Apple announced Wednesday evening that co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs has died. He was 56.
Jobs had been battling pancreatic cancer. Apple announced his death without giving a specific cause.
Under Jobs's guidance, Apple introduced the iPhone, iPod, iPad and Mac computers, all products that have changed they way people use technology.
"Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being," Apple said in a posting on its site. "Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspriring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple."
Early Life and Apple’s Beginnings
Steve Jobs was born on February 24, 1955, to two University of Wisconsin graduate students who would later give him up for adoption. As an infant, Steven was adopted by Clara and Paul Jobs. The family lived in Mountain View within California's Silicone Valley. Jobs’s interests in technology were first sparked as a boy, when he and his father would work on electronics in the family garage. In high school, Jobs would spend his free time at Hewlett-Packard, where he befriended computer club guru Steve Wozniak. Jobs enrolled at Reed College in Portland, but would later drop out after six months.
Jobs and Wozniak would later conceive the first Apple personal computer, the Apple I, which earned them $774,000. Three years later, the release of their second model, the Apple II, increased sales 700 percent to $139 million dollars. In 1980, Apple Computer became a publically traded company with a market value of $1.2 billion on the first day of trading. A power struggle within the company would prompt Jobs to resign as Apple's CEO in 1985.
In the following years, Apple would struggle with many product recalls and consumer disappointment that nearly dug it an early grave. However, a new chapter was opened when Jobs returned at the helm in 1996, resulting in a string of innovative products that would irrevocably change the way people worked, lived and played.
The iPod and Beyond
Back under Jobs’s helm, Apple launched several groundbreaking products over the last decade. In 2001, Apple introduced the iPod on the promise that music lovers could carry 1,000 songs in their pocket: That promise has been met many times over with subsequent models of the popular device that revolutionized how the music industry connected with consumers. In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone, which bridged a mobile phone and a widescreen iPod with touchscreen and personal computer capabilities. On Tuesday the company announced the next phase, the iPhone 4s, which it claimed to be the most revolutionary model yet. The iPhone’s popularity has helped propel sales of the iPad tablet, the slim, touchscreen personal computer introduced in 2010.
Illness and Resignation
In 2004, Jobs underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer and received a liver transplant in 2009. He stepped down as CEO of the company in August, saying he could no longer fulfill his duties. He remained a chairman. Apple’s chief operating officer, Tim Cook, was named as CEO.
Responding to the News
Apple fans took to the internet after news of Jobs’s passing. Many expressed grief, shock and gratitude for his contributions. On Twitter, “#SteveJobs” became a trending topic.
“A person who changed the course of my life in many, wonderful ways. Thank you, Steve Jobs. Rest in peace,” tweeted an Apple employee.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook page on Wednesday evening, “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.”
Question: What is your favorite Apple product?
(Photo: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)