I have met five British Prime Ministers, two American Presidents, Nelson Mandela, Michael Jackson and the Queen. My hour with Steve Jobs certainly made me more nervous than any of those encounters. I know what you are thinking, but it’s the truth. I do believe Jobs to be a truly great figure, one of the small group of innovators who have changed the world. He exists somewhere between showman, perfectionist overseer, visionary, enthusiast and opportunist, and his insistence upon design, detail, finish, quality, ease of use and reliability are a huge part of Apple’s success. Where Ive is quiet, modest and self-effacing, Jobs is confident, assured and open. For some, his personal magnetism is almost of a dangerous, Elmer Gantry kind. They call the charisma emanating from his keynote addresses “Steve’s reality-distortion field.”
When I get to see Jobs, he is wearing the famous black turtleneck sweater and blue Levi’s 501 jeans without which I would have cried, “Impostor!” Recent weight loss from his liver transplant has imparted a delicacy that reminds me, I can’t think why, of the actor William Hurt. We meet in a conference room. On every spare shelf and ledge, at least a dozen iMacs are placed, each one playing a family slide show. Jobs leans back on his chair, feet up on the table, a welcoming grin on his face. My first question is a nervous babble that lasts five minutes. He listens with patient amusement and answers, “Yes.” Or possibly, “No.” I cannot remember what the question was. I had forgotten to turn on the recorder. I do so now, abashed.
A little calmer, I remind Jobs that at the product launch of the iPad in January, he had stood in front of two street signs, one reading “Liberal Arts,” the other “Technology.” “This is where I have always seen Apple,” he told the audience, “at the intersection of the Liberal Arts and Technology.”
I suggest there’s a bit more to it than that; surely Apple stands at the intersection of liberal arts, technology and commerce? “Sure, what we do has to make commercial sense,” Jobs concedes, “but it’s never the starting point. We start with the product and the user experience. You seen an iBook yet?” His pleasure in showing me the Winnie the Pooh iBook bundled with every iPad is unaffected and engaging. He demonstrates how the case can be used as a lectern and as a stand. “I think the experience of using an iPad is going to be profound for many people,” he says. “I really do. Genuinely profound.” That rings a bell. “I’ve heard it said that this is the device for you,” I reply. “The one that will change everything.” “When people see how immersive the experience is,” Jobs says, “how directly you engage with it … the only word is magical.”
In five years, Jobs has emerged from two serious health scares. His obituaries had been written, much as Apple’s had been back in 1997. “Is this then the curtain dropping on your third act?” I ask. “Will you perhaps leave Apple on this high, a fitting end to your career here?” “I don’t think of my life as a career,” he says. “I do stuff. I respond to stuff. That’s not a career — it’s a life!”
After he leaves, I am finally left alone with an iPad. Finally I get some finger time. I peep under the slip holder, and there it is. When I switch it on, a little sigh escapes me as the screen lights up. Ten minutes later I am rolling on the floor, snarling and biting, trying to wrestle it from the hands of an Apple press representative.
That is not strictly true, but giving up the iPad felt a little like that. I had been prepared for a smooth feel, for a bright screen and the “immersive” experience everyone had promised. I was not prepared, though, for how instant the relationship I formed with the device would be. I left Cupertino without an iPad, but I have since gotten my own, and it goes with me everywhere.
It is possible that the public will not fall on the iPad, as I did, like lions on an antelope. Perhaps they will find the apps and the iBooks too expensive. Maybe they will wait for more fully featured later models. But for me, my iPad is like a gun lobbyist’s rifle: the only way you will take it from me is to prise it from my cold, dead hands. One melancholy thought occurs as my fingers glide and flow over the surface of this astonishing object: Douglas Adams is not alive to see the closest thing to his Hitchhiker’s Guide that humankind has yet devised.
Este foi o texto publicado ontem na Time pelo famoso Stephen Fry. Também recomendo vivamente este artigo da mesma publicação.
Admito que estou desejoso de segurar o iPad nas minhas mãos e que muito provavelmente irei comprar o primeiro que encontrar à venda. Também me insiro no grupo de pessoas que prevêem que este objecto irá tornar qualquer netbook obsoleto e modificar bastante o modo como se utiliza o computador nos dias de hoje. Daqui a um ano voltaremos a este post para ver se estas previsões estão correctas.
Mudando um pouco de assunto, mas não muito, venho aqui pedir a vossa preciosa ajuda relativamente a um software de gestão de tarefas. Ou seja, numa perspectiva de GTD (Get Things Done) preciso de encontrar o melhor programa para gerir todas as minhas tarefas, pessoais e profissionais. Conheço o espantoso Things para Mac e o que desejava era qualquer coisa parecida para Linux e Windows. Encontrei uma aplicação web chamada Nirvana que é exactamente como o Things a correr num browser, contudo ainda estou há espera que me enviem um convite para a testar. Também já experimentei o Toodledo, mas não fiquei muito convencido. Outra característica muito importante é que tenha uma versão para iPhone/iPod touch capaz de sincronizar automaticamente com a de desktop ou web. Em relação ao preço, preferia que fosse gratuita, mas também não me importo que seja paga desde que realmente seja um bom produto. Alguém tem alguma boa sugestão?