He developed the concept of the personal computer and mouse
He oversaw the launch of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad
(CNN) -- Steve Jobs, the visionary in the black turtleneck who co-founded Apple in a Silicon Valley garage, built it into the world's leading tech company and led a mobile-computing revolution with wildly popular devices such as the iPhone, died Wednesday. He was 56.
The hard-driving executive pioneered the concept of the personal computer and of navigating them by clicking onscreen images with a mouse. In more recent years, he introduced the iPod portable music player, the iPhone and the iPad tablet -- all of which changed how we consume content in the digital age. More than one pundit, praising Jobs' ability to transform entire industries with his inventions, called him a modern-day Leonardo Da Vinci.
"Steve Jobs is one of the great innovators in the history of modern capitalism," New York Times columnist Joe Nocera said in August. "His intuition has been phenomenal over the years." Jobs' death, while dreaded by Apple's legions of fans, was not unexpected. He had battled cancer for years, took a medical leave from Apple in January and stepped down as chief executive in August because he could "no longer meet (his) duties and expectations."
Born February 24, 1955, and then adopted, Jobs grew up in Cupertino, California -- which would become home to Apple's headquarters -- and showed an early interest in electronics. As a teenager, he phoned William Hewlett, president of Hewlett-Packard, to request parts for a school project. He got them, along with an offer of a summer job at HP.
Jobs dropped out of Oregon's Reed College after one semester, although he returned to audit a class in calligraphy, which he says influenced Apple's graceful, minimalist aesthetic. He quit one of his first jobs, designing video games for Atari, to backpack across India and take psychedelic drugs. Those experiences, Jobs said later, shaped his creative vision.
"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future," he told Stanford University graduates during a commencement speech in 2005. "You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."
While at HP, Jobs befriended Steve Wozniak, who impressed him with his skill at assembling electronic components. The two later joined a Silicon Valley computer hobbyists club, and when he was 21, Jobs teamed with Wozniak and two other men to launch Apple Computer Inc.
It's long been Silicon Valley legend: Jobs and Wozniak built their first commercial product, the Apple 1, in Jobs' parents' garage in 1976. Jobs sold his Volkswagen van to help finance the venture. The primitive computer, priced at $666.66, had no keyboard or display, and customers had to assemble it themselves.
The following year, Apple unveiled the Apple II computer at the inaugural West Coast Computer Faire. The machine was a hit, and the personal computing revolution was under way. Jobs was among the first computer engineers to recognize the appeal of the mouse and the graphical interface, which let users operate computers by clicking on images instead of writing text. Apple's pioneering Macintosh computer launched in early 1984 with a now-iconic, Orwellian-themed Super Bowl ad. The boxy beige Macintosh sold well, but the demanding Jobs clashed frequently with colleagues, and in 1986, he was ousted from Apple after a power struggle.
Then came a 10-year hiatus during which he founded NeXT Computer, whose pricey, cube-shaped computer workstations never caught on with consumers. Jobs had more success when he bought Pixar Animation Studios from George Lucas before the company made it big with "Toy Story." Jobs brought the same marketing skill to Pixar that he became known for at Apple. His brief but emotional pitch for "Finding Nemo," for example, was a masterful bit of succinct storytelling.
In 1996, Apple bought NeXT, returning Jobs to the then-struggling company he had co-founded. Within a year, he was running Apple again -- older and perhaps wiser but no less of a perfectionist. And in 2001, he took the stage to introduce the original iPod, the little white device that transformed portable music and kick-started Apple's furious comeback.
Thus began one of the most remarkable second acts in the history of business. Over the next decade, Jobs wowed launch-event audiences, and consumers, with one game-changing hit after another: iTunes (2003), the iPhone (2007), the App Store (2008), and the iPad (2010). Observers marveled at Jobs' skills as a pitchman, his ability to inspire godlike devotion among Apple "fanboys" (and scorn from PC fans) and his "one more thing" surprise announcements. Time after time, he sold people on a product they didn't know they needed until he invented it. And all this on an official annual salary of $1.
He also built a reputation as a hard-driving, mercurial and sometimes difficult boss who oversaw almost every detail of Apple's products and rejected prototypes that didn't meet his exacting standards.
By the late 2000s, his once-renegade tech company, the David to Microsoft's Goliath, was entrenched at the uppermost tier of American business. Apple now operates more than 300 retail stores in 11 countries. The company has sold more than 275 million iPods, 100 million iPhones and 25 million iPads worldwide.
Jobs' climb to the top was complete in summer 2011, when Apple listed more cash reserves than the U.S. Treasury and even briefly surpassed Exxon Mobil as the world's most valuable company. But Jobs's health problems sometimes cast a shadow over his company's success. In 2004, he announced to his employees that he was being treated for pancreatic cancer. He lost weight and appeared unusually gaunt at keynote speeches to Apple developers, spurring concerns about his health and fluctuations in the company's stock price. One wire service accidentally published Jobs' obituary.
