Steve Jobs, the enigmatic and elusive chief executive of Apple, has died. He was 56.
His passing comes just one day after Apple unveiled its latest smartphone, the iPhone 4S. Tim Cook, the company's new CEO took the stage on Tuesday to unveil the phone and champion the many successes that Apple had accomplished under Jobs's tenure. Many of us hoped that the company's signature "one more thing" would be an appearance by Jobs, but we had to suffice with Cupertino's new product lineup, which Jobs no doubt had a hand in guiding.
Though Jobs suffered through various health setbacks in the past few years, he helped shape Apple into the powerhouse it is today. Few companies have people lined up around the block for their latest smartphone and hardware manufacturers would love even a fraction of Apple's iPad market share. Yesterday, Cook said that Apple has now sold 250 million iOS devices, all of which had to pass muster with the notoriously meticulous Jobs.
During his time in the tech spotlight, Jobs amassed a personal fortune of $8.3 billion, according to the latest figures from Forbes. He inspired an action figure, a fake blog persona, and numerous parodies featuring admirers donning his trademark uniform of black turtlenecks and jeans.
It wasn't always that way, though. Apple started like many a tech startup – in a garage. It was 1976 and the product was the Apple-1. There was no casing, power supply, keyboard, or monitor, and it was $700. Jobs and co-founder Steve Wozniak only sold about 200 of the devices, making about $20 each, but they had more success with the Apple II.
The death of Steve Jobs has generated tributes from the Apple visionary's colleagues, peers, rivals, and many who simply admired him from afar. Here's a roundup of what some of those people were saying in publicly released statements and on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook about Jobs after news of his passing was confirmed on Wednesday:
"Michelle and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs. Steve was among the greatest of American innovators - brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.
"By building one of the planet's most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity. By making computers personal and putting the internet in our pockets, he made the information revolution not only accessible, but intuitive and fun.
"And by turning his talents to storytelling, he has brought joy to millions of children and grownups alike. Steve was fond of saying that he lived every day like it was his last.
"Because he did, he transformed our lives, redefined entire industries, and achieved one of the rarest feats in human history: he changed the way each of us sees the world.
"The world has lost a visionary. And 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. Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to Steve's wife Laurene, his family, and all those who loved him."
—U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama
Little did a small group of fans know that declaring "Steve Jobs Day" on Oct. 14 would have such a potential impact.
With Apple's announcement of former chief executive Steve Jobs' death at 56, the declaration of Steve Jobs Day - the day that the iPhone 4S goes on sale - has taken on additional poignancy. And the Facebook page dedicated to the event has become one of the first online memorials in the wake of Jobs' passing, besides Twitter, where the "RIP Steve Jobs" hashtag has dominated the online medium.
“We admire his work,” reads the Steve Jobs Day Web site. “We’ve embraced his vision. And we love what he’s brought to the world. Let’d take a day to honor the man himself and say thank you. Everyone around the world is invited to participate – in real life, Facebook, Twitter, and here.”
The family of former Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said that he died "peacefully" on Wednesday, surrounded by his family. A memorial Web site will be posted.
Jobs passed away at the age of 56. Jobs is survived by his wife Laurene and two children, as well as a daughter from a previous relationship.
On August 24, Jobs stepped down, stating that he could no longer meet his duties and expectations as Apple's chief executive. Jobs was diagnosed with and treated for a rare type of pancreatic cancer in 2004, but he said the 2009 absence was not a resurgence of that cancer. He took a medical leave of absence in January.
In a statement, Jobs' family said he died peacefully.
October 5, 2011 will go down as one of the most bittersweet moments in technology history. Apple chief executive Steve Jobs passed away at 56, a sad end to a magnificent careeer.
Jobs wowed us. The man is the Walt Disney of the technology space – funny, in a way, as he's also Disney's largest shareholder. Apple, Pixar, Disney – three technology icons synonymous with magic.
I can't claim to have known Jobs personally. What I, and we, have seen of him, has been in carefully managed stage appearances over the years, with Jobs rolling out product after product that defined and launched industries, and prompted countless imitations. The Chinese even copied Apple's stores.
I remember how incredibly annoyed I was at Computex, wandering the halls and seeing row after row of candy-colored hardware, virtually everything that you could think of. I remember complaining to the guy who was on the stool next to mine at the hotel bar. Seriously, I said, is this the future? Watermelon-colored computers? And this Taiwanese guy, not even in technology, said something that's stuck with me: "Only until Apple invents whatever's next."