Imagining Life Without Apple

I remember the first time I tried to manage Lotus 1,2,3 on an IBM PC. I had two thoughts immediately. The first: This doesn't speak a language I understand. And the second: Computers are going to take over the world.

It was a startling revelation. 

And for the better part of the past 30 years that was how it went. Sure, I had an Apple IIe when it came out in 1983, but it wasn't a 'serious' computer. The PC, and Windows, ruled the world, and their complex naming conventions, unmemorable drive locations, and brain-searing color schemes left me unable to navigate what had become the computers that ruled the universe.

PCs had the upper hand. And computers with elegant graphical interfaces, software I could understand, and images and sounds that spoke to me left me out of the mainstream.

I remember trying to get comfortable with PCs as my company grew. We bought both Macs and PCs, but the Macs ended up on the desks of editors and graphics people. General office work was left to PCs. 

Now, Apple had already made headway into my company. We'd been editing on Avid Media Composers, which began on the Mac. But as Avid was beginning to shift to PC, Apple released Final Cut Pro in 1999. FCP was a game changer for video. While Avid always wanted editors to think in terms of numbers, FCP was an interface that you could play with. You could pull, drag, move, and paste. Video was fluid and malleable; editing was no longer a series of head-scratching math problems. It was a material, like clay or paint. Both Avid and Final Cut were 'non-linear,' but Avid was a calculator, and FCP was a paintbrush.

From that point on we made the transition to all Apple FCP in the edit rooms. But the desktop computers were still PC. They were made for numbers, and offices ran on numbers.

I remember when all that changed. My older son had turned 13, and he wanted to buy a laptop. He had earned his own money, and he told me he was going to buy a Mac. I explained that he needed to get a computer that would prepare him for the 'real world,' a computer that crashed, that had the blue screen of death, a computer he would complain about and curse at. He needed to buy a PC.  But he wasn't hearing anything of it—he bought a Mac. And weeks later, he put his arm around my shoulder and said, "Dad, you've got to stop looking at my Mac. You own the company; you can buy a Mac of your own." He was right, of course, and I remember the Apple "Switch" campaign was running in the media. I switched, and for the first time, the computer on my desk didn't fight with me. It was a machine that loved images, sounds, music, video. It thought the way I did.

That was ten years ago. Today, my day begins with Apple (a 17" iMac for my home office), continues with Apple (an iPad to read news during coffee and breakfast), connects my home to work (with an iPhone 3, soon to be 4S),  and then my day is either connected to a 15" iMac on my desk or an amazing 15" MacBook Air in my backpack. 

I'm up by 7:30 a.m., and often don't nod off till midnight or 1 a.m. I'd guess that 85% to 90% of my waking hours include having a Apple product under my fingertips.

Pictures on Aperture. My new eBook is an app on the iPad. My film being edited on FCP. My company's video curation powering sites with HTML5 on iPads, iPhones, and desktops. Photoshop for graphics. iPhone video for on-the-spot HD capture of sights and sounds. 

I've made a career out of pictures and words and sounds. Capturing them. Telling stories with them. Putting curation tools to manage them in the hands of brands, and publishers, and entrepreneurs.

It's clear to me that the PC was a left-brain device, and the Mac was a right-brain device. And as a right brain person, I can hardly imagine what my life or the world would be like if images and ideas hadn't had Apple to power our storytelling nature.

[Image: Flickr user *~YY~*]

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