Thursday, 6 October 2011

R.I.P. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, the demanding visionary who understood before anyone else how deeply we would live our lives through our devices, died today at the age of 56, only weeks after resigning as chief executive of computer giant Apple Inc. as he battled pancreatic cancer.

“The world has lost an amazing human being,” wrote Apple chief executive Tim Cook in a message to employees. “Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”

Jobs was “among the greatest of American innovators,” said President Obama in a statement posted on the White House blog. “There may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.”

Jobs revitalized Apple by transforming smartphones, computers, and media players into objects of desire. He insisted the company put the human experience first, focusing on design as well as technological prowess. Fifteen years ago, Apple flirted with bankruptcy; today, it is one of the most successful companies on earth.

Jobs’s rival, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, issued a statement saying, “The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had.”

Gates closed his statement by writing, “I will miss Steve immensely.”

John Sculley, Apple’s chief executive in the mid-1980s, and the man who once had Jobs kicked out of the company he’d co-founded, said Jobs “taught all of us how to transform technology into magic.”

After he was ousted, Jobs endured a decade of exile. But the experience taught him lessons that would, once he returned, help him lead Apple to unimaginable heights of achievement.

“Steve’s big contribution to the computer industry was to take it away from the nerds and give it to the people,” said Bob Metcalfe, co-inventor of Ethernet networking technology and a professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Jobs was born in San Francisco on February 24, 1955, to Syrian immigrant Abdulfattah John Jandali and Joanne Schieble, both graduate students at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

It was brought home to me over the weekend how fundamental he was in my career as when I spoke to a very close friend of mine we reminisced about how we made the transition from CS10 and drawing boards slowly to using the Mac - I commented that "we were his test pilots" and without us "long in the tooth" designers learning the trade in a totally new way (using the mac - a II Ci to be precise) who knows were Apple would be now?

Without people like Steve Jobs the Design world that I live in today would not be as happy a place thats for sure.

Thank you Steve for your vision and passion for what you believed in - you will be sadly missed but your apples will be a constant reminder of your short existence on this earth.

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