Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A conversation with Steve Jobs: a dream

I just awoke from a dream. In it, I met and had a conversation with Steve Jobs shortly before his death.

Steve and I met in a casual setting. We encountered each other by chance in an Apple Store. Of course, in reality our conversation would have probably been cut short as he was mobbed by hordes of adoring fans. But somehow, this didn't happen.

In my dream, Steve was walking through the store, and suddenly he paused by a video or a still image of the Safari logo on the wall. He suddenly stopped and asked nobody in particular though facing the direction of my friend and me, "What browser do you use?" Somehow I sensed that he was talking about mobile browsers, so I answered, "Safari, of course." At this point in my dream, the person I was with at the store faded into the background as Steve began asking me questions.

"Why?" he asked aloud. He wanted to know why I used Safari on the go rather than any other browser. I explained to him that it simply offered the best browsing experience, the same rich experience as the desktop; you get to see the whole Web page, wherever you are, without being dumped to an awful "mobile-friendly" version of a site. I explained how my relative youth and good eyesight influenced my desire to see the actual site scaled down on a Retina display. Oddly, I think at this point we walked several feet over to some sort of tall apparatus in the store and Steve began testing my eyes while we continued our conversation. (Hey, dreams aren't always terribly realistic.) I discussed how people of my parents' generation (roughly the same as Jobs' but a little older) may have a different opinion about reading text so small on such a small screen, in spite of the fine resolution of the iPhone. I explained that I had been thinking about a solution to the problem. Steve smirked a bit as I explained that obviously they couldn't use a garish round magnifying glass to see the screen better, and I told him that I had been pondering a solution, including the possibility of a seamless, smooth, flat, magnifying layer with tapered edges that could be placed on top of the iPhone's display surface (in reality, I had never imagined such a thing prior to my dream).

Steve pondered my responses and continued his inquisition. I reveled in the opportunity to have my brain picked by the master. I secretly wondered for a moment if this would lead me to a job in the creative inner circle at Apple. The conversation then shifted to what type of phone my mother uses. I began to tell him about how I had tried to convince my mom to buy an iPhone but she hadn't yet. The wheels in his head were turning. Steve's brilliant mind was trying to figure out what could be done—what he could do—to capture the imagination of those who didn't yet use an iPhone. His inner passion was to bring the world to nirvana though embracing great technology. "What does she use?" he inquired. "Some stupid flip-phone, a Samsung I think. Just some horrible dumbphone." I explained that I had shown her several of my iPhone's features that I believed she would enjoy using, but that every time I did she always cut me off and said that was enough. (This is not reality, by the way. My mom actually does want an iPhone and is considering getting one.) I expressed my incredulity about her not comprehending that an iPhone would simplify her life, that she would never again have to take horribly grainy pictures on her low-res dumbphone camera, that she would be able to sync all her photos to her iPhoto library and check her e-mail in Mail while on the go. I then explained that she did, however, have an iPad, and that she uses it for Mail—but mostly she just uses it to play Words With Friends with her retired friends and current coworkers (this is reality).

At some point as the conversation continued, we were far from the Apple Store, lying on our backs in a grassy field staring up at the sky while discussing how to bring the world to technological enlightenment. Somehow, he and I both knew that his time remaining on the earth was short. We shared this bit of knowledge through an unspoken connection between us, and others who had been near us in the Apple Store seemed unaware of this most unfortunate fact. But for the most part, Steve seemed at peace with it. He was just trying to make the most out of the little time he had left. Perhaps this all took place after he resigned as CEO. But somehow, I knew, and he knew that I knew.

I awoke. This, of course, was all just a dream. A fantasy. But I was grateful to have had the opportunity to speak with Steve Jobs before his death about the thing he was most passionate about in life: making the world a better place through great technology.

Although I don't normally have cool dreams like this, you can follow me and my passion for technology and other things on Twitter and .

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