Steve Jobs, the visionary behind Apple Computer, died today at the age of 56. He had been dealing with pancreatic cancer, and resigned as CEO of Apple in August.
Jobs’ death has sent shockwaves throughout the tech community. In this article, I’ll go over his legacy in today’s world and also give my opinion on what lies ahead with Apple Computer.
Since the advent of their two companies, Apple’s Steve Jobs has been viewed as the more “hippie”, laid-back tech guru in contrast to Microsoft’s Bill Gates — who is stereotyped as the more “official”, “color-inside-the-lines” “nerd”. And while this isn’t really accurate, there is some underlying truth; Jobs has definitely had a more “liberal arts” feeling to him. His products with Apple, especially after his return to the CEO throne in the late 90′s, have emphasized style more over substance.
But what really set Jobs apart was his incredible attention to detail and ability to keep things simple for the end user. While these two qualities may seem to be complete opposites, they are what propelled Apple and Jobs to the status they have today. The appealing style was there in the details, while the simplicity made the substance. Tech fanatics would agree that the success of Apple’s products hinge on their usability and coolness factor.
At the turn of the millenium, with its trademark Mac line starting to become a household name again, Jobs set out to turn Apple from a computer company into more of a digital products company. In 2001, the iPod was released. It’s hard to think of an MP3 player before the iPod took hold of the market, but those pre-iPod players are just clunky compared to the first iDevice. With the iPod, Jobs set out to revolutionize his first non-computer market: music players.
This became the first stepping stone to the development of the iPhone and the iPad. While the iPhone was Apple’s first touch-screen device, Jobs had been longing for a touch-screen tablet like the iPad before the iPhone was even a thought. And like with the iPod and the music player market, the iPhone and iPad revolutionized the smartphone and tablet markets.
These products will always be a part of Jobs’ legacy. He was the first true visionary of the 21st century and the entire tech world has him to thank. I shudder to think how tech would be like without his presence. He will be missed.
As for Apple…
The news of Jobs’ passing and the lackluster reception to the upcoming iPhone 4S have made many weary about the future of Apple. I don’t think they’ll be immediately effected as much as people think. Even though Jobs had sweeping oversight on all things Apple, I think the company knows enough to not alienate customers and go in the wrong direction. I believe this will hold true for the next few years. But in the long run I feel Jobs’ vision and direction will be sorely missed. Where do they go from the iPhone and iPad?
With his passing, who is the true tech leader of today? Mark Zuckerberg? While the Zuck-man has brought social media to the forefront, I don’t really think he’s a visionary. Jobs’ death may be a huge news story now in the tech world, but I don’t think he’ll truly be missed until later.