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Friday, October 07, 2011

My Apple memory: how I wrote to Steve Jobs about getting my first Apple computer



A young Steve Jobs (right) with Apple founding partner, Steve Wozniak (left)
In 1998, I was a freshman in the University of Wisconsin-Madison, halfway around the world from my home country, Singapore. With a desire to try something new as part of college life, I spent US$2,3000 to buy a new PowerBook G3 "Wallstreet", with a 233MHz CPU, 32MB of RAM, 2GB of hard disk space, and a 12-inch screen.

But Apple had just released this new line of PowerBooks, so supply was limited. When my freshman term started, I still had not received my PowerBook, even though my order had been placed for more than a week (I think). The only response that DoIT (UW's computer store) could provide was that it was on the way.

So one day, I went to a computer lab and wrote an email to sjobs@apple.com. Yes, I was writing to Steve Jobs, who had just taken over as interim CEO at Apple a year before. I wrote about my predicament in getting my PowerBook quickly, now that the school term had started. I mentioned that this was to be my first Apple computer. I told him about UW's strong support for the Macintosh platform, even though Apple was still languishing in 1998. I ended by saying that I hoped that Apple could somehow expedite my order.

Unfortunately, I never kept a copy of that email, so I can't verify anything.

A few days later, I got a call from DoIT. My PowerBook had arrived! And I was one of the first customers on campus to receive it.

I don't know if my email had played any part in my receiving my PowerBook. And I don't recall if I ever wrote a thank-you email to Steve Jobs for it.

But I do know that from that time forward, I have always used an Apple computer for my personal use, as follows:
  • PowerBook G3
  • PowerBook G4 Titanium (first version)
  • iMac G5 (second version)
  • MacBook Air (second version) -- my current computer
Along the way, I've also owned an iPod, an iPod nano and an Apple TV. I don't own an iPhone because I've been holding out for a white version, but iPhone 4S with Siri sounds interesting.

And that's my Apple memory of Steve Jobs. RIP.

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