Apple co-founder Steve Jobs dead at 56

October 6th, 2011 - 2:11 pm ICT by BNO News  

Steve Jobs CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA (BNO NEWS) — Steve Jobs, the iconic entrepreneur who co-founded Apple in the 1970s, died in California on Wednesday after a long battle with various health issues, his family said. He was 56.

“We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today,” Apple’s Board of Directors said in a brief statement. “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.”

The statement continued: “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.”

A statement from Jobs’ family added that he died peacefully while surrounded by his family, but gave no details about the cause of death and his place of death although it is believed he passed away at his home in Palo Alto, a city in the San Francisco Bay Area of California.

“In his public life, Steve was known as a visionary; in his private life, he cherished his family,” Jobs’ family said in a statement. “We are thankful to the many people who have shared their wishes and prayers during the last year of Steve’s illness.”

It added: “We are grateful for the support and kindness of those who share our feelings for Steve. We know many of you will mourn with us, and we ask that you respect our privacy during our time of grief.”

With the first products assembled in a small Palo Alto garage, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple Inc. - at first known as Apple Computer, Inc. - in April 1976. The first product to be sold was the Apple I, a personal computer.

Years later, following the Apple II series and Apple Lisa, the company introduced the Macintosh on January 24, 1984 after airing the now famous ‘1984′ television commercial which also aired during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII.

“We think a lot of them are gonna get into the home but we like to say they are going to get there through the garage door,” Jobs said in 1984 when introducing the Macintosh. “People are going to bring them home over the weekend to work on something, Sunday morning they are not going to be able to get their kids away from them and maybe one day they’ll even buy a second one to leave at home.”

Despite its high price and limited range of software titles, the Macintosh initially sold well. But just over a year later, in September 1985, a power struggle developed between Jobs and then-CEO John Sculley, leading to the resignation of Jobs who went on to create computer company Next, Inc.

In 1996, Apple announced that it would buy NeXT for $429 million, bringing Jobs back to the company as an adviser. He quickly became interim CEO after the ouster of then-CEO Gil Amelio due to a record-low stock price, massive layoffs and crippling financial losses. Jobs, upon taking over as interim CEO and eventually CEO, began to concentrate Apple’s efforts on returning to profitability.

In 1998, as Jobs continued to lead Apple’s struggle to make money, the company introduced the iMac which quickly became the fastest-selling computer in Apple’s history. “The strangest thing about Apple is that it hasn’t had a good consumer product. Here’s one of the best consumer brands in the world and they haven’t had a compelling product under 2,000 dollars,” Jobs said in a 1998 interview.

He added: “The one we introduced today, the iMac, is incredibly sweet. So I think it’s going to make a big difference. This 1,299 dollars product is faster than the fastest Pentium II you can buy. You can go out and buy a 400 megahertz Pentium II and this thing smokes it. And so it’s amazing, and the markets never had a consumer product this powerful and this cool looking.”

With the iMac being a huge success, Apple opened its first official Apple Retail Stores in May 2001 in Virginia and California. “The center half of the store, literally half the store, is devoted to solutions, because people don’t just want to buy personal computers anymore, they want to know what they can do with them, and we are going to show people exactly that,” Jobs said in a video introduction of the first store. Another notable part of the store is the Genius Bar, where customers can receive technical advice.

Later that year, in October 2001, Apple announced the iPod which revolutionized the portable music player. “What is iPod? iPod is an mp3 music player, has CD quality music and it plays all of the popular open formats of digital music,” Jobs said during the introduction. “The biggest thing about iPod is that it holds a thousand songs. Now this is a quantum leap because it’s your, for most people, it’s their entire music library. This is huge. The coolest thing about iPod is that your whole entire music library fits in your pocket.”

With the Nano being introduced in September 2005, the extremely popular iPod shrank as it evolved. Less than two years later, in January 2007, Jobs announced that Apple Computer, Inc. would from that point on be known as Apple Inc. as computers were no longer the company’s main focus.

During the same event, Jobs also introduced the iPhone and Apple TV, a digital media receiver. “Today, Apple is going to reinvent the phone: an iPod, a phone, and an internet communicator. These are not three separate devices, this is one device. And we are calling it iPhone.”

With the iPhone being an enormous global success, Jobs introduced the iPad tablet in January 2010 to mixed reactions. But despite initial criticism about the device, Apple managed to fill a gap consumers didn’t even know existed.

“The question has arisen lately; is there room for a third category of device in the middle? Something that’s between a laptop and a smartphone,” Jobs said. “And of course we’ve pondered this question for years as well. The bar’s pretty high. In order to really create a new category of devices, those devices are going to have to be far better at doing some key tasks. And we call it: the iPad.”

He added: “And what this device does is extraordinary. You can browse the web with it, it is the best browsing experience you’ve ever had. It’s phenomenal to see a whole web page right in front of you which you can manipulate with your fingers. It’s unbelievably great, way better than a laptop, way better than a smartphone.”

But while Apple continued to introduce new products, Jobs’ health took a drastic turn for the worse. He was diagnosed with islet cell neuroendocrine tumor, a rare type of pancreatic cancer, in 2004. He subsequently underwent a pancreaticoduodenectomy which appeared to successfully remove the tumor.

However, as rumors surrounding his deteriorating health persisted, the Apple executive began exhibiting noticeable weight loss in 2008 which he credited to a hormone imbalance. In April 2009, Jobs underwent a liver transplant at Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in Memphis, Tennessee.

Earlier this year, in mid-January, Jobs announced he would take a medical leave while few details about his condition were released. “I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can,” he said in an email sent to Apple employees.

As concern about Jobs’ health increased, Jobs announced on August 24 he would resign as CEO, saying he was no longer able to serve. “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 said in a letter to the company’s board of directors and the Apple Community. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”

Jobs, who was elected Chairman of the Board, added: “I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.”

Steve is survived by his wife, Laurene, to whom he was married for 20 years, their three children, and a fourth child from a previous relationship.

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