I have never owned a Macintosh, iPod, iPhone or iPad. I have however used different products from Apple over the years. I have even used the NeXT.
Back in 1983 (if I remember correctly), I spent a week in a German school (my mom had this idea about sending me to Germany to stay with relatives or friends for a few weeks every summer to improve my German), and in their computer room they had Apple IIe that I got to play around with a little. I was programming on a similar computer (the Swedish ABC 80) at my school, and I found them fairly similar. About the same time, I started hearing about Apple Lisa, and a year or so later I saw my first Macintosh at a computer trade show in Stockholm.
But it was not until a few years later (I think in 1987) I got to actually use a Macintosh. My godmother's husband owned a printing business, and he — like so many others in the graphics industry — used Macintosh. As I "knew computers", I was called in to figure out a few things and teach him. I think it had to do with sending files through a modem or something, on his Macintosh II. At this time I was using another Swedish computer at school, the CP/M-86 based Compis, and the graphics environment on the Macintosh was very impressive.
Then in 1988 I started working at Microsoft, and I was assigned a Macintosh SE (in addition to an IBM PS/2 Model 60). Now I got to use it a bit more extensive, but when I started looking at buying my own computer a year later, the higher price and fewer choices when it came to software made me choose the DOS/Windows platform.
In 1992 I got to play with a NeXT at the place I worked, and it was way cool. I was not able to spend much time on it, but I could see that this was a totally different version of Unix compared with the mostly text-based systems I had used before. As we all know, NeXT was purchased by Apple and became the foundation of OS X.
In 1993 I started my career as a journalist and technical writer. All the desk editors used Macintosh (and Quark Xpress), and a few times I got to actually edit my own articles on them. Once, I believe some time in 1995 or 1996 I even filled in as a desk editor for a day, creating a page or two. This was the last time I actually used a Macintosh.
I have since played with iPhones (my son got one, while I am still on Blackberry), iPad and iPod. All great products, easyto use and powerful. But for me, as a technical person, I am willing to give up some usability and ease of use for a more open and flexible environment. That is why I have a Cowon A2 as my MP3 player. When I got it, it was technically superior to anything Apple had, with a 4 inch widescreen display, built-in speakers and microphone and video in and out. It also supports AVI, Divx/Xvid, Flac and many other formats that iPod did not support without converting. I could also copy files to it directly by connecting it through USB, without having to use a special program like iTunes. But it is bigger, bulkier and heavier than an iPad. The user interface is not nearly as developed. It simply lack the sexiness everyone associate with Apple products.
Steve Jobs was a visionary. Using the words of the Swedish criminal writer Leif GW Persson: "He could see around corners." Steve Jobs could see the future, and managed to deliver products that shaped the future. New products are measured againts the Apple products, and even if they technically may be better, they fall short in sales. This is not just due to the marketing, but also because the Apple products are such household names. Today many people say "iPod" instead of the more generic "MP3 player", and "iPad" is on the way to head that way as well.
The software industry has lost one of it's pioneers and biggest leaders. Steve Jobs family has lost a husband and father, and Apple has lost a visionary.