Jobs had a secret liver transplant in 2009 in Tennessee during a six-month medical leave of absence from Apple. He took another medical leave in January this year. Perhaps mindful of his legacy, he cooperated on his first authorized biography, scheduled to be published by Simon & Schuster in November. Jobs is survived by his wife of 20 years, Laurene, and four children, including one from a prior relationship.
He always spoke with immense pride about what he and his engineers accomplished at Apple. "Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do," he told the Stanford grads in 2005. "If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on."
Steve Jobs Dies: Apple Chief Created Personal Computer, iPad, iPod, iPhone
Apple founder, Steve Jobs has died. (ABC News/ABC News)
Steve Jobs, the mastermind behind Apple's iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac and iTunes, has died, Apple said. Jobs was 56.
Apple did not reveal where Jobs died or from what cause -- though in recent years he had fought pancreatic cancer and had a liver transplant.
"We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today," read a statement by Apple's board of directors. "Steve's
brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve. His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts."
The homepage of Apple's website this evening switched to a full-page image of Jobs with the text, "Steve Jobs 1955-2011."
Clicking on the image revealed the additional text: "Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human
being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple."
Jobs co-founded Apple Computer in 1976 and, with his childhood friend Steve Wozniak, marketed what was considered the world's first personal computer, the Apple II.
Shortly after learning of Jobs' death, Wozniak told ABC News, "I'm shocked and disturbed."
Industry watchers called him a master innovator -- perhaps on a par with Thomas Edison -- changing the worlds of computing, recorded music and communications.
Jobs rivals in the development of personal computers, Microsoft co-founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen, immediately reacted to his death and highlighted his importance to their industry.
Allen called him "a unique tech pioneer and auteur who knew how to make amazingly great products."
Gates also extended his condolences, and added via a written statement, "Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives.
"The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come," he added. "For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely."
Jobs continued to innovate in recent years even as he battled severe health problems that prompted leaves of absence from Apple.
In 2004, he beat back an unusual form of pancreatic cancer, and in 2009 he was forced to get a liver transplant. After several years of failing health, Jobs announced on Aug. 24, 2011 that he was stepping down as Apple's chief executive.
"I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know," Jobs wrote in his letter of resignation. "Unfortunately, that day has come."
Click Here for Pictures: Steve Jobs Through the Years
One of the world's most famous CEOs, Jobs remained stubbornly private about his personal life, refusing interviews and shielding his wife and their children from public view.
"He's never been a media person," said industry analyst Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, after Jobs resigned. "He's granted interviews in the context of product launches, when it benefits Apple, but you never see him talk about himself."
The highlights of Jobs's career trajectory are well-known: a prodigy who dropped out of Reed College in Oregon and, at 21, started Apple with Wozniak in his parents' garage. He was a multimillionaire by 25, appeared on the cover of Time magazine at 26, and was ousted at Apple at age 30, in 1984.
In the years that followed, he went into other businesses, founding NeXT computers and, in 1986, buying the computer graphics arm of Lucasfilm, Ltd., which became Pixar Animation Studios.
He was described as an exacting and sometimes fearsome leader, ordering up and rejecting multiple versions of new products until the final version was just right. He said the design and aesthetics of a device were as important as the hardware and software inside.
Click Here for Pictures: Apple's Iconic Products
In 1996, Apple, which had struggled without Jobs, brought him back by buying NeXT. He became CEO in 1997 and put the company on a remarkable upward path.
By 2001 the commercial music industry was on its knees because digital recordings, copied and shared online for free, made it unnecessary for millions of people to buy compact discs.
Jobs took advantage with the iPod -- essentially a pocket-sized computer hard drive with elegantly simple controls and a set of white earbuds so that one could listen to the hours of music one saved on it. He set up the iTunes online music store, and persuaded major recording labels to sell songs for 99 cents each. No longer did people have to go out and buy a CD if they liked one song from it. They bought a digital file and stored it in their iPod.
In 2007, he transformed the cell phone. Apple's iPhone, with its iconic touch screen, was a handheld computer, music player, messaging device, digital wallet and -- almost incidentally -- cell phone. Major competitors, such as BlackBerry, Nokia and Motorola, struggled after it appeared.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg honored Steve Jobs on his Facebook page.
October 5th, 2011 07:46 PM ET
[9:31 p.m. ET] Google co-founder Sergey Brin: From the earliest days of Google, whenever Larry and I sought inspiration for vision and leadership, we needed to look no farther than Cupertino. Steve, your passion for excellence is felt by anyone who has ever touched an Apple product (including the macbook I am writing this on right now). And I have witnessed it in person the few times we have met.
