It’s always hard when a member of your family moves on, and today, that’s how we here at AppStorm feel about Steve Jobs. No, we’ve never technically worked alongside the legend, but because we’ve written about him for the past few years, most of us feel this personal connection to the man that’s been the driving force behind Apple. And it’s hard not to, because he’s been in our lives for so long now.
And now, it’s time that we say goodbye to Steve, as he’s stepped down from the CEO position at Apple, to his new position as Chairman of the Board. But this isn’t Steve’s eulogy. This is a celebration of all things Steve, and our own way of saying thanks to the man who helped us do what we love to do.
In 1976, a 21-year-old Steve started Apple Computer with the slightly older Steve Wozniak, and the personal computer was born. It was named the Apple I, and as the years went on, Apple grew to see more and more success. The Apple II came next, and the company was off and running. Personal computers were still in their infancy, but the two Steves had a plan, and it was going to be big.
1984 saw the birth of the Macintosh, the computer that we would all eventually call the Mac, a nickname that’s still found in today’s products. But when sales dipped and tensions flared between Steve and then CEO John Sculley, Jobs was removed from the company that he helped to form.
Instead of returning, Steve would do a few things that seem absolutely genius in hindsight. First, he started NeXT Computer, a company that started by doing hardware and software, and eventually transitioned into a software only role. That company would develop an operating system that would eventually become OS X, the operating system found on all Macs today.
Steve also bought Pixar back in 1986, but back then it was known as The Graphics Group. Less than 10 years later, Toy Story would appear in theaters and change the way that people viewed computer animation. Eventually, Pixar would be bought by Disney for $7.4 billion.
In 1996, Apple purchased NeXT, which brought Steve back home to the company he started. Shortly thereafter, Steve became the CEO of Apple, and soon the company began to regain profitability. Steve brought Apple back from the brink of death, and years later, would help make it one of the richest companies in the world.
The products that Steve helped to innovate are far and wide, but in 2001, he introduced the concept of a digital hub, centered on the Mac. This would in turn lead to iTunes, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. Today, Steve’s vision of the digital hub doesn’t center on the Mac anymore, but instead it’s all in the cloud. His legacy has evolved, just like the computer industry around it, and he was the guy leading the way.
In 2004, Steve told his team at Apple that he had a treatable form of pancreatic cancer, a disease that usually kills people in short order. He had the tumor removed, but he was noticeably slimmer in 2006 when he gave the keynote address at WWDC. Now his weight seemed to be a constant topic of conversation, but he was very private about the issue. This was a family matter, and as such, it was going to stay with Steve and his family.
A few years later in 2009, Steve traveled to Tennessee to have a liver transplant, and while he was recovering, Tim Cook took the reins. A few months later, Steve was back and things were good. But something caused a downturn in January 2011, and that’s when he decided to take some time off from day-to-day operations at Apple.
Steve made an appearance at this year’s WWDC, and was a part of the big announcements for Lion and iOS 5.
Past and Future Legacies
There can be no doubt here, Steve Jobs changed the game. Phrases like that are usually uttered as hyperbole, but this isn’t the case with him. Name a product that starts with a lowercase “i” and he had a hand in it. This prefix alone changed the way people view personal electronics, and now it’s hard to go anywhere without seeing some kind of “i-something” popping up along the way.
He brought us the iPod, the digital music player that changed the way we all listen to music. The iPhone, which did the same and introduced us to iOS, followed by the iPad, a new tablet format that succeeded where others have failed. Steve built a company from scratch, was forced out, and then brought it back from extinction and up to huge heights. Not too many people can put anything even close on their resumes.
But more than the products that he helped to create, Steve designed a corporate culture at Apple that is ingrained in every single thing they do and object they produce. Walk into any Apple Store across the world and similar themes run throughout, yet they’re all different and unique in their own way. And that attitude, that way that every bit of his personality and drive is built into the culture and every person with an Apple ID badge, well it’s special. It’s unlike anything else out there, and it’s the reason why Apple is the way it is today.
From all of us here at AppStorm and Envato, we just want to take a moment to say thank you, Steve. Because of the decisions you made, we have been able to create an entire business based on your products. We love what you’ve built, and we use Apple products every day because it makes our lives easier. Without you, we’d all be forced to live in a beige box world, and no one wants that, particularly not us.
Here’s to you, Steve.