Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

It was August 24, just over a month ago, that Steve Jobs, Apple Founder, stepped down as the company’s CEO. He and friend Steve Wozniak founded the company together in 1976, and in the years since, they have changed the way this country consumes technology.

This evening, Steve Jobs lost a long battle to pancreatic cancer. He was 56.

Jobs brought our parents’ generation the AppleII and the Macintosh; he gave our generation the Macbook, the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. These devices have been staples for the tech-savvy (and, increasingly, everyone else) and inspirations for those inventors who competed with him and those inventors who will come after him. The ease of use of the iPod and iTunes made small white earbuds (and black silhouettes dancing on solid background) the new symbol of the modern music-listener. The iPhone and its subsequent incarnations changed the game for cell phone users: the flip and RAZR phones became a brief memory. A phone was no longer just a phone: it was a camera, a computer, a game system, and an all-around personal assistant.

But Jobs left behind more than just the technology he created. He was an inspiration, the man on stage in the turtleneck and blue jeans, looking suspiciously like your friend’s dad or your eighth grade English teacher, speaking excitedly about the product he sold and making the audience feel the same way.

Jobs’ resignation letter was brief and pointed:

August 24, 2011–To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

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.

Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

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.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

-Steve. [Wall Street Journal.]

Jobs seldom spoke of his personal illness until 2004, when he sent an e-mail informing his staff about his rare but very curable form of pancreatic cancer, and 2005, during his commencement address at Stanford University. In the subsequent years, his health fluctuated, until he ultimately succumbed to his disease earlier today.

The online response to the death of the technology innovator in the plain black turtleneck has been strong and swift, with #RIP Steve Jobs jumping to the top of Twitter’s trending topic list. Meanwhile, Apple’s main website has changed in its own simple tribute.

Steve Jobs. | Screenshot of the main page.

About Kelly Dickinson

Kelly is a CAS/COM senior double-majoring in Psychology and Film. She was the editor-in-chief last year, but she ceded to Ingrid in a mostly-bloodless coup. Right now, she's Producing on QuadCast, checking off her BU bucket-list and hunting for one of those "job" things.

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