Since Steve Jobs has been one of my greatest heroes & inspirations in my adult life, I'm keeping the memorial vigil going here for the weekend.
I've seen good articles & videos about him, but I want to concentrate on what truly made him & Apple what they have become. In essence, it was his understanding of beautifully simple design- both cosmetic & functional.
Due to his interest in Eastern philosophy & sensibilities, his approach to product design has been called Zen-like, for good reason.
Zen is essentially a study of one's own self & the mind in a pure experiential context, unfiltered by our inherent preconceptions & cultural baggage.
I think this kind of deep understanding helped Jobs' focus on the practical relationship the user had to any of his Apple products. He had a unique vision that allowed him to know how people would think about features & use them, in a sense being empathetic to their needs.
Apple has been great at minimizing user frustration, while simultaneously maximizing productivity. Despite the inevitable imperfections in any given device, the technologies that he popularized seem almost miraculous when seen with fresh eyes. The fact that their capabilities are almost taken for granted is an even greater testament to the way the amazing tech was designed to be interwoven into one's everyday life.
It's truly a shame that we didn't have a few more decades of Steve Jobs' vision to enrich our culture, but hopefully his legacy will continue to guide Apple & the tech industry for year to come.