Mac at 30

It was thirty years ago today that Sergeant Jobs taught the band to play. Sergeant Jobs together with Privates Smith, Atkinson, Kawasaki, Crow, Espinosa and the rest of the Apple Macintosh team, not to mention all those back at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and the crew at Stanford who had built the first computer mouse, and back before them, of course, all the geniuses in a line back from Steve Wozniak and Gordon Moore to the original pioneers like Von Neumann and the great Alan Turing.

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Steve Jobs

I last saw Steve Jobs a year and half ago. I spent an hour alone in his company while he showed me the latest piece of magical hardware to have come from the company he had founded in 1976, the yet to be released Apple iPad. Naturally I was flattered to have been approved by him to be the one to write a profile for Time Magazine and to be given a personal demonstration of the device of which he was so clearly proud and for which he had such high hopes. The excitement of him then handing me an iPad (after I had duly signed severe NDAs prohibiting my flaunting it in public until the embargo date had passed) and being able to play with it before the rest of the world had even seen one tickled my vanity and I would be dishonest if I did not confess to the childlike excitement, the pounding thrill, the absurd pride and the rippling pleasure I always feel on such occasions – emotions that have long been pointed out as pathological symptoms of the wilder shores of unreason that Apple idolatry induce in people like me and as a part of Steve Jobs’s almost Svengali like powers of persuasion, and Barnum-like huckstering.

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Wherever and however you are reading this, welcome. It might be that you are, like me, the kind of early adopting sillyhead who has already got their hands on an iPad and, having naturally rushed to download FryPaper the App, is now reading this on your new slidey-smooth device. Perhaps you have an Android or iPhone and are making use of WordPress’s rather superior on-the-fly mobile formatting. It may be that you are quite happily reading these words the traditional way on the stephenfry.com website. You may be one of a large-ish chorus who wishes I would stop being so lazy and prevaricating and return to the habit of recording blessays and blogs in the form of a podgram as I used to do in the good old days.

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