Steve Jobs passed away today, Apple announced late this afternoon.
Here, we take a look back at some of the big moments in his tenure at the iconic electronics company he co-founded.
As the 20th century segued into the 21st and as we moved ever deeper into the Digital Age, few individuals personified or drove the era in the way that Steve Jobs did. Apple, over the course of more than three decades largely under his leadership, defined and redefined personal computing with a startling number of iconic devices, from the Apple 1 and the original Macintosh to the iPod and the iPad.
Editor's note: This story was originally published the day Steve Jobs resigned from Apple and has been updated to reflect news of his death.
At the unveiling of the Apple iPad in January 2010, Jobs reflected for a moment on the birth of his company, known early on as Apple Computer Co. and now as just Apple Inc. The black-and-white photo from 1976 shows Jobs (right) with co-founder Steve Wozniak.
For a detailed timeline on Apple from 1976 to 2006, see "Apple turns 30."
The image on the cover of the technical manual for Apple's very first computer suggests not circuit boards and CRT monitors, but science, knowledge, and inspiration. That's no coincidence. "From almost the beginning at Apple we were, for some incredibly lucky reason, fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time. The contributions we tried to make embodied values not only of technical excellence and innovation--which I think we did our share of--but innovation of a more humanistic kind," Jobs said in an oral history interview he gave to the Smithsonian Institution in 1995.
"I actually think there's actually very little distinction between an artist and a scientist or engineer of the highest caliber," he continued. "They've just been to me people who pursue different paths but basically kind of headed to the same goal, which is to express something of what they perceive to be the truth around them so that others can benefit by it."
In February 1982, Jobs made his debut on the cover of Time magazine as the face of a group that the newsweekly's cover story called "America's risk takers"--entrepreneurs who included Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell and FedEx founder Frederick Smith. At the time, Apple had more than 20 percent of the worldwide market for personal computers (tied with Tandy Corp.'s Radio Shack) and had to reckon with the debut of the IBM PC.
"Overseeing Apple's growth has kept Jobs too busy to spend the millions he earned when the company went public 14 months ago. He took a few days off last year to go backpacking in Yosemite National Park. Except for some Japanese woodprints and a Maxfield Parrish painting...his unpretentious Tudor-style home in Los Altos Hills is largely bare because he has not decided how to furnish it," Time wrote of the 26-year-old Jobs, whom it described as a "boyish-looking fellow with [a] stringy mustache."
Two days after Apple made advertising history with its landmark "1984" TV ad in January of its namesake year, Jobs went on stage before an enthusiastic crowd to introduce the Macintosh. Clearly relishing his role as impresario, he pulls the computer out of a bag and runs a screen demo that begins with the words "Macintosh. Insanely great!" After a brief tour of capabilities such as word processing, chess, and graphics--see the screenshot here for an example--the computer speaks aloud, reciting words that also appear on screen:
"Hello, I'm Macintosh. It sure is great to get out of that bag. Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I'd like to share with you a maxim I thought of the first time I met with an IBM mainframe. NEVER TRUST A COMPUTER YOU CAN'T LIFT. Obviously I can talk, but right now I'd like to sit back and listen. So it is with considerable pride that I introduce a man who's been like a father to me...STEVE JOBS."
A year after the introduction of the Macintosh and on the cusp of his 30th birthday, Jobs was the subject of a long, wide-ranging interview in Playboy. "He is on a mission," the magazine writes, "preaching the Gospel of salvation through the personal computer--preferably one manufactured by Apple. He is an engaging pitchman and never loses an opportunity to sell his products, eloquently describing a time when computers will be as common as kitchen appliances and as revolutionary in their impact as the telephone or the internal-combustion engine."
That vision of a better tomorrow had its roots in a simpler, boyish yearning.
PLAYBOY: What was your introduction to computers?
JOBS: ... The first computer I ever saw was at Hewlett-Packard. They used to invite maybe 10 of us down every Tuesday night and give us lectures and let us work with a computer. I was maybe 12 the first time. I remember the night. They showed us one of their new desktop computers and let us play on it. I wanted one badly.
PLAYBOY: What was it about it that interested you? Did you have a sense of its potential?
JOBS: It wasn't anything like that. I just thought they were neat. I just wanted to mess around with one.
From this vantage point in history, it may seem as though Jobs and Apple had always been inextricably joined. In 1985, however, Jobs found himself on the wrong end of a corporate power struggle with then CEO John Sculley, and soon was out the door in an exile that would last a decade. But he quickly moved on. That same year, he started Next Computer, and a year later, co-founded another company, one that would also go on to do rather well for itself in a different field: Pixar.
