Three Years with an iPhone

Three years ago, I started using an iPhone 5 as my mobile phone, my first smartphone. I remember drooling for hours over the leaks in the year before it released, then reading each review with my undivided attention, and re-watching the iPhone 5 launch event with a wide grin on my face, each time. I waited for it, for a long, long time.

Today, three years later, it still is among my most favorite pieces of technology.

It is not the fastest phone with the best camera (hey, iPhone 6S Plus and LG V10) anymore. It is not pristine but scuffed (I’m never forgiving you for this, mom) and scratched. The battery runs out after 5-6 hours of usage, even in low battery mode. It freezes at least once a day and has a hard time keeping up with the way I’ve gotten accustomed to using it. But, despite it all, I love it the way I loved it when it first landed in my hands and I shivered to hold it. Oh, I do.

There have have been fewer gadgets I’ve been so proud and happy to own. And, there have been even fewer that I’ve wanted a new version of. Least of it is because I am so invested in the iOS ecosystem. Sometime before I made the final decision to actually purchase it, I was in double minds if I should switch and purchase an HTC 8X, the Windows Phone 8 flagship from HTC, instead. I never considered Android for I think it is too complicated for the user and for simple tasks (not to forget the shoddy cameras they have had, until recently) and I find the OEM skins too gaudy to use. And not for a single day have I regretted my decision to go with the iPhone instead.

The joy of using an iPhone is in the little things, like not having to press a button when you’ve entered your 4-digit passcode, the way the speaker and earphones volumes always is controlled separately, the way you see the brightness slider slides subtly to low or high when the light in the room changes. The small ways in which when you use it, you know someone at Apple has spent their time making it just right. You can’t always put your finger on it, but you realize you’re accustomed to that care, so much that may be even pampered, even when you  temporarily use someone else’s phone.

I had once read somewhere that you don’t know what using an Apple device is like until you use it as your own device. Not a parents’ or siblings’ device, not a demo device in a store, not a review device you’ve received on a loaner; a device you own and use, every single day. And 7 years of Apple products later, I thoroughly concur. I have a first generation iPod Touch that I rarely use anymore. Using that first gadget convinced me to buy the iPhone 5, a few years later, and today, I know that I want my next laptop to be a MacBook and my next phone to be another iPhone.

This is a heartfelt, personal ode to my experience of using my iPhone, my first iPhone, my primary computer for the last three years and counting…

What it means to not have known Steve Jobs personally…

Steve Jobs. 1955-2011.
Steve Jobs. 1955-2011.

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.

As I begin writing this, I’m 2 hours away from the time when 366 days ago (it’s a leap year, folks) Steve Jobs passed away. I read a friend’s text, on the morning of 6th October, by means of which I knew that Steve Jobs was no more. He, was no more. The God, had parted ways with civilization.

The biggest regret, then, and even now, that I have is the fact that I couldn’t ever meet Steve Jobs personally. I couldn’t interact with him, I couldn’t know him for who he was, and not what the media and stories told me he was.

I never really have owned anything Apple except a first generation iPod Touch. I bought it before most of the world even knew what it was (much before it became the most popular portable media player). I never had an iPhone, neither a Mac desktop or laptop. But, owning the first device, I got so gripped by its allure.

Honestly, if you had asked me 7 years before today, I wanted to be the next Bill Gates. I wanted to run a big company which drove computer sales. I didn’t know Steve Jobs (or even Wozniak for that matter) except in the rare stories that I read about them in technology magazines. Hell, I didn’t care who he was and what he was doing or had already done!

But then, all of a sudden, everything changed.

Much as I don’t remember (which I wish I did) how and when the desire to know more about Jobs crept into me. I don’t know from where or when or how I came to know all of it that I do today, or did a year or two ago. I have absolutely no memory of the phase when I turned from a ‘I want to be the next Bill Gates,’ to ‘Steve Jobs, he’s God. He’s the legend. He’s who I see myself as, a few years down the line.’

Steve Jobs was a shrewd, cruel critic. He’d insult you in public, and never apologize. He was rude. He took crazy risks. But, he was equally appreciative. He was innovative. He was a visionary. He was who most people tried to be, but never became.

As he said in a CNN interview, “My job is not be easy on people. My job is to make them better.” And boy, he did it well!

It’s difficult to meet such simple and true people in real life. Everywhere you go, you meet those who want to please you and lure you into their mean traps. Steve Jobs did the same. But, he told you that he was pushing you into a new world, in those very words before pushing you. That, made him who we know him today as… An innovator.

He is the reason we have a Graphical User Interface (GUI, in laymen’s terms, a pictorial interface of your computer), a mouse-dependant operating system, a beautiful and simple graphical OS in first the Mac, and now the OS X, iPod, iPhone, iPad, MacBook… And the list goes on!

He’s also the reason we have Toy Story!

And that’s the reason I wanted to meet him. He was an innovator, a risk-taker, a visionary, like few others. He had the foresight of what it would be that would make his company, Apple Inc., stand out from the rest. He was someone who stood up from the ground when he was thrown out of the company he created, only to be hired back when it had hit rock bottom, and to turn it around into the most profitable company ever. This guy, Steve Jobs as he was called, is a bloody legend. As simple as that. He is an inspiration, he is a hero, he is a human being who did what very few others had vision to do.

He made us aware of the world that exists beyond our imaginations. He made the name ‘Apple’ a household name for quality products. He made us realize that every product Apple makes, will be to make your work easy. He taught is the power of simplicity.

He was the God of innovation. He will always be.

Rest in peace, Steve Jobs. You will be missed, remembered, for the legacy you’ve given us.

These are a few links I’ve come across in the last couple of days, related to Steve Jobs that I thought were worth sharing. Go through them, if you will.

  1. The answers on Quora, to the question: What are some great stories about Steve Jobs?
  2. A collection of stories published by Forbes: Untold Stories About Steve Jobs: Friends and Colleagues Share Their Memories
  3. Apple’s tribute to Steve Jobs, on his first death anniversary: Remembering Steve
  4. Steve Jobs speech from 1983 foretells rise of mobile computing, iPad

The above 4 links are a proof to what I wrote about him in the blogpost above.

No, I’m not an Apple fan-boy. But, I appreciate good technology when it’s made. And if appreciating Apple for what it does good, makes me a fan-boy, then you can call me one, sure.

This regret, of not having been able to meet Steve Jobs personally, will stay forever. But, there’s also a joy, to have read all these innumerable and personal stories of people who had interactions with Steve Jobs. He’s an inspiration to me like none other, for the very fact that he always followed his heart, in whatever he did and strove to do.

Yes, I can go on and on singing laurels about Steve Jobs. That signifies how much I admire and respect him.

Until my next post…