The passing of Steve Jobs has left a huge gap in the technology world. Although I’ve never really been an “Apple-guy”, nor someone who hung on every word that Steve Jobs said, I’m still a technology guy, which means that I’d be totally remiss if I didn’t sincerely respect Steve for the incredible vision and cutting-edge designs he produced.

And just to be fair, although I am a PC person through and through, I also do not worship at the alter of Microsoft and Bill Gates.  But I do respect anyone, like Bill, who sees a need and then takes the initiative and action to fill that need.

But here’s my point…  as much as I might not be on the Apple side of things, I’ll be the first one to carry the banner for their iStuff.

When I say iStuff (or iDevice, iThing, iGadget), I’m referring to the flock of products they’ve released since 2001, that includes iPods (portable media players), iPhones (Internet and multimedia-enabled smartphones), and iPads (audio-visual focused tablet computers).

I love Apple’s iStuff. In fact, my entire family (Ok, that’s just me, Sue, and Jack) loves Apple’s iStuff. And coming from a family of technology geeks that are skeptical and can find something wrong with almost any technology device they own, that’s saying a lot.

So why this great love of our iDevices?

Let’s go back a few years. We got our first cell phone back in about 1997. It was a pricey Motorola model that was suppose to let us connect to the Internet. Oh, it would let us connect, but the speed was so pitiful, that after about a week of trying to browse the Web remotely, I gave up. After that, during the early and middle 2000’s, I stayed completely away from any cell phone that wasn’t free with my plan (i.e. I had only basic cell phones that would let me make calls, and that’s it).

Then one day, a few years ago, Sue brought home a iPod Touch she was using as part of a grant project at the school she teaches at. Her homework was to learn how to use the iPod, and then somehow use it in the classroom.

Of course, as a “technology family“, ALL of us took turns messing with the device, and within a few days, we were ALL hooked.

First, we went out and purchased an iPod Touch for Jack.

Then, a few weeks later, being at the end of our cell phone contract, we bought two refurbished iPhones for Sue and I to use.

Then, this past year, using funds that all three of us contributed birthday money and allowances to, we purchased an iPad 2.

So now, between the three of us, we have 2 iPod Touches, 2 iPhones, and 1 iPad.

Now, rather than think of us as trendy nerds that just HAVE to have the latest in technology gadgets, understand that we are the types of nerds that do NOT spend money on technology without a very good reason. If you look around our home, every piece of technology that we have is very heavily used, and there’s nothing that just sits and collects dust.

So back to the original question… WHY do we have this love affair with our iThings?

Perhaps I can best answer that by telling you how we use them during a typical day

  • 5:00 AM – I wake up and grab my iPhone from the side of the bed, checking on overnight email.
  • 6:00 AM – Sue and I are up, sitting on the couch, listening to KFAB (a local radio station) on my iPhone, while browsing through my email on the iPad.
  • 7:00 AM – Jack gets up, turns on the TV to ESPN SportsCenter, then grabs the iPad to play his “Tiny Zoo” game.
  • 8:00 AM – Jack and Sue head off to school (Sue teaches at Jack’s school). Sue takes her iPhone and text’s me when she gets there.
  • 8:15 AM – I am in my home office, in front of my computer starting the workday. The iPad is sitting, open, on my desk, with my email program up and running so that I can see if new messages comes in.
  • During the Day – As I’m away from my office in my car, I listen to technology podcasts on my iPhone.
  • During the Day – As I’m away from my office, I monitor my email and refer to my Google Task list on my iPhone.
  • During the Day – As I eat lunch at the kitchen table, I watch an ad-free TV show episode on the iPad.
  • During the Day – Sue and I send text messages at various times on our iPhones.
  • During the Day –
  • 5:00 PM – Jack and Sue get home, Jack does his homework, sometimes using the iPod or iPad to look up words or Google information.
  • Evening – Jack practices his voice lessons by playing back recorded piano accompaniment from the iPad.
  • Evening – I continue to monitor my email on my iPhone
  • Evening – Sue sits in the front yard swing, reading her email on the iPad.
  • Evening – Jack texts his cousin Elly (in Minnesota) using my iPhone
  • 9:00 PM – We head to bed, but not to sleep.  Sue takes the iPod and plays her favorite game, Sudoku.
  • 9:00 PM – I read a technology book on my iPhone, and check my Facebook account.
  • 10:00 PM – Lights off, I watch YouTube videos on the iPad, and do one last check of my email.
  • 10:30 PM – I hook both the iPad and the iPhone up to power outlets to charge, right next to my bed.

Pretty geeky day, I’ll have to admit. But I also have to admit that my iPhone is glued to me from dusk til dawn, every day. And I can’t imagine not having it there to check my email, listen to podcasts, or quickly jump on the Internet to check something.

But now the downside to our iDevices.

As much as it’s great to have instant access to email, the Internet, audio books, podcasts, movies, games, etc. from anywhere… it’s can also be a terrible, non-productive distraction. There is such a thing as being too connected. And now that we have our iThings next to us 24/7, there are definately times I feel way TOO accessible and connected.

Now, to be honest, during the day,and especially in the morning when I do a lot of my writing and best thinking, I actually turn my iDevices OFF (and also my email on my computer), just so that I can focus.

But as much as I might sometimes feel too connected, I still can’t imagine life without my iStuff.

And that’s the story.

Hopefully I’ve given you some ideas and insights about these devices that you can use to make your own decisions about getting one, or perhaps about some other things you can do with the one you already have.

I want to close with one more comment about Steve Jobs.

Since my start with computer technology back in 1981, I’ve often heard that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were just two lucky guys that happen to be in the right place at the right time. I suppose there is some truth to this, and in fact, this could probably be said of most successful entrepreneurs.

But what is often NOT said, is that to take advantage of the “right place and the right time”, an individual has to TAKE ACTION and DO something.

That’s what Steve and Bill both did. As they both stood in their right place and their right time, they took their passion and love of technology and actually built something.

And that’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it?

Here’s a nice tribute by David Pogue to Steve that I ran across on the CBS Sunday Morning site.


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