Steve Jobs: The leader of the mobile revolution

By Andy McLoughlin posted 08-31-2011 12:42



Last week, Steve Jobs ended his 14 year reign as chief executive of Apple Inc, the technology behemoth that he founded in his garage with Steve Wozniak. The company and its products have certainly come a long way since the Apple II and Classic Mac over the last few decades. However, there are two devices in particular I want to focus on in this post.

Yes, you’ve guessed it, the iPhone and the iPad. Since Jobs’ comeback in 1997, 26 million iPhones have been sold. The first generation iPad sold 300,000 on its first day and unit sales hit one million in a mere 28 days.

Not only did these two devices – the brainchildren of Steve Jobs – propel Apple into new realms of cool and become the must-have-gadgets du jour, they transformed the way in which we consume information in both our personal and work lives. For me, Jobs succeeded where numerous others had failed. He managed to not only truly mobilize the workforce, but transform how consumers interacted with content in the digital age. Thanks to Jobs, browsing the web on our smartphones and tablets is now the norm. We think nothing of checking our emails, watching videos, updating our profiles on social networks or listening to music on these devices.

Why? Apple’s iPhone and iPad raised the bar. With the unveiling of the first iPhone in June 2007 at MacWorld, we entered a new era of mobile technology. With their intuitive interfaces, sleek lines and quality craftsmanship, the iPhone and iPad are a joy to use and it’s little wonder that so many people now carry one or both of these devices. According to Gartner, despite increased competition from other operating systems (OSs), Apple’s iOS will continue to dominate the majority of the global media tablet market. Thanks to the iPad’s success, iOS will account for more than two thirds (69 per cent) of media tablet OSs this year and almost half (47 per cent) in 2015.

Even if you don’t have an iPhone, your Android, BlackBerry or Windows Phone handset have all been influenced by this device. Thanks to the wealth of apps now available for smartphones – more than 425,000 on the iPhone alone – information can now be managed just as effectively on the move as it can be at your desks. According to analyst house IDC, the number of mobile workers accessing enterprise systems globally will hit 1.2 billion by 2013.

Thanks to my smartphone and tablet, I can check my emails and respond to colleagues when I’m on the train, the bus or in a taxi. Regardless of where I am, I can review and amend documents, manage my receipts and expense reports, keep up-to-date with the latest news, update my network on my whereabouts and hold voice and video conferences.

The fact is Jobs saw the mobile revolution coming. In 2007, people were starting to timidly make the transition to mobile and wireless network coverage and speeds were starting to improve. However, the user experience when browsing the mobile web was by no means great. Device manufacturers often fell into the trap of treating the mobile web experience in the same way as the PC web experience, rather than taking advantage of its uniqueness. Jobs (and his army of 50,000 Apple employees) challenged the norm. Jobs dared to “think different” and he changed the way we use our mobile devices forever.

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