Why I Will Miss Steve Jobs – A Humble Tribute to the Man Who Changed My World

Another tribute from a QMac member, Venkatesh Sridhar.

It isn’t often that you get woken up very early in the morning with the news that one of your life’s role models passed away and trust me for a lack of better word – it sucks!

To be brutally honest, it wasn’t that surprising, I mean there was the whole resignation thing followed by a picture of a very very sick Steve.

But, one thing it wasn’t or still isn’t is easy to accept it. Steve himself said in his famous Stanford commencement speech that “Death is a funny thing, no one wants to die not even those who want to go to heaven.” And here we all were wishing that he doesn’t go to heaven

And throughout the day, people poured out their feelings – his best friend & Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak couldn’t hold back tears as he bid farewell to his friend. There were people who haven’t ever met him mourning and it made me wonder why do we miss/will miss him so much. You all know he invented the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. He changed the computer, music, telecom, software & gaming industry – rarely does one impact that much, but here are the following things that are commonplace today because of this one man and I tried to make a list of all that I can remember that Steve helped do, even though they weren’t his inventions.

1. Fonts – Because Steve landed himself in a calligraphy class at Reed College, he fell in love with fonts and he was instrumental in the Mac having fonts, since Windows basically copied Mac, we wouldn’t have had fonts otherwise. How huge was this attention to detail?

2. CD-ROM – Not many people know that Apple was the first to discard floppy drives and ship only CD-ROMs before this no computer ever shipped CD-ROM only.

3. FireWire & USB – Apple once again was the first to make it standard, can you imagine a world today without FireWire/USB drives, even cars have one these days. Apple was the first to have it on its computers.

4. WiFi – Yes, the same WiFi that you might very well possibly be using right now to read this very note wasn’t considered a standard till Apple made it as a standard on all of its computers. And it continues to innovate by still being the first to support WiFi N Standard. Imagine a world where WiFi isn’t as ubiquitous as it is today

5. Multi-touch – the MacBook, MacBook Pros, MacBook Airs, iPhone and iPad wouldn’t be the same without multi-touch would it? Apple didn’t invent it but they invented the right way to use it and once again others followed where Steve led. How many multi-touch mainstream phones before iPhone -zilch.

6. App Store – how many of us thought that it was possible for a phone to run so many applications, even though the BlackBerry, the Palm, etc had applications available, no one tied it into one single place to make it easier for people to work on the phone.

7. Aluminium notebooks – Not many people realize that there weren’t a lot of metal based notebooks around when Apple first introduced the titanium PowerBook. And we still don’t have that many and that makes Apple stand out and to do this, Apple actually spent money in learning how it is done and are today considered leaders in the industry.

8. The Zen of Presentation – If anyone wants a crash course in presenting great products, head over to youtube and see the Stevenotes and you will definitely learn how to present.

9. Awesome Ads – How can anyone forget the 1984 ad, the Think Different ad which actually brought Apple back from the dead so to speak, the ‘Hi I’m a PC. Hi I’m a Mac.” I believe set a standard for creative ads worldwide.

10. Design Trendsetter – We all know that the Apple products look great from the outside but I am sure those who are lucky enough to see the insides of a Mac/iPod/iPhone/iPad will see the beauty and the attention to detail even in the internals and now even the new proposed Apple campus at Cupertino shaped like a spaceship. Remember Apple is called the Mothership by many and it was a acknowledgement towards that – maybe. Also, don’t forget the famous Apple glass shadow logos, people overdid long after Apple stopped it. And even the packaging of Apple products are infinitely better than its competitors by far (except those who shamelessly copy it *cough* samsung *cough*). Carry in an Mac for repair and you would appreciate the fact that you have a box that has a handle so thoughtfully attached to it.

11. Insanely Great Quotes – ‘We are here to make a dent in the universe, else why even be here.”; “Life is too short for you to live someone else’s life.”; “Computers are like the bicycles of our minds” and many more.

12. Making Tech Cool – As a self confessed technophile, no one person in this world made tech cool more than this one man.

13. Talent Management – Steve had his core team work for him right throughout from his return till yesterday. That tells you how good he was at retaining talent.

