Emma’s mum doesn’t like computers. She’s never used one. She’s never shown any interest, whatsoever, in the internet. None at all. She does like playing games though, and has played several Gameboys that have been in the house over the years; a couple of years ago we bought her a DS of her own, which she loved.
At Christmas Emma’s dad bought her mum an iPhone. We thought it might be a white elephant, that she would play games on it and make calls but pretty much nothing else. After all, she’s never shown any interest in computers, or the internet, or emails.
Last night we were round at Emma’s parent’s house for dinner, and Emma’s mum mentioned that she’d read the word “contusion” in some medical text, and not known what it meant. (I only know what it means because of an At The Drive-In lyric.) “I looked it up on the internet and it means ‘bruise’; why not just use the word ‘bruise’?” she said.
Emma’s mum has been sending photographs by email. Photographs that she took on her iPhone. It’s pretty mind-blowing that she’d be doing this. She’s still, as far as I know, never sat down at a computer. She’s bought herself apps on her phone. I imagine it’s only a matter of time before she starts buying real items from real shops via her phone. 10 months ago this was beyond unimaginable. Steve Jobs made it happen.
I’m writing this on a MacBook Air. Emma and I each have an iPhone. We also have an iMac and an iPad, which we bought in New York before they were even available in the UK. We’ve owned a couple of other iMacs, a Mac Mini, and another MacBook. Neither of us like computers. Neither of us want to have to build them, program them, struggle to make them do what we want them to do. We just want to use them. When I first got an Apple iMac in 2006, I suddenly felt like I didn’t have to struggle with a computer anymore, like I could actually do things with it, like it was built for a regular person and not for someone with a certificate from Microsoft.
I, like millions of other people, found out Steve Jobs had died via my phone, which his company conceived, designed, and made, at about 6am, in bed. I find out a lot of news this way now. I work this way, play this way, plan bike rides this way, shop this way, am reminded of my family’s birthdays this way, and a million other things. Steve Jobs, like him or not, has changed the way that we live our lives. I didn’t expect to feel a twinge of sadness at the death of a billionaire CEO of a huge multinational corporation, but I did. RIP, Steve.