Apple co-founder Steve Jobs may have passed away, but his impact on consumer technology and mobility will be felt for years to come.
It's hard to overestimate the effect
that former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, whose death was announced Oct. 5, had on the
technology industry as a whole. His company's innovations in tablets and
smartphones kicked off the current rush toward mobility that will almost
certainly define the space for years to come.
Apple's Website now opens with a black-and-white
photo of Jobs. An accompanying statement read: "Apple has lost a visionary
and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being." The
cause of death was not announced, although Jobs had fought a rare form of
pancreatic cancer and received a liver transplant a few years ago.
Jobs co-founded Apple, only to leave
following a bitter internal dispute in the 1980s. By mid-1997, however, he had
returned to seize Apple's reins and from there launched a string of innovative
products, starting with the iMac and iPod, that revived the company's
Over the past decade, a string of
subsequent hits-including the iPhone, MacBook Air and an ever-more-improved
series of iPods-helped elevate the company to one of the most valuable in the
world, and assured Jobs' legend.
Although Apple products were primarily
geared toward consumers, enthusiasm for the iPhone, iPad and Macs-coupled with
businesses' increased willingness to accept employees' personal devices into
their IT ecosystem-led to the company's increasingly significant presence in
both the enterprise and small and midsize businesses (SMBs). During a July
earnings call, Apple executives claimed some 86 percent of the Fortune 500 had
either tested or deployed the tablet.
In conjunction with designer Jonathan
Ive, Jobs pioneered a sleek design aesthetic for Apple products, its later
iterations emphasizing glass and brushed aluminum. This "look"
attracted imitators, but it was Apple's melding of hardware and
software-including Mac OS X and the mobile operating system iOS-that truly set
the company apart from those rivals. In recent quarters, the Mac OS X operating
system, geared for the company's Mac line, had begun adopting elements
originally created for the mobile iOS, again highlighting the company's fast
drift toward a mobility-centric mentality.
Apple's iPhone supercharged the
smartphone industry. Other companies rushed to adopt the iPhone's touch screen,
helping launch a series of fierce intellectual-property battles between Apple
and its rivals that continue to this day. On Oct. 4, a little more than 24
hours before the announcement of Jobs' passing, Apple unveiled its latest
device in the line, the iPhone 4S.
The iPhone 4S will retail for $199 for
the 16GB version, and will include Apple's higher-end A5 processor and an
8-megapixel camera. The company will sell the iPhone 4 for $99, low enough to
make it a player against lower-cost Android devices.
Jobs' impact on the tech sphere will be
analyzed for years to come. What's indisputable is that he changed it his way.
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.