Jobs leaves legacy of innovation at U

Apple pervades at the University despite its contracts with competitors.

by Jeff Hargarten

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 âÄî the man behind Apple âÄî 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 companyâÄôs chairman  until his death Wednesday.

âÄúSteve Jobs should be a model for all of us as to where creativity and vision may lead,âÄù said Jean Quam, dean of the UniversityâÄôs 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.

âÄúGiven 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,âÄù 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 JobsâÄô death last week.

Hebel also owns an iPod, the worldâÄôs best selling personal music device, which Jobs unveiled in 2001.

âÄúThe way todayâÄôs generation of college students interact with music is very different,âÄù said Joseph Konstan, a professor at the UniversityâÄôs College of Science and Engineering.

JobsâÄô introduction of the iPod âÄúhas changed the way you look around campuses,âÄù he said, adding it was impossible not to roam around the University without seeing the iPodâÄôs popular white headphones peeking out of studentsâÄô 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.

âÄúThereâÄôs not a lot of difference between Macs and PCs these days,âÄù said David Rose, a chemistry freshman.

Despite this, Apple products have gained a followingamong students.

âÄú[Jobs] didnâÄôt make the first smartphone or the first tablet computer, but he managed to turn them into products that were useable and appealing,âÄù Konstan said.

Rose liked his Macbook for its lack of technical issues, and used it despite the fact his major doesnâÄôt require it.

Konstan bought an Apple II, originally released in 1977, early in the development of personal computing, which was when technology âÄúcame around at the right time,âÄù 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 JobsâÄô 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.

âÄúHe will be greatly missed,âÄù Konstan said.