Steve Jobs Is Dead: Gizmodo's