1Jobs and Woz
During his period away from Apple, Jobs also founded NeXT, a computer company devoted to creating high-end hardware paired with a unique operating system. While NeXT didn’t actually prove a runaway market success, that operating system was enticing enough for Apple to acquire the company. Jobs was on his way back into the company fold.
Apple announced its NeXT acquisition in December 1996. By mid-1997, Jobs was in the interim CEO (or iCEO) seat. Reins in hand, he immediately discontinued a large number of projects. He also had his designers and engineers begin work on the iMac, a rather unique-looking PC (in Bondi Blue) that became the calling card of the reinvigorated Apple.
Apple released its first iPod in 2001. It represented the first piece in what eventually became an extensive ecosystem involving hardware (the iPods themselves), software (iTunes) and online retailing (the iTunes Store, which eventually incorporated the App Store). The device helped further drive Apple’s popularity.??Ã
8Mac OS X
Over the past decade, Apple has introduced successive editions of its Mac OS X operating system, all of them named after cats—from Cheetah all the way through Jaguar and Tiger to the current Lion. Increasingly, it seems as if Apple is taking cues from its iOS mobile operating system, introducing elements to Mac OS X such as an application store.??Ã
Jobs unveiled the touch-screen iPhone in 2007, kicking off a revolution in the consumer smartphone market. Despite its initial restriction to AT&T’s network, the device became a massive bestseller. Today, the iPhone franchise maintains sizable market share despite the growing presence of Google Android.??Ã
10Steve and Bill
In 1997, Steve Jobs announced that Microsoft would not only offer Office for the Macintosh, but also invest $150 million in Apple. The partnership was an important one for Apple, which needed the cash, and opened the door to settling the longstanding dispute between the two companies over whether Microsoft borrowed elements from Apple’s OS for Windows. Seen here, Jobs and former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates share a chuckle.??Ã??Ã??Ã??Ã??Ã
Unveiled in early 2010, Apple’s iPad immediately sparked a seismic shift in the tech industry. Rival manufacturers rushed to introduce their own tablets to market, while analysts hinted that the iPad could cannibalize the existing PC market. Despite the added competition, the iPad continues to dominate the market segment.
In describing the design philosophy behind the MacBook Air, Jobs said: We asked ourselves, what would happen if a MacBook and an iPad hooked up? As Apple increasingly focused its attentions on ultra-mobile hardware, the MacBook Air eventually replaced the white MacBook as the company’s entry-level laptop.??Ã
As Apple’s COO, Cook famously revamped the company’s notoriously messy supply chain into an ultra-efficient product-producing engine. His task now is to persuade the world that Apple will proceed, business as usual, despite the departure of its charismatic co-founder.??Ã??Ã