Apple's Steve Jobs Has Reshaped the Tech World: 10 Ways He Did It

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-04-11

Apple's Steve Jobs Has Reshaped the Tech World: 10 Ways He Did It

A new book is in the works that promises to shed more light on Apple. Dubbed "iSteve: The Book of Jobs," the book, which is written by Walter Isaacson, is an authorized biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. It's scheduled to hit store shelves next year, and include some insight from Jobs himself, as well as colleagues and family members. Exactly what the book will highlight is unknown for now. But considering it has been authorized by Jobs, it will likely highlight some of his greatest accomplishments over the years.

Jobs is one of the more accomplished CEOs to ever work in the technology industry. He built a company from scratch into a household name, which incidentally is one of the greatest organizations in the history of American business. He also accomplished one of the rarest feats in business, coming back to rebuild the company he created when it was struggling years after he lost a boardroom power struggle. Then he led the company to its most successful and wealthiest years to date.

To say that Jobs' contribution to the technology space has been huge is an understatement. The sheer number of contributions he has made is nothing short of incredible. But the time has come to at least highlight some of those contributions, and discuss how he has changed the tech world forever.

Read on to find out some-but not all-of the ways Steve Jobs has contributed his expertise to the tech world.

1. He co-founded Apple

One of Steve Jobs' greatest contributions to the tech world is creating Apple. Little did he know when he co-founded Apple that the company would become such an integral part of the lives of millions around the globe. If he had instead chosen to follow a different path, the world would be a much different place today. It's debatable whether technology would have moved as far along as it has.

2. Design as a key differentiator

Throughout his career, Steve Jobs has put a premium on product design. He realizes that people are more likely to buy those things that catch their eye. He understood that the rest of the market didn't necessarily have the eye for innovative design that he did. By using design to differentiate his products, Jobs showed other companies in the industry (and perhaps some organizations outside of the tech sector) that aesthetic appeal really does matter to consumers and enterprise customers alike.

3. A policy of secrecy works

Apple's penchant for secrecy has helped the company become what it is today. Steve Jobs realizes that by not letting people see behind the curtain, they will be more likely to stay focused on Apple's every move. Better, that focus means that customers' attention is less likely to stray to competitors promoting their own similar products. Now, other firms, including Microsoft, Motorola and Samsung, are trying to follow Jobs' lead and be more secretive. Going forward, many more firms will likely follow suit.

4. There really is money in hardware

When Microsoft became a technology giant, some wondered if any other company would ever overcome it. People around the globe said that software was the dominant force in technology, and nothing would change that. But Steve Jobs has proved those people wrong. By delivering compelling hardware, he has watched his firm's market capitalization easily best Microsoft's. Now, the market can't help but wonder if hardware really reigns supreme in today's tech world.

Jobs Revolutionizes Smartphones, Tablets and App Stores


5. The death of CDs

When Apple first started as a computer company, few could have envisioned it revolutionizing the music business. But with the launch of the iPod and iTunes, it did just that. Steve Jobs saw an opportunity in digital content, and he capitalized on it. By making iTunes so user friendly, he almost single-handedly ruined the market for CDs. The music industry is forever changed because of Jobs.

6. Redefining smartphones

Apple certainly wasn't the first company to jump on the touch-screen bandwagon. But it's indisputable that Steve Jobs was the first person to make touch screens appeal to a mass audience, thanks to his company's iPhone. That device, which launched in 2007, threw entrenched competitors, including RIM, Nokia and Microsoft, into a tailspin. And it prompted Google to try its luck in the smartphone space. Nowadays, if a smartphone doesn't look and work like the iPhone, it will likely collect dust on store shelves.

7. Tablets can be a business model

For years, Microsoft and its vendor partners were trying to make tablets catch on with the mainstream. But for the most part, those devices only really appealed to medical professionals and other niche markets. With the launch of the iPad, all that has changed. In 2010 alone, Apple sold 15 million iPad units. Some analysts say more than 50 million tablets will ship around the world this year. With a single device, Steve Jobs once again revolutionized a market.

8. There's an app for that

When smartphones or tablets are being evaluated nowadays, consumers and even enterprise customers examine how many applications are available for a respective platform. Steve Jobs saw an opportunity with mobile apps, and he took advantage of it in 2008. Since then, billions of apps have been downloaded from his marketplace, and every other company in the market has created its own store just to stay relevant. Mobile apps are the future-and Jobs can be thanked for that.

9. A look toward the future

Throughout the years, Steve Jobs has been willing to take chances. He doubled down on the mouse when few others saw potential in it. He brought USB to Macs before it really caught on. He tried something new in the smartphone market while other companies were making significant cash on old ideas. Simply put, Jobs has the unique ability to evaluate current technologies, determine what the future looks like and get behind something that few others have the vision to seize upon. In most cases, those risks have changed the tech space in a dramatic way.

10. Mac OS X

Although much of the talk surrounding Steve Jobs' contribution to the tech world revolves around hardware, it's important not to lose sight of the importance of Mac OS X, the company's operating system. Based on NeXTSTEP, the operating system used at Jobs' NeXT company, Mac OS X has become one of the most impressive software platforms ever released. Although some disagree, it has also seemingly been an inspiration for the latest releases in Microsoft's Windows platform. Mac OS X still lags far behind in overall market share, but its innovative additions over the years, including most recently the Mac App Store, have helped change consumer expectations of desktop operating systems. 

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