Sometimes events just stick with you. Often it’s because of how earth-shattering or momentous they are. Most of you likely remember exactly where you were and what you were doing on 9/11/2001. I certainly do. However, sometimes we remember the details of events for other reasons. A combination of significance and timing can stick with you years later. Because of the latter, I can remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard that Steve Jobs had passed away on October 5, 2011.
I was sitting in a Starbucks in Tupelo, Mississippi. The company I work for had two long projects in progress in the area, and I had been spending most of my time there since the early Summer. My hotel didn’t have the greatest WiFi, and I didn’t know anyone else in town outside of work, so I became a regular at the local Starbys for a while. Free WiFi and free refills with a gold rewards card kept me coming back.
The iPhone 4S had just been announced the previous day, and I and the other writers for the site I worked for at the time were writing articles about the reveal and planning ahead for the release. I was trying to pitch in as much as I could before the launch, because I wasn’t going to be eligible for an upgrade from AT&T for over a month. No reviews for me that year. I was disappointed about that, but still excited about the possibilities of Apple’s new Siri digital assistant. One of the things we discussed writing about was the fact that this was the first major event since Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO for the second time.
As we were emailing and messaging back and forth about the event and our coverage of it, the news broke: Steve Jobs had passed away. I remembered that there had been at least one instance where a news outlet leaked that Jobs was dead a few months before, only to be proven wrong. However, the report was quickly confirmed this time. One of the most important figures in the world of technology was gone. After reflecting and messaging back and forth a bit, we had to shift gears and cover Mr Jobs’ passing, and quickly make a plan for who would write what pieces about his life, death, and impact on the world.
I guess I remember the day so well because of the circumstances that lead up to it: Jobs stepping down again and the iPhone 4S reveal. We were all writing about these events, so they were fresh on our minds when the news came. I was also at a place that had become very familiar to me. That Starbucks was where I spent many evenings after dinner, and did most of my writing during the second half of that year. All these things worked together to cement the little details of that night in my mind. Pretty much any time I think about Steve Jobs, I am reminded of that night.
It is interesting to look back at how different Apple and its products are today- in many ways good, in a few, not as much. However, as successful as Apple has become under Jobs’ protege and hand-picked successor, Tim Cook, there is no ignoring the fact that the company is where it is today because of him. Without Steve Jobs, there is no Apple. Without his late-90s return, there is no miracle turnaround. Apple would be a footnote by now. Just think- No iPod. No iTunes with inexpensive legal music to purchase. No iPhone. No iPad. Whether you are a big-time, lifelong Apple fan, or a more casual observer, Steve Jobs’ significance and impact on not just Apple, but the entire world of technology, makes October 5, 2011 worth remembering.