Wow, what a sad day. Steve Jobs and Apple had a massive impact on my life:
In junior high & high school, I spent countless hours playing with Apple II+'s & IIe's. We coded in integer BASIC and a used a very early vector graphics program. 5.25" floppies, wow..
A friend bought an Apple III, a nice computer which never took off. On campus we had a Lisa, which also never took off as it was too early for it's time
In college, I ran one the first Macintosh labs on campus, mostly Mac pluses, followed later by SEs. Apple had a sales & marketing office in downtown Denver and I remember going down there for presentations and being just blown away by all the cool gear. They had ceiling mounted projectors, color printers, and slick marketing materials.
Our lab then got some of the first Mac IIs with color screens, and some SE/30s. Photoshop was just incredible! A 16Mhz motorola 68020 seemed so fast at the time.
I learned Macromedia Director on a Mac II. My first consulting gig was a kiosk app, I think I made about $3k, a lot of money for me at the time.
Microsoft came out with Windows around this time, and you could tell it was a crude copy. We had Pagemaker running on both Macs & PCs, the Macs were clearly superior, and more fun to use.
Our lab expanded, and we got Mac IIcx's, which had an awesome layout, and were very expandable. This was Apple's best hardware design for years to come. Compact, modular, expandable, everything you could wish for at the time.
I bought one for myself. My first Mac!! This was followed shortly by an experience that everybody has these days, Mac envy. The ci came out, much faster, internal cache. I bought a cache-card for my cx to make it as fast as the ci. I also bought a 800MB toshiba hard drive for something like $1000.
This is about the time where Apple went astray a bit. I remember the OS crashing *a lot*, it must of been OS 5 or 6. Of course IBM was making the PC Junior and some equally terrible computers. They came out with the Mac IIsi. I hated it since it was both slower and less expandable than the ci, it was a big step backward.
My next computer was a Quadra 700, which had essentially the same form factor as the ci, but had a next generation 68040 processor. After I left the university job, I ran most of an ISP business on this system, sending out about 500 invoices a month on a tank-like laserwriter. Printers were really solid back in those days. I also became very talented at Photoshop, Quark Xpress, and Filemaker Pro.
I became very early fan of Linux, but still had no clue about the future of Unix. Of course Jobs was at NeXT, deep into the Mach OS, at least 10 years ahead of it's time.
I kept the Quadra for a number of years, but then left the Apple world for Linux. Of course I never thought Apple would come back to me with OSX.
Prior the the iPhone, we all hated our cell phones. I had a Palm V as a PDA, then a crackberry, which was fine as an email device. But RIM was too business centric so the iPhone just blew it away. I got the iphone about a week after they came out. And a 3gs after that.
Today we have a Macbook, two iphones, three iPods, plus some other Apple gear like airports and such. I've resisted the iPad so far, and I did build an awesome Hackintosh, which is really just unix, and I love it.
It's just incredible to see the number of Apple products I've used or owned. Apple's stock languished around $20 for quite a few years, but has since taken off and has no doubt enabled a nice retirement for some former and current employees. A number of my friends worked there, and several still do. Steve Jobs created value for his company, the products, and all our lives.