Steve Jobs & Communication

By: Aunjalee Bhullar

Although PRSSA’s blog is normally dedicated to public relations topics, this post is going to explore communication.

My daughter will be two years old this January so over the past year her vocabulary has really began to blossom. There were the normal, beginner baby words: mom, dad, cup, dog and of course, iPad.

Yes, her 26th word was iPad.

The iPad is her favorite “toy” (or she likes to believe it’s her toy). She received it as a gift from family so she could Face-Time her great-grandparents when they moved away. Yes, this would mean her 77-year-old great-grandparents also use an iPad.  She liked using Face-Time, but she was more interested in the books and baby flashcards apps. With time, different apps have helped her vocabulary and communication skills simply flourish.

So when Apple’s co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs passed away on Oct. 6, like the rest of the nation, I was saddened. In my short lifetime I have been able to witness just how much Job’s has revolutionized communication. From allowing my daughter to see and hear her great-grandparents halfway across the country in real-time, to the simple task of emailing the IUPUI PRSSA President from my phone on how to upload this post, Jobs has made leaping innovations in the technology and principles of communication.

And any public relations professional can appreciate that.  

I have broken down how I believe Jobs has changed communications into three principles. 

First, and most obvious, Jobs has helped to make huge advancements in the technology we used to communicate.  Jobs conceived products, like the iPad, a touch-sensitive tablet computer, that few people would ever have thought to pursue. Jobs also helped to create the iPod, iPhone, MacBook, and iCloud, and online storage program. These products, although not the first in their categories, came out on top, boasting the newest features and pushing the rest of the market to be more innovative.

Second, Jobs pushed communication to a new level of connectedness. Although he did not invent the first smart phone or the first personal computer, he did make Apple’s versions more centered on the idea of constant communication and connectedness. The iPhone was one of the first smart phones to hook up to any Wi-Fi connection and feature video recording and sharing as a standard feature. As a leading technology brand, the rest of the market had to follow suite. Now these features, and more advance constant communication programs, like face-time, social network syncing and email, are standard on the majority of cell phones.

Lastly, Jobs made communication more personal. This is evident through some of his earliest projects, like Apple’s creation of the first personal computers including the Macintosh and the Apple Lisa. Computers were not originally intended for personal use, but once they were marketed for this benefit, communication through the computer became more personal. Although Skype was created before Face-Time, Jobs’ twist on the product made it more personal; instead of sitting down at a PC, someone could hold their iPad or iPhone and see the person they are talking to amazing proximity. Communication in this matter is more personal, and the user can almost disregard the fact they aren’t in the same room as the person they are talking to.

These ideas and examples just skim the surface of how Jobs changed communication, its principles and its technology. I’m sure people will eventually write research papers using MacBook’s on just exactly how he did. In the end, Jobs and his pioneering ideas and leadership will certainly be missed.

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