Students and faculty at the University of Minnesota look at their Macbooks, iPods and iPads and see more than electronics: They see the legacy of Steve Jobs — the man behind Apple — who died Wednesday.
Jobs died at age 56 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He stepped down from his CEO position in August due to health concerns but remained the company’s chairman until his death Wednesday.
“Steve Jobs should be a model for all of us as to where creativity and vision may lead,” said Jean Quam, dean of the University’s College of Education and Human Development.
In the past two semesters, CEHD added about 450 iPad tablets, a product Jobs revealed to the world in 2010, to its classes.
“Given that all the information in the world can now be held in the palm of our hands, I think his inventions have revolutionized the role of teachers in the academy,” Quam said of Jobs.
Freshman Shannon Hebel was shocked when her new Macbook survived with no damage after it tumbled off a bunk bed. She said she was upset when she heard of Jobs’ death last week.
Hebel also owns an iPod, the world’s best selling personal music device, which Jobs unveiled in 2001.
“The way today’s generation of college students interact with music is very different,” said Joseph Konstan, a professor at the University’s College of Science and Engineering.
Jobs’ introduction of the iPod “has changed the way you look around campuses,” he said, adding it was impossible not to roam around the University without seeing the iPod’s popular white headphones peeking out of students’ ears.
The University sells a wide variety of Apple products at the bookstore while also offering school-certified laptops from Dell and Lenovo.
PC-based technology is officially endorsed by the University Office of Information Technology, which offers extended warranties and technical support for each computer it sells.
“There’s not a lot of difference between Macs and PCs these days,” said David Rose, a chemistry freshman.
Despite this, Apple products have gained a followingamong students.
“[Jobs] didn’t make the first smartphone or the first tablet computer, but he managed to turn them into products that were useable and appealing,” Konstan said.
Rose liked his Macbook for its lack of technical issues, and used it despite the fact his major doesn’t require it.
Konstan bought an Apple II, originally released in 1977, early in the development of personal computing, which was when technology “came around at the right time,” he said.
He remembers the days when posters across campus transitioned from handmade sheets to computer printouts with too many colors as personal computers gained popularity, a result of Jobs’ vision.
Konstan, who works with computer-human interaction, said Jobs had a great impact as a visionary who understood business well enough to make his innovations successful.
“He will be greatly missed,” Konstan said.