The death of Steve Jobs is a mirror into our own vanity. Designers -- take heed.
Steve Jobs blah blah visionary blah blah design blah blah changed computing. It's true, and I'm not going to rehash the accolades here.
But there's a flip side to the innovation. I wrote this as a Facebook status following his death:
Steve Jobs in hell is working 16 hour days 7 days a week at a Chinese factory building the new iPhone 666.
It's funny only because there's a dose of truth to it. In all the technology we acquire, not just from Apple, much of the cost that went into creating those artifacts is hidden from our eyes unless something brings it to our attention.
Besides dead factory workers, we pay the cost of Apple products everyday. Have you ever gone to the Genius Bar without an appointment? Broke your iPhone and had to buy a new one? Or had your macbook stolen only to have the police shrug?
Some more jokes at dead Steve Jobs' expense to drive the point home:
- Steve Jobs in hell just had his iPhone stolen, and the police won't do shit about it.
- Steve Jobs in hell broke his macbook, so he went to the genius bar without an appointment where he'll wait for his name to be called... forever.
- Steve Jobs in hell broke his phone but can't afford a new iPhone, so he had to settle for a free Nokia.
- Steve Jobs in hell got a $5,000 cell phone bill this month because he's roaming on his data plan.
The jokes practically write themselves. Let's face it -- Apple products are expensive and fragile. They are time sinks and pickpocket bait. And we suck it up because the products are so tantalizing -- because owning an Apple product is a statement about you.
If you think I'm denigrating the name of Steve Jobs or Apple, I am, but only as much as it takes to make my point. If it makes you feel better, you could play Mad Libs with the text above and swap out the names of the companies, products, and executives; it would be just as true but the products wouldn't look as good. Simply put, we pay more than money for the privilege of owning these magical amenities.
Steve Jobs was responsible for Apple's meteoric rise these last decades because there was an audience desperate for Apple's pretty products -- me included. If there's any lesson to take from Steve's passing other than a life cut off in the midst of greatness, it's that we greatly value the veneer of our possessions despite the costs.