I’ve been writing product reviews ranging from mobile phones, PDAs, notebooks, computer hardware, and video games since 1998. I have especially enjoyed reviewing products from Apple and the very first product I have reviewed from them was the 12 inch iBook in December 2004 that I bought from Fry’s Electronics just out of my sheer curiosity.
I’ve been a diehard PC user for a very long time and have wasted countless hours building them from ground up trying to get the highest 3DMark scores! So when I first tried out the iBook, I tried too hard in making it run like a PC, a common mistake that a lot of switchers make. Then I started to realize that everything worked differently and I had to think differently. So when I wrote up my review for the iBook, it wasn’t a very traditional one where mostly people just jump into the specs and weight. I wrote it from a real life usage perspective from a longtime PC user walking the reader from opening the box, powering it up, and then going out into the world with it. The review itself is still on the Notebook Review page: here
About a few days later I get this surprising email:
From: Steve Jobs
Subject: iBook 12″ Review
Date: December 27, 2004 4:05 PM PDT
To: Louie Tran
Hope you had a great Christmas. I saw your review at Notebook Review and enjoyed reading through it. I must have read it at least 5 times. It’s a little bit rough but I like your style where you don’t emphasize too much on specs and numbers, but on the experience of using it. We have something big coming up and you will be pleasantly surprised. Would you like to join us for upcoming Apple events?
PS – One button mouse makes perfect sense. You’ll realize it soon enough!
After reading that, I didn’t know what to say as I was completely stunned. I was in my early 20s at the time and all I could reply back with was, “Thanks Steve! I would definitely like to be at the Apple Events!!!!”
About a few months later, I got an invite to WWDC 2005 where Apple announced that they were switching from the PPC processor to the Intel Processor. I was awestruck seeing Steve Jobs doing his presentation live for the first time and I was at the edge of my seat like a little kid. After the presentation, I was able to walk up to him and introduce myself, “Hey Steve, awesome presentation. Thanks for inviting me over. I’m Louie Tran by the way, you emailed me about my article posted on Notebook review.”
Steve smiled, shook my hand and said, “Oh yeah! Glad you can make it! Have you reviewed anything exciting?”
I wasn’t sure if he even remembered emailing me but I went along with it, “Some Sony laptops here and there, but I can’t wait to see the Intel chips in action on your laptops!”
Then Steve asked me, “Do you have a business card?”
“Sure!” I handed him my homemade cards with my home address on it.
“Thanks! I’m going to look forward to seeing more of your work!” We shook hands and then parted ways. That was my first and last in person conversation with him ever.
In May 2006, this showed up at my door:
It was the first Black MacBook Core Duo 2Ghz. Inside there was also a note in it that said “Do your thing – Steve” and that review was also posted on NoteBook Review here
To this very day, I have enjoyed reviewing Apple Products and kept the style of my product reviews thanks to the encouragement and brief conversations with Steve Jobs. I, along with the rest of the world will truly miss him, not only for what he has contributed, but for the person that he is.