There is so much being said about Steve Jobs today, but what I want to know is how he affected you. With Apple having sold millions upon billions of iPods, iPhones, apps, Macs, accessories, chances are everyone reading this has bought an iProduct. But what was it? For me, it was the iBook G4.
I was working in a call centre at the time, saving up enough money to move from my small country town in Western Australia to the most exciting city I could think of -- London. My family's clunking PC was infuriating to use, and I wanted my own personal machine that I could pack in my suitcase and use to stay in touch with people when I left home. Walking into Perth's one licensed Apple retailer to buy the iBook was a daunting experience -- I think until then, the largest sum of money I'd ever paid for something was on a pair of rollerskates.
Embarrassingly, I recall asking why Word wasn't installed on the iBook when the rep was demoing it to me in the store. He explained I'd have to buy it separately (I ended up "acquiring" it through other means), which was the first eye-opener I had to the world of Apple vs. Everyone Else. Sounds crazy now, but this was eight years ago -- tech blogs weren't an everyday read, and home internet was nowhere near the commodity it is today.
I loved that hulking 12-incher, though. Infuriatingly slow, amazingly heavy, it served me well until 2005 when I bought an Acer laptop and went back (briefly) to Windows. It's still sitting in a draw somewhere, waiting for my years-old promise of a reinstall and clean-up to come to fruition. You never forget your first.
My first experience of an Apple product was the 5th generation iPod; the iPod with Video as it was called at the time (not iPod Video I remember them bleeting on about). I bought it because I wanted something with 60GB storage for my entire music collection that wasn't the size of a Discman. It was a great product and I loved it. Simple to use, worked well -- you just couldn't argue with it.
Unfortunately it met with a sticky end when it messed with my rather chunky metal watch on my bag. Needless to say the screen of the iPod didn't come out the victor. Although the poor thing soldiered on, battered but not giving up, I finally retired it with a purchase of an iPhone 3G. I still have the iPod somewhere. I liked it because it was great, and did just what I needed it to do, but I loved it because even with a mortal wound it still tried to do my biding. What more can you ask for from a daily-use gadget?
How about you? If you'd like to share your memories of your first Apple purchase (or even why you've never bought anything from Apple), please do tell us in the comments below.