Growing Up Apple

My first computer, when I was seven, was the TI-99/4A; my second, at nine, the Commodore 64.

But it was the Apple II and, later, Mac 128K, that I always lusted after.

In time, I was lucky enough to own my very own Mac Classic — a device I felt emotionally attached to. Sure, I first learned about machines and assembly on the C64, but it was armed with Think Pascal, Inside Macintosh, and Dave Mark’s Programming Primer that I started to tackle deeper programming challenges and sense the possibilities of digital technology.

I still miss my next Mac, the LC520, an ugly hunk of beige that I used to lug to high-school friends’ houses and on which we wrote both Infotron and Murphy’s Revenge — our first large software efforts. We learned we could build games that people wanted to play!

I departed for college armed with a Power Mac 6100. It was for many years the center of a modest music studio. Without it, DJ Bissen, Abi and I wouldn’t have been able to compose Atreus Dawn, our absurdist techno musical.

When I moved to Seattle in early 2002, I bought my first laptop, the 12” Powerbook G4. It must have seemed a little strange to my new colleagues at Microsoft, but I figured some diversity in Redmond’s halls wouldn’t hurt. It’s only recently, with the latest generation of Macbook Airs, that I think Apple has outdone the combined form and function of that old machine.

I didn’t join the iPod party until iPods had color screens; it wasn’t until I did that I truly got to know my own music collection. It’s hard to overstate how elegantly the device’s form and function intertwined to make listening to music a genuinely wonderful experience.

The iPhone’s introduction was a watershed moment for our industry — the Mother Of All Demos for a new generation — and it was a key factor in my decision to leave Microsoft and strike out on my own. It was clear that the world had changed overnight; I had to be in a position to change with it.

I became an iOS developer. Along the way, a client asked me to write an iPad app. An admitted iPad skeptic, I waltzed over to the nearest Apple Store and nervously forked over my money. I’d misunderstood. The iPad isn’t a bigger iPhone: it’s a designer window with a view to the entire world. I’ve used mine every day since; it has transformed the way I read, learn, and relax.

So here we are. I grew up with the revolution, which revolution has just begun. Throughout it all, I always knew that some guy named Steve was out there connecting the dots forward. I can’t wait to see where his dots lead from here.