The iPad story which stirred Steve Jobs

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Illiterate kids understand it intuitively

I find interesting an account about Michael Noer, who once wrote a story about a day he was reading a novel on his iPad when he was living in a farm in Colombia.

Walter Isaacson, widely known for his work writing stellar biographies of great individuals like Albert Enstein, writes on Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson: “Jobs was stirred by a story, which he forwarded to me, by Michael Noer on Forbes.com. Noer was reading a science fiction novel on his iPad while staying at a dairy farm in a rural area north of Bogotá, Colombia, when a poor six-year-old boy who cleaned the stables came up to him. Curious, he handed him the device.

With no instruction, and never having seen a computer before, the boy started using it intuitively. He bagan swiping the screen, launching apps, playing a pinball game. “Steve Jobs has designed a powerful computer that an illiterate six-year-old can use without instruction,” Noer wrote. “If that isn’t magical, I don’t know what is.”

This was an awesome affirmation to Steve and the team at Apple that they made great products that intersect between the humanities and technology.

After having built a game-changing communications device in the iPhone. And (needless to mention) the huge success it bacame — selling 90 million units by the end of 2010. That number meant that the phone scooped more than half of the total profits made in the global mobile phone market. Very impressive feats and achievements.

Many people would struggle to top that sort of success, but not Steve and company at Apple Inc. So then came the iPad, launched in Jobs’ renowned theatrical style in January 2010.

But, what came to be known as the iPad was partly as a result of one Alan Kay, an engineer who worked at Xerox — and had envisioned a Dynabook tablet computer 40 years earlier. Those who knew him say Kay was pretty good at making prophetic assessments. Well, clearly!

Sales-wise, it turns out Apple outdid itself. The iPad sold one million devices in less than a month — twice as quickly as it took the iPhone to get to get to that mark.

In addition to the Colombian six-year-old anecdote, that success must’ve made Steve proud.

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THEMBA JAY,

Communicate Your Genius