It was with Next that Jobs reasserted his place in the high-tech industry, unveiling the company's high-end desktop computer at Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco in October 1988. "To many of us gathered in the hall," William J. Hawkins wrote in a Popular Science story, "Steve Jobs' revolutionary new computer," in January 1989. "Jobs represents American entrepreneurship at its best--he's an incurable romantic nobody wants to see fail."
Funding for Next came from billionaire H. Ross Perot, as well as Stanford and Carnegie Mellon universities. But the germ of the initiative came from Jobs' reading on microbiology and a chat with Paul Berg, who'd won a Nobel prize in biochemistry, Hawkins recounts. "To define the next wave in computers we collaborated with the most adverse and demanding group of computer users in the world," Jobs said in the Davies Hall unveiling, referring to two dozen college professors. "What we learned ... was that people in higher education want a personal mainframe."
This photo from a vintage brochure shows the Next computer circa 1990.
Then an unexpected helping hand reached out: Microsoft. In August 1997, while Apple was mulling its options to replace Amelio as CEO, Bill Gates announced that his company would
And thus came Jobs' second appearance on the cover of Time magazine, which wrote of his comeback under the headline "Steve's Job: Restart Apple".
"Understand," wrote Time, "the idea of Jobs returning to Apple is something akin to that of Luke Skywalker returning to fight what, until last week, cultists regarded as the evil empire. Gates, by comparison, was perceived as a dweeb Darth Vader, the billionaire bad guy who usurped the idea of the Macintosh's friendly point-and-click operating system for his now dominant Microsoft Windows."
And why did Jobs go back? "I wouldn't be honest if some days I didn't question whether I made the right decision in getting involved," Jobs told Time. "But I believe life is an intelligent thing--that things aren't random."
According to Time magazine's account of the development the new machine and Jobs' discussions with Ive, Jobs said, "It should look like a sunflower."
In January 2006,
At the time, iTunes songs were available only for Macs running the OS X operating system and for iPods. In October of that year, Apple introduced the
Said Jobs in the Rolling Stone interview: "Apple has a core set of talents, and those talents are: we do, I think, very good hardware design; we do very good industrial design; and we write very good system and application software. And we're really good at packaging that all together into a product....We're the only people left in the computer industry [who] do that. And we're really the only people in the consumer electronics industry [who] go deep in software in consumer products. So those talents can be used to make personal computers, and they can also be used to make things like iPods."
Asked if he had wrung his hands over the decision to bring iTunes to Windows, Jobs told the music magazine, "I don't know what hand-wringing is."
Jobs also revealed that after three decades, Apple Computer no longer thought of itself as merely a computer company.
"Today," he said, "we've added to the Mac and the iPod; we've added Apple TV, and now iPhone. And the Mac is the only one you think of as a computer...[Therefore] we are announcing today that we are dropping the 'Computer' from our name, and we will be known as Apple Inc."
For almost as long as there's been a personal-computing industry, there's been an epic clash between Apple and Microsoft. The company's leaders were no strangers to throwing barbs at the other side. But in May 2007, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates got together for a rare--and amicable--joint appearance at the D5 technology conference.
Among the kind words exchanged, Jobs said he admired Microsoft's ability to partner with other companies, and compared that with Apple's approach.
"Because Woz [Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak] and I started the company based on doing the whole banana, we weren't so good at partnering with people," Jobs said. "I think if Apple could have had a little more of that in its DNA, it would have served it extremely well...I don't think Apple learned that until...a few decades later."
Although he was officially on a medical leave that started in January 2011, Jobs made sure that he was on hand for the unveiling of the iPad 2 two months later in early March. In concluding the event, he revisited a theme that stretched back to the early days of Apple. "It's in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough. It's technology married with liberal arts, humanities that yields us the result that makes our heart sing. And nowhere is that more true than in these post-PC devices."
Here, Jobs mingles with friends and colleagues after the iPad 2 event.
Steve Jobs at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in June 2008.
From his 1995 oral history interview with the Smithsonian Institution: "I grew up in Silicon Valley. My parents moved from San Francisco to Mountain View when I was five. My dad got transferred and that was right in the heart of Silicon Valley so there were engineers all around. Silicon Valley for the most part at that time was still orchards--apricot orchards and prune orchards--and it was really paradise. I remember the air being crystal clear, where you could see from one end of the valley to the other...It was really the most wonderful place in the world to grow up."