On behalf of all of us at Google and more broadly in technology, you will be missed very much. My condolences to family, friends, and colleagues at Apple. [9:26 p.m. ET] Google co-founder Larry Page: I am very, very sad to hear the news about Steve. He was a great man with incredible achievements and amazing brilliance. He always seemed to be able to say in very few words what you actually should have been thinking before you thought it. His focus on the user experience above all else has always been an inspiration to me. He was very kind to reach out to me as I became CEO of Google and spend time offering his advice and knowledge even though he was not at all well. My thoughts and Google's are with his family and the whole Apple family.
[9:22 p.m. ET] From CNN National Correspondent Susan Candiotti in New York: Outside Apple's 5th Avenue store (covered by scaffolding for construction), one sheet of white paper is posted on a wall. A handwritten note reads "we will miss you Steve. RIP." In lower left hand corner, there is writing in Japanese. An Asian woman says it reads "Rest in Peace." Security removed the sign. A young woman came up and wrote RIP on the wall. A man wearing a hard hat is now using solvent to wipe off the message. [9:05 p.m. ET] Social media sites on Wednesday night were flooded with talk of Jobs' death. There were more than 170,000 mentions of "RIP Steve Jobs" on Twitter in the hour after his death was announced, according to the Twitter analysis site Topsy Labs.
Some Twitter users expressed shock at the news: "We all knew this was coming, sooner or later. I'm really surprised how shaken up I am about his death. But I grew up on all his creations," wrote Andy Carvin, a senior strategist at NPR and social media guru. Others reflected on his contributions to technology and to the world. "Thanks, Steve. You have influenced many and made the world a more beautiful place," wrote a Twitter user named Jackson Latka. "Was teaching a socmedia course when news broke about Steve Jobs. One of the five most influential business execs of all time," wrote Sree Sreenivasan, a Columbia University journalism professor. "This is why I try to do everything I've ever wanted to, every single day. Live, and live hard. We'll miss him, that's for sure," wrote Darren Murph, an editor at the tech site Engadget. And the tech blog BoingBoing made its entire website into a tribute to Jobs, mimicking the look of an early Apple operating system interface. Photo Gallery: Time's Steve Jobs covers [9:02 p.m. ET] Robert Iger, president and chief executive, The Walt Disney Company: "Steve Jobs was a great friend as well as a trusted advisor. His legacy will extend far beyond the products he created or the businesses he built. It will be the millions of people he inspired, the lives he changed, and the culture he defined. Steve was such an 'original,' with a thoroughly creative, imaginative mind that defined an era. Despite all he accomplished, it feels like he was just getting started. With his passing the world has lost a rare original, Disney has lost a member of our family, and I have lost a great friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Laurene and his children during this difficult time." CNNMoney: 10 ways Jobs changed the world [8:57 p.m. ET] Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates: "I'm truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs' death. Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work. Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives. The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely." [8:55 p.m. ET] Reaction from John Russell, a reporter at the Indianapolis Star, on his Facebook page: " iSad." [8:45 p.m. ET] From Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook page: "Steve, thank you for being a mentor and a friend. Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you." The legacy of Steve Jobs [8:42 p.m. ET] Jobs gave the 2005 commencement address at Stanford. He talked about getting fired from Apple, life and death. Here is the video and text of his speech. [8:37 p.m. ET] President Obama (via his re-election Twitter handle, not the president's official Twitter handle) notes the passing of Steve Jobs: "@BarackObama Rest in peace, Steve Jobs. From all of us at #Obama2012, thank you for the work you make possible every day-including ours." Obituary: Jobs called "one of the great innovators" [8:30 p.m. ET] Apple CEO Tim Cook announced the news of Steve Jobs' death to Apple employees via e-mail: "I have some very sad news to share with all of you. Steve passed away earlier today. Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. We are planning a celebration of Steve's extraordinary life for Apple employees that will take place soon. If you would like to share your thoughts, memories and condolences in the interim, you can simply e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve's death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much." iReport: Share your memories of Jobs [8:29 p.m. ET] California Gov. Jerry Brown: "Steve Jobs was a great California innovator who demonstrated what a totally independent and creative mind can accomplish. Few people have made such a powerful and elegant imprint on our lives. Anne and I wish to express our deepest sympathy to Steve's wife, Laurene, and their entire family." [8:26 p.m. ET] Here is a statement from Apple's Board of Directors: "We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today. Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that
enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve. His greatest love was for his wife, Laurene, and his family. Our hearts go out to them and to all who were touched by his extraordinary gifts." [8:24 p.m. ET] Wednesday night, the homepage of Apple's website featured a large black-and-white photo of Jobs. [8:12 p.m. ET] Apple co-founder Steve Jobs "died peacefully today, surrounded by his family," Jobs' relatives said Wednesday in a statement. "In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family. We are thankful to the many people who have shared their wishes and prayers during the last year of Steve's illness." [7:48 p.m. ET] "Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being," Apple said on its website, announcing the death of co-founder Steve Jobs. "Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor," the statement said. "Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple." [7:41 p.m. ET] Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, has died, according to Apple. He was 56. Jobs stepped down as CEO of Apple in August, apparently for health reasons.