Thursday 6 October 2011

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How Steve Jobs Kept Us Traveling

Steve Jobs never worked in the travel industry.  I'm sure he could have if he wanted to, and it really sets the head spinning thinking what a man with that much creativity in him would have done to the travel industry, but it was never his passion.  Instead he followed his heart through the technology business, and in the end he probably influenced every industry in existence to one length or another.  The man could truly see things that nobody else could, and while the current leadership of Apple seems to be a pretty bright bunch, somebody has to dream up the idea before the techno-geniuses can make it.  I'm hopeful, but I somehow doubt that there's an equivalent visionary waiting in the wings at Apple, or anywhere else.

Even though his focus was on computers, my appreciation for Steve Jobs stems from how much easier he made travel for my family, even though we resisted for way longer than we should have.  To give you an idea of how late to the Apple party we were, the first iPod that we bought was a 3rd generation iPod touch, almost eight years after the iPods first hit
the market.  Still, we may have been slow at getting on board, but it only took one trip for us to discover a very important truth - "Entertained kids are quiet kids".  While it used to be painful enduring a four hour car ride and a six hour plane ride back-to-back, with an iPod in hand our children were transported off into their own little world - A world with no talking, no fighting, and almost no "Are we there yet?"

Strangely enough, Apple made it cheaper for us to travel as well.  Sure iPads are a big up front expense, but not having to run out and buy new movies and video games before each trip has more than recouped that cost. Constant access to the deals forums for my favorite websites has gotten me in on more than a couple of fantastic deals that wouldn't have still been around if I'd waited until I got home (I first saw the discussion of the Fairmont/Living Social deal on my iPhone) and saved me a fair amount of money by letting me change hotel reservations on a moments notice.  I kind of wish now that I'd kept a running total, but I'd confidently attribute at least a few thousand dollars in savings to being able to stay connected whenever I wanted.

My favorite feature of the iDevices though, is the GPS.  Steve Jobs may have made the ultimate contribution to manhood when he put in each of our pockets the ability to stop asking for directions.  There's probably a way to put a monetary value on that feature, but I guarantee you that the real reward came in marital harmony.  My wife is a very patient person, but I'm fairly sure that before the advent of the iPhone, she had about filled her quota of hearing me say "It's gotta be right around here." The iPhone navigation system single-handedly scratched "Has no sense of direction" off the list of cons for millions of men, and replaced it with "Meh, he has an iPhone".

They started selling iPods the year that my youngest daughter was born, and I'm not sure my kids realize what a great convenience the technology is.  I'm sure that most of the things I love about the Apple products would have made it to market eventually, but I already complain about having to pack my laptop up for traveling.  Having to pack up a GPS, gaming system, music player, portable DVD player, and a whole bunch of books as well as the laptop would probably convince me to just stay home.  Instead, we travel, and for that, words can't express just how grateful I truly am.