS is surely far greater than the cost of some graybeards occasionally yelling about stuff on their lawns. My desire for people to be able to handle larger amounts of complexity in their computing devices seems completely selfish in retrospect.
So thanks, Steve, for the relentless focus on the ‘high order bit’. Your presence will be missed, but your message not forgotten.