October 7, 2011

Steve Jobs 1955-2011.

It's been a while since I've done a Mind Over Hifi post. I am sure most would be made aware by now, the tragic passing of Steve Jobs, Apple Inc's iconic boss. He has not only impacted the IT world as in the past, but in the last decade or so, he has practically re-shaped the music retail industry, and how we are all interfacing with our hifi equipments today, no thanks to products like iPod, iPhone and iPad. That's why I feel compelled to make this post, sitting here in my music cave listen to my hi-rez music files interfaced via my iPhone controlling the Bryston BDP-1 digital media player, and reading the online news on my iPad!

To be honest, I was never much of an Apple fan boy, although many of my buddies in the graphic arts industry worshiped the man from the days of the very first Mac PC. I vaguely remembered that a buddy had to save many years of his working wages, surviving on a strict diet of teh tarik and roti canai(Malaysia's ultimate low cost fast food combo!) and possibly a pack of Maggie noodles or so each day, just to afford an Apple Macintosh PC, back then in the 1980's. Fast forward to the recent past, in year 2006, I had offered my little darling princess a cool looking silver iPod Shuffle as a carrot for her to excel in her exams. She was motivated but failed to hit the mark required for the carrot. She tried again the next time a few months later, and this time the shinny iPod was hers! She would've naturally learned how to download songs on to her iPod by the time she got it, while I was still struggling to comprehend how to operate the single LED and 3 button(one on the iPod and the volume/track up/down control on the white headphones supplied) music device. That was my very first experience with an Apple product. My young family have since embraced music via the iPod. Coming from the Sony Walkman generation, I can always see, that if only 10% of those iPod youngsters someday would venture in to the realms of hifi, how rich the industry would be in the not too distant future? Another un-intended consequence of Steve Jobs and Apple's success.

When I stepped in to the world of CAS, it just made so much sense that the iPhone would be used as the hifi system interface to my music library. Of course, that cheapie in Big E would have to wait for the telcos to bundle the iPhone 4 in to an affordable "plan" before I jumped on the band wagon. Needless to say, the iPhone was the coolest gadget I've ever had. It excelled in everything that I wanted to do with it, like taking nice decent quality pictures on the go(some of which have being used in this blog posting before), playing games to amuse my self while patiently waiting for an appointment that was running late, catching up on my e-mails and surfing the www while on the go and a host of other features(not to mention all the free and paid apps available!) that never fails to amaze me at all, except..... for the bloody lousy phone signal reception quality! 

Then came the iPad 2, courtesy of my big, strong and friendly credit card a/c(which I had built up buying all those damn hifi gears!). Again, the iPad charmed it's way in to my family's daily life. Personally, for my own use as the interface between my music library and hifi equipment, the palm sized iPhone still trumps over the iPad, despite it's smaller screen size. I just find it less distracting to appreciate the music that is being played.

And by the way, many would also regard the recent and current Mac Mini is a great platform for CAS and iTunes as one of the best music library interface ever presented.

That's how the late Steve Jobs impacted the cultural and hifi lifestyle of a hair shirt audiophile like me, which I am sure many would have similar experiences to share.  Heck, I just remembered that even Linn(the hi-tech hifi/music company) has apps for the iPhone/iPad devices! It looks like the cultural/lifestyle impact that Steve Jobs have on the audiophile and hifi industry will likely continue for sometime in to the future.

Please excuse me, while I go back to reading the many interesting stories of the man on the www.

May he rest in peace.

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