14. Taught us all how to celebrate even small victories over rivals – When IBM announced that it will enter the Personal Computer industry, Apple ran an ad saying welcome IBM. Michael Dell when asked what his advise to Steve Jobs would be on his return to Apple in 1997 answered “I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.” When Apple crossed Dell’s market capitalization in 2006, Steve sent an email to all Apple employees – “Team, it turned out that Michael Dell wasn’t perfect at predicting the future. Based on today’s stock market close, Apple is worth more than Dell. Stocks go up and down, and things may be different tomorrow, but I thought it was worth a moment of reflection today. Steve.” And the battles with Microsoft, especially those swipes at Vista’s failure are legendary.

15. Creating integrated products that we didn’t know we needed till he told us we did – Would the iPod be as successful as it is today without iTunes – I highly doubt it. Would the iPad be as awesome without the App Store – I highly doubt it. Would the Mac be such an awesome device without Mac OS X – I totally doubt it. Steve knew how products came together in a way, when we don’t even know what the product should be. This is Steve’s greatest quality by far.

A lot of people said his legacy was that he changed the world by inventing the Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad etc but in my humble opinion his true legacy was that he made billions of people who haven’t ever even had the fortune of meeting him mourn his death with such sincerity & passion, his true legacy is him saying –

“iTouched all of you”.

Steve – Thank you for everything and more….

Love,

Venky

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A Poetic Tribute to Steve Jobs

If I should say, you were Mr. brain
The brain behind the big train
Your hands were seen virtually on the chain
Whirling around the corners of technology rain.
Your ideas were felt on this or that gadget terrain
With no form of ambiguity
This I know for certainty.
What you left behind is felt with loyalty
Your inventions were cropped by flawless ingenuity
The creativity I would call royalty.
I hereby immortalize your turn
In which there is no scorn
Or any figure of derision
Rest In Peace STEVE! for the JOBS well done!

by: Taj O’Solaiman
QMac Member

Thanks, Taj, for writing this for the great man who touched our lives.

Posted in Apple, Qatar Mac Users Group, Steve Jobs | Leave a comment

Apple Retail Outlets in Doha

Qatar with a population of 1.55 million (as of 31 August 2011 by Qatar Statistics Authority) is made of about 80% expats (non-Qatari) from more than 40 countries, yet, according to a marketing manager of a Premium Reseller in Doha told me that they estimate about 6,000 Mac users in the country. And that approximation was in 2010. No idea as well how they got this number, though.

On the retail front, there are three types of stores that sell Apple products: the renowned Apple Store; Apple Premium Reseller; and, independent resellers. In this context, outlets refer to the shops selling Apple laptops.

The Apple Store is the one actually owned and operated by Apple, Inc. and we do not have that in Doha – yet. Apple Premium/Authorized Resellers, on the other hand, is a ‘status’ available only to international (outside of the US) resellers in countries that have no Apple Store presence, in which case this status allows these third parties to essentially act as ‘Apple Stores.’

Lastly, the other independent retail outlets that also carry Apple merchandise in their product lines devoid of the ‘Apple Store feel’.

In Doha, we have only iSpot as the only Apple Authorized Reseller that also offer authorized repair centers with certified technicians and staff.

As of this writing, other independent, albeit, popular stores selling Apple products and laptops, include Carrefour, Virgin Megastore, Jarir Bookstore, Fifty-One East, e- Pro Solutions and Office One.

If you have been following our Price Watch ‘reports’ or quite familiar with Doha prices, Virgin Megastore are infamous for selling Apple laptops with at least, on occasion, QR 500 higher price tag from other independent retail store or even the Premium Resellers. Although, in a rare occasion of last month’s MacBook Air Price Watch that they have the lowest price of the MacBook Airs, almost certainly, getting rid of their few remaining stocks and anticipating the newly released MacBook Air to arrive in their stores. Nevertheless, Virgin Megastore remain to be the place most people head for Arabic and English books and magazines. Virgin Megastore are in Landmark (4418 2242) and Villaggio Mall (4413 5823).

Jarir Bookstore has two big showrooms in Salwa Road (4444 0212) and in Al Rayyan (4411 4322). Aside from Costa coffee shops, one of the main reasons to visit here, however, is the large collection of international magazines.

