Remembering Steve Jobs One Year Later
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
One year ago today, on October 5, 2011, the tech industry lost a titan, Apple lost one half of its founders, and the world lost a visionary. Steve Jobs – often referred to simply as “Steve” – had finally lost his 8-year battle with a rare form of pancreatic cancer, leaving behind his wife, Laurene Powell Jobs, his children Reed, Erin, Eve and Lisa and his sister, novelist Mona Simpson. Steve died at a young 56 years old.
In the days following Steve´s passing, many monuments and memorials went up in honor of this pioneer and revolutionary. Apple fans who normally rushed the stores when new products were announced held candlelight vigils all over the world, leaving behind shrines of flowers, pictures, and Apple´s with a single bite taken from them, many with parting words. The flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York was still under construction last October. Undeterred, these well-wishers continued to build their shrine covering the gray “Under Construction” wall with post it notes and messages of good will.
Steve started Apple Computers on April 1, 1976 with Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne, building computers in his parent´s garage. Wayne would soon leave the company in only two weeks´ time, missing out on a huge fortune.
In the early days of Apple Computer, Jobs and Wozniak sold the first, fully assembled personal computer, the Apple I, for $666.66. A year later, Apple released the follow up, the Apple II which was used with a spreadsheet program in some offices. Apple later went on to build the Macintosh and Lisa computers, both seen as alternatives to IBM, a popular choice among corporations.
In 1985, amidst poor sales of Macintosh computers and Steve´s erratic behavior, Apple removed him from his job as manager. Steve resigned from Apple, selling all but one symbolic share in the company, and started NeXT computers the same year.
From NeXT, Steve met and began working with Pixar, an animation studio which used Steve´s NeXT Computers. In 1995, Pixar released Toy Story, an animated film which changed the way audiences and filmmakers viewed movies forever.
Apple truly became a household name in 2001 with the release of the iPod. Though not the world´s first digital music player, the iPod was the first one done well, with plenty of space for music and an easy-to-use, intuitive design. As a part of the iPod line, Apple also introduced iTunes, an online, digital music store. With a 99 cent per song model, iTunes was the first online, digital music source which gave many music fans a good reason to buy their music legally, as opposed to pirating or stealing it, as was the popular choice at the turn of the century. Steve once again wowed the world in 2007 when he introduced the very first iPhone, another completely different and revolutionary product. With the world comfortable with using the iPhone, Steve announced a larger, similar option in 2010, the iPad.
Amidst all this hard work and innovation, Steve´s health began to decline in 2003. In 2004, Apple employees got their first hint that he wasn´t well as he sent an email explaining he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Though Steve´s tumor was removed in 2004, he began looking thin and sick a few years later and rumors of his illness and even his premature death began to circulate in 2006.
Steve and Apple´s spokespeople tried to explain away his appearance for years, saying he had the flu or hormonal imbalance. However, in January 2009, Steve announced in another email that he would be taking a medical leave of absence from Apple, his first of 2. He returned to Apple that summer, making an appearance on stage during one of his famous product announcements, the unveiling of new iPods.
Steve took his second leave of absence in January of 2011, though he remained involved with the company as the CEO. Then, in August of last year, Steve resigned from the company he helped build in 1976 and rebuild in 1997.
On October 4th, Apple´s top executives held another product unveiling on Apple´s campus, with one reserved seat at the front and center of the room left empty. The next day, just 11 days after he stepped down from his role at Apple, Steve Jobs passed away.
In the year since his passing, Apple Inc has become the world´s most valuable company, selling record numbers of smartphones, tablets and personal computers. Apple´s success cannot be tied solely to one man, of course, but his spirit, his tenacity and his vision certainly helped propel them there.