Technophile: Thank you, Steve Jobs



Apple co-founder, chairman and chief executive Steve Jobs was one of the original "Pirates of Silicon Valley". Along with his business partner Steve Wozniak, Jobs ushered in not just one era of computing, but one after another, before passing away last week at the age of 56. Below are just three iconic devices - revolutionary steps in the evolution of consumer technology - that he created.

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Macintosh (1984)

The breakthrough Introduced by the famous "1984" commercial directed by Ridley Scott during Super Bowl XVIII in the United States, the Macintosh pioneered the concept of a user-friendly computer for average consumers designed to break IBM's "Big Brother" conventions.

The specs The Macintosh's key selling point was its graphical user interface (GUI), a concept Apple got from Xerox in exchange for stock options (a historic coup). The GUI allowed users to interact with the computer by using something called a "mouse" that moved a pointer around something called a "desktop". It came with just 128KB of RAM and was pre-installed with just two software programmes: MacWrite and MacPaint.

The impact Apple's first revolutionary computer popularised the GUI concept, which would later be copied by Microsoft's less expensive Windows operating systems. It also ushered in the era of desktop publishing.

iMac (1998)

The breakthrough In 1997, Jobs returned to the company to save it from the grave. A year later, he unveiled the world's first "internet computer", which came packaged in an oddly shaped, translucent, "Bondi blue" unibody design.

The specs The ahead-of-its-time design came with two USB ports and no floppy disk drive; instead opting for a CD-ROM drive.

The impact Before the iMac, "home computing" was something that was primarily done offline - the wildly popular iMac created an entire market for internet-based computers that still thrives today.

iPad (2010)

The breakthrough Considered by many to be the culmination of Jobs's life work, the iPad set a new standard in multi-touch, app-based tablet computing - mobile, simple, fast and versatile.

The specs The iPad ushered in the iOS operating system, designed to run on Apple's mobile platforms. The base model of the device accesses the internet via a WiFi connection, while a more expensive option offers 3G connectivity.

The impact According to industry sources, Apple has sold more than 15 million iPads worldwide, more than all other tablet computers combined. Many consider Apple's tablet concept to be the future of computing - the first computer with an operating system that is so intuitive, it disappears altogether.

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