Tech World's Fire Dims With Passing of Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs, one of the few CEOs to catch the imagination of the consumer masses, has left the building. Much will be said about his history, his talents, his temperament and his legacy in the days ahead, but for now, the most pervasive sentiments seem to to be sadness and longing. "Who will be our visionary now?" wondered tech analyst Azita Arvani.
Apple Chairman Steve Jobs, who has been battling pancreatic cancer for years, has died, Apple announced on Wednesday. The company's iconic former CEO was 56.
"Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being," Apple said. "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."
Apple is not alone in using the terms "visionary" and "creative genius" to describe Jobs, as the tech and business industry mourns his passing.
On History's List
His achievements "can't be understated," Rob Walch, host of Today in iOS, told MacNewsWorld. "I think in 500 years, when historians are listing key figures in the world's development, Jobs will be among those names. People will still be talking about what a great visionary he was."
Perhaps Jobs' greatest skill was his ability to seek and attain perfection in a device or application from the perspective of the end user, Walch said. "He was always, first and last, about the end user. He built beautiful products that both my one-year-old son and my 70-year-old mother can use."
The pre-iPod days, when music players and the online ecosystem were sadly misaligned, seem like a distant era. Consumers who wanted to listen to digital music had to have some level of tech savvy to find and download the content. With the iPod and iTunes store, Apple changed everything.
Ditto for smartphones a few years later. The iPhone consumerized a technology that had been limited to the business and government world. Much to Research In Motion's chagrin, the iPhone proved so popular that many of its once-loyal business users gravitated to the iOS platform.
Now a similar industry struggle is under way, with yet another device category that Jobs popularized: the tablet. This time, the industry was quick to catch on to what Jobs had done and competitors responded almost immediately with their own versions of the tablet.
How this particular battle will end remains to be seen. So far, the iPad is by far the dominant product in the category, although Amazon's Kindle Fire appears poised to give it some real competition.
Unfortunately for the tech world, future innovations will have to be introduced by other industry leaders -- and many doubt there is anyone who can see the possibilities that Jobs turned into realities.
"Who will be our visionary now?" wondered Azita Arvani of the Arvani Group.
Tim Cook at the Helm
Apple does have a leader in place. In August, Jobs stepped down from the CEO post and handed the reins to Timothy D. Cook, formerly the chief operating officer.
The move soothed investors concerned over whether the company actually had a succession plan in place. Jobs, who had been ill since at least 2004, had not always been forthcoming about his health status, and the market had experienced bouts of nervousness over what would happen to the company should he leave. More so than most other firms, Jobs was closely intertwined with Apple -- he was its face as well as its chief inventor.
Nonetheless, Apple has said it will continue its path of innovation and change without him.
"No words can adequately express our sadness at Steve's death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him," Cook wrote in a memo to employees. "We will honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to continuing the work he loved so much."
Jobs is survived by his wife Laurene and four children.