A Brief Life History of Apple’s Visionary – Steve Paul Jobs (1955-2011)

Wednesday evening brought shocking news for the world, when the news of the demise of Apple’s visionary co-founder and chairman surfaced. The entire world is sad over the death of the industry icon. Steve Job died at the age of 56 leaving behind a wife and four children (one from previous relationship) as his inheritor.

Steve Job was born in San Francisco in 1955 and spent his childhood near Cupertino, California. He also attended Reed College in Portland for one full semester, but later got job in Atari where he designed circuit boards. He was in fact a biological son of the 23-years-old university students at Wisconsin, Joanne Schieble and Syrian Abdulfattah ‘John’ Jandali, who later gave up their son. He was named by his adoptive parents, Paul and Clara Jobs lived in Santa Clara County, near San Francisco.

Since his childhood, he showed some special interest for futuristic products and technologies. For instance, when he was in his high school back in 1968, he and his friend built a device called blue box. The device was designed to allow the user to make long distance calls by connecting the device to the phone. During his school days, Jobs used to sell and repair stereos.

Steve Jobs’ innovative and entrepreneur skills led him to built the one of the world’s earliest personal computers in the form of Apple I. However, he wasn’t alone in his efforts rather partnered with Steve Wozniak who looked after the technical aspects of the device, while Jobs took care of the marketing prospects.

Steve Jobs had some obvious zeal for counter-culture. It is for this reason, he visited India in 1974 with the money he earned by working in Atari. During his visit to India, Jobs chased after spiritual enlightenment. He returned with shaved head, with Indian robes on his body and LSD. Steve Jobs also dated a folk music icon Joan Baez in his 20s. On his return from India, Jobs developed an intimacy with Steve Wozniak who was working in Hewlett-Packard since 1971. Both Jobs and Wozniak built the first Apple I computer in the parent house of Jobs located in Mountain View. Jobs sold his Volkswagen minibus and Wozniak sold his HP scientific calculator and collected $1750 to finance their project.

The Apple Computer Co. was founder in 1976 by Jobs and Wozniak. It was renamed as Apple Computer Inc. later in 1977. The Apple II was introduced in 1977 and was a great success. The company raised $139 million from the sales of Apple II from 1977 to 1979.

The first Macintosh featuring the graphical user interface was launched in 1984 by Apple. Compared to earlier 16-bit processors, this new device ran on 32-bit processor. Like Apple II, the Macintosh was also a big hit as Apple sold over 400,000 Macs in its debuting year. The company saw a big decline in sales by the end of 1984, eventually resulted in a conflict between Jobs and Sculley. Jobs had to quit the company that he was co-founded within months.

After leaving Apple, Jobs initiated NeXT with a view to develop computer software and hardware. Two years later after quitting Apple, Jobs acquired Pixar for $5 million from George Lucas – a studio known for producing animated blockbusters such as Monsters, Inc. (2001), Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Up (2009) and Toy Story 3 (2010). These five blockbusters were nominated in several different awards and also earned more than 100 awards for being superb animation movies. In 2006, Jobs sold the Pixar Company to Disney for about $7.4 billion.

The Jobs rejoined Apple in 1996 and made an interim CEO a year later. His main focus was to recover the company from the then prevailing financial crisis. In a view to revive the company’s position, Jobs took a bold initiative to introduce Apple to music business through company’s first iPod (2001). Two year after the launch of first iPod, company launched the iTunes Music Store.

The PowerMac G5 appeared on the scenes in 2003, a first ever 64-bit desktop computer appeared as a monster before the Intel AMD and its other PC making partners.

Jobs took the Apple into the world of Intel processors in August 2005 when Apple released Macbook Pro and iMac, transitioned devices featuring Intel chips. The major breakthrough brought by Jobs and his company in smartphone industry was the launch of iPhone and Apple TV at the Macworld Expo event in 2007. Jobs was a very humble man, he never raised a trumpet of his illness. But he couldn’t be able to hide his illness for long as his lean appearance in the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in 2008 raised a lot of question about his health. However, Apple claimed this as an ordinary illness and said he is on medication.

Steve Jobs was a humble man who never wanted to share private details with others but his deteriorating health became a major concern for him though he had already beaten the pancreatic cancer back in 2004. In January 2009, he mentioned in a letter that he is increasingly losing weight because of hormonal imbalance. He went on leave for six months for health purposes and Tim Cook who was COO of Apple at that time became in charge of all the operations. It was discovered later that Jobs took leave because he had to have liver transplant during that period.

He came back and took charge of company’s proceedings in June 2009. He continued to serve Apple as CEO until January 2011 when he once again took medical leave to focus on his health. In between this period, Jobs announced the iPad in January 2010 and new version of Apple TV in September 2010.

Steve Jobs, despite being on medical leave, able to appear in the launching event of iPad 2 held in San Francisco in March 2011. The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2011 was the last major event attended by Jobs where in he also revealed iCloud and iOS 5. The thin, gaunt Jobs still spoke very enthusiastically about the iPad 2 in the event. Steve Jobs decided to resign from his position as CEO just two months after the WWDC, i.e. in August. After his resignation, Tim Cook took over the charge as a new Apple CEO. His presence in the media event’ Let’s Talk iPhone’ was more than expected but perhaps his health didn’t allow him to participate in this mega event.

Today, Steve Jobs died at the age of 56 in Palo Alto, California, surrounded by his family. A long, extended quest between his illness and him finally came to an end. He was certainly the best visionary in tech industry and perhaps will. A legend, an innovator and a great thinker, surely his death is a big big loss for the entire industry. R.I.P Steve…

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