Office 1 Superstores (4465 9244), located in Salwa Road near Midmac, is an electronic equipment and office and school supplies franchise from Carlin in Madrid. Although Office 1 has been popular in other countries to be a self-service superstore and online shopping, their Qatar online site has never been updated! Last update was in May 2010 (accessed on 15 September 2011), so it is better to just check out their shop to get the recent prices. Don’t rely as well on ‘product knowledge,’ as we inquired through phone the prices of the recent MacBook Airs and Pros but apparently not aware of i7 nor Thunderbolt.

Other shops selling Apple laptops in Doha

Fifty-One East (4425 7777) is one of Qatar’s premier store for luxury and prestige brand from watches, and jewelry, fashion and fine apparel, cosmetics, fragrances, and of course, electronics. Showrooms are located in Al Maha Center, Salwa Road and in City Centre. Costs, though, costs of Mac products, are competitive, but if one has to buy here maybe driven with low-cost or special deals (typically, a free laptop bag, vouchers, or a USB stick) and essentially, familiar with the actual Apple model/unit to purchase as it may take time before they have the recent models. We were also made to understand that they are looking into being an Apple Premium Reseller.

Finally, who is not familiar with this hypermarket chain headquartered in France, Carrefour? It’s the place to go at almost anytime of the day (they close at midnight and even 1am during Ramadan) and you can practically get everything here. The prices of Apple products are normally lower by at least QR 100 from other independent resellers and quite popular to locals and residents because of expediency. Although, I think they are extra vigilant in their pricing strategy for their Apple products as they have this “Refund 10 times” promotion. In 2010, they partnered with iSpot in providing technical assistance to shoppers. We still need to confirm if this ‘project’ is still on going. Expect numbers of “biodegradable” plastic bags (say what?) as well when you do your groceries. Huge Carrefour supermarkets are in Landmark, City Centre, and in Villaggio and you can phone their customer service at 8800 7323.

Now, as the FIFA 2022 host, it is expected that Qatar’s population will radically increase in the coming years with all the expected developments and creation of new cities outside of Doha. Thus, Apple resellers in the country will increase in numbers.

Will there be an Apple Retail Store in Qatar? Will answer on my next article. Watch out for it.

Posted in Apple Premium Reseller, Apple User Group, e-Pro Solutions, iSpot, Qatar, Qatar Mac Users Group | Tagged , , | 21 Comments

MacBook Air Prices in Doha

Hand-in-hand with the release of the OS X Lion operating system update in July 2011, Apple has updated its MacBook Air laptop with new Intel Sandy Bridge CPU options, a data port for high-speed Thunderbolt peripherals, and a backlit keyboard. Notably, the white MacBook now appears to be discontinued, making the 11-inch Air the new baseline MacBook model. In Doha, it normally takes at least a month for these “new” or updated products to arrive.

Deplorably, as of this publication, the recent MacBook Airs are still not available in Doha aside from one reseller. The prices on the table on the right are still the ones released in 2010, i.e., no backlight and Thunderbolt, except for iSpot, which have the recently updated MacBook Airs.

This country has only two Premium Apple Resellers iSpot and e-Pro Solutions. These resellers are owned by prominent local trading companies Ali Bin Ali and Abuissa Holding, respectively, as their IT solutions arm. However, there are also other vendors like London’s popular record shop Virgin Megastore, popular French-hypermarket chain Carrefour, Carlin franchised store Office One and Blue Salon’s luxury retailer Fifty One East.

I don’t speak Arabic and one thing I learned when I bought my first bought my MacBook Pro in Doha was to “pre-order” the English keyboard as Arabic keyboards are evidently prevalent. The Arabic keyboard still has those QWERTY keys, though, it has of no use for me and lessens unnecessary visual interruption while I type.

It usually takes at least a week to arrive upon ordering and you have to make a deposit (cost varies and depends on your arrangement with the shop) to confirm your order. The vendor will call you as soon as the merchandise arrives at their store.

Disclaimer: These published prices are provided for information purposes only and accurate as of the date provided. Price adjustments may be made at any time by these resellers without notice to QMac. n/a=not available on the date the shop was visited.

MacBook Air Prices as of 20 August 2011

The prices on the table above are the MacBook Air models released late 2010, i.e., no Thunderbolt, except for iSpot who now have the MacBook Air laptops with Thunderbolt.

Posted in Qatar, Qatar Mac Users Group | Tagged , | 2 Comments