Steve Jobs, the co-founder and CEO of Apple, resigned yesterday due to continuing medical problems—a truly a sad day. Steve is a brilliant technologist and master showman. I got to see this first hand in 1983, when Apple invited me to its campus in Cupertino, Calif. At the time, I was a technical editor for Computers & Electronics (the former Popular Electronics).
Steve was trying to orchestrate the biggest debut ever of a personal computer and therefore was showing the computer to the media months in advance. I sat in a small conference room with several other editors from various publications. Steve marched into the room with a backpack over his shoulder, put it on the table, and pulled out the Apple Macintosh. He did this with his customary dramatic flair. At the time, everyone was working on IBM PC or AT computers, which were much larger desktop computers with separate monitors. Apple’s all-in-one Mac, at around 18 pounds, had a wow factor that the company became famous for throughout the years. Steve personally explained the new computer to us, giving us a hands-on demonstration of the Mac’s graphical user interface and mouse, two breakthrough elements of the Mac.
The Mac made the cover of C & E that year at the same time as probably hundreds of other publications. Steve had blitzed the media, and this would mark his strategy for the rest of his career. The deluge of press told the world that the Macintosh was here and was a viable choice in the marketplace. I don't think anyone at the time could have envisioned the company that Steve eventually built.