On Wednesday, we learned the sad news that former Apple CEO, and one of the worlds most brilliant minds, Steve Jobs, died at the age of 56.
The sports world is usually slow to take to technology, but the innovations that Jobs and Apple came up with made headway over the last few years, and are becoming staples. The industry is changing, and of course Jobs was instrumental in making phones, tablets and laptops as versatile and compatible as ever. Aside from how much trouble athletes have gotten from tweeting from their iPhones, here’s a look at the impact Apple products have had in sports.
There is no doubt that the iPod is the source for athletes and pregame music. HBO’s 24/7 feature on the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins showed the Caps locker room jamming on their iHome with an iPod of their favorite tracks after every win. Vince Carter brought notoriety when in 2004, he was told he could no longer wear the device on court while warming up. Just there though, you see the convenience of the small yet powerful music device. Many athletes are seen coming off the bus wearing theirs. While the headphone preference in the world may have changed, there is no denying the impact the iPod has made on the pre game ritual. The White Headphones became a trend because athletes started being seen with them.
This device single-handedly changed the way in which sports were watched. Sure it was known for sometime that you can watch sports through the convenience of your laptop, but you’d need a wireless connection for that. Yes the iPhone made it possible to do so as well, but in an extremely small screen. The iPad provided a perfect medium for which to watch sports. Live. A simple data plan, or wireless connection allowed you to be clicks away from live streaming, and ALL the analysis through apps you’d ever need. Fantasy drafts can be done on the iPad. You can get live scores with one click from the iPad. Hell, even sports teams are using them instead of physical paper.The Tampa Bay Buccaneers bought an iPad for the entire roster with the playbooks on it. Save paper, make it more convenient.
EA Sports offers their games exclusively to Apple users for mobile play. You can play NHL, FIFA, NBA, even Tiger Woods Golf straight on your tablet or phone. Video games were once a luxury to have in your home, and now for seemingly low cost, you can take it everywhere you go.
Further, magazines like Sports Illustrated or ESPN the Mag, are now ready to download the second they are published. Earlier, I’d have to wait a week for my magazine to come my home in Toronto. Now I get a notification when it’s ready for download. Not bad.
You can download classic games from nearly any era on iTunes for pennies. You can listen to sports podcasts from around the world on iTunes.
Look, I don’t want to hammer this home. This is not to say that Jobs and Apple are solely responsible for the use of technology in the sports world either. But there is no denying the impact the innovations of Jobs has made. I mean Chad Ochocinco has an APP ABOUT HIMSELF! While others have attempted to replicate, the quality of sports apps and games available on Apple technology has set a precedent that will be hard to reach.
RIP, Steve Jobs.