FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 22, 2017
 
Blog TECH
REMEMBERING STEVE JOBS
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In an ominous letter in August, Steve Jobs resigned as Apple's CEO.

"I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come."

Yesterday, at age 56, Steve passed away from complications due to pancreatic cancer.

That day has come.

His story is now legend. Jobs and friend Steve Wozniak started Apple in a garage and went on to ignite a computing revolution. From those humble beginnings Apple was able to outfox IBM and Xerox, two giants of industry that never thought a little startup could make much of a dent in their market. After introducing the Macintosh in 1984, Jobs came under fire from Apple's board. His long-term vision for computing didn't meet their immediate expectations; the wunderkind became an albatross and was booted from the very company he founded.

Famously, Apple went on a downward spiral until Jobs returned in 1996 when Apple acquired NeXT, a company Jobs had founded in the intervening years which became the basis for the modern day Mac OS X. Then came the five flavours of iMac, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Steve Jobs's return and the resulting meteoric rise of Apple is perhaps one of the great comeback stories of all time.

What Jobs uniquely recognized was that technology could be for the common people. The computer had to get out of labs and offices and into the homes of, well, everyone. His life's work has been defined by bringing computers into the homes, backpacks and pockets of people the world over. Sure, he made a fortune doing it, but with Jobs it always felt like he was one of you. Whenever he took the stage to demo a new product in his signature blue jeans and black mock turtleneck, his eyes would light up as he tinkered away. The bottom line would only come if the product was great.

What inspired me — and given the outpouring of affection in the hours since his death, billions of others — are the many inventions that arose from Jobs’s vision that all fit into a little puzzle of human curiosity. He went after consumers' hearts; the rest followed. Look simply at the iPod. One thousand songs in your pocket, Jobs told us. How cool! When he put it that way, the tech-nerdery of the thing simply fell away. You had to get music on the thing though, right? That meant ripping your library onto a Mac (or, eventually, a PC) until the iTunes Music Store debuted. In time, all of those puzzle pieces fell into place, but it started with a device that captured the peoples' imagination. It wasn't the first portable music player, and maybe it wasn't even the best, but it forever changed the way people consumed music.

And like the Mac and iPod, the iPhone changed the mobile phone market. The iPad continues to dominate the tablet market (which many will forever call the iPad market).

Steve Jobs wasn't a wizard or a deity, but he was a visionary — a man who followed his gut and inspired others to do the same. Apple will survive without him, but it won't be the same. He will be missed by many, but he leaves behind one hell of a legacy. Perhaps Apple's ability to stand up on its own two feet and continue to innovate will be his greatest achievement; his final and extended, "One more thing..."

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