Technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our hearts sing.
I’ll never forget the thrill of seeing Steve Jobs on stage at WWDC in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, the enthusiasm was about the new iPhone 4. There was so much to learn from his presentation: the meticulous attention to detail (in both product and story), the assertion that beauty and quality are just as important as function, and the overriding belief in great technology being able to have a deep emotional impact on people.
In 2011, the honor of seeing Steve on stage again wasn’t completely apparent until this day one year ago. WWDC 2011 was his last public appearance. Yet on June 6, it was clear that Steve’s body was not doing well and his presentation was quite brief. But the fact that he was there, and still genuinely excited and happy to be talking to us despite being so ill, was a beautiful moment. And it was likely as profoundly human as everything he had ever done at the peak of his health.
Steve’s joy was our joy. We bonded with the joy we could feel from the stage because it was familiar. It was the same feeling we had when using an Apple II, a Mac, an iPod, or an iPhone for the first time. Truly, Steve’s gift was much, much more then technology. It was feeling joy in beauty and possibility. This joy is what has always distinguished Apple products from their competitors.
You can copy technology and you can mimic design, but you can’t fake joy.