Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010

Steve Jobs

Highs: With each passing year Steve Jobs and his sleek Apple products not only succeed in impressing the techiest of tech addicts, they also manage to create a whole new batch of gadget enthusiasts. And 2010 proved to be no different, with the release of the latest, smallest Macbook Air, renowned for its ultrathin, portable design and, of course, the release of the iPad, the 9.7" touch-screen tablet device that caused media folk and techies alike to rejoice and believe that it would revolutionize the online publishing industry. While we're still (hopefully) waiting for the revolution to take place, Jobs has given us every reason to hold on to that optimism — this year, Apple surpassed Microsoft as the world's most valuable tech company, when it was announced in May that Apple was worth an astounding $222.12 billion. Moreover, the sale of apps for both the iPhone and the iPod Touch has continued to increase, which has not only created jobs (for their development) but also, as in the case of Angry Birds, created cultural phenomenon. And Jobs even continued to conquer the movie world; his creation Pixar Animation Studios, now part of Disney, dominated the box office with Toy Story 3, which was one of the highest grossing films of the year and the only animated film to be listed in the American Film Institute's ten best films of 2010.

Lows: Yet, despite the fanfare over the iPad, Jobs also experienced a black mark — albeit a temporary one — on the otherwise beloved iProduct name with the release of the iPhone 4. Touted as the fastest, sleekest iPhone yet, upon release users widely complained about the phone's antenna problems. After much (negative) publicity, Jobs chose not to recall the phone and instead offered free bumper cases meant to remedy reception issues, but even those were only offered for a limited time. And the exclusive contract with AT&T — recently named the worst cell phone service provider — continues to cause problems with iPhone reception. Jobs was also embroiled in a minor controversy this year, when an Apple engineer lost his iPhone 4 test unit in a bar and it found its way into the hands of a writer from the tech-blog Gizmodo. Although Jobs got the test phone back, he took the breach very seriously and told people that'd he'd "rather quit" than let the incident slide.

Megan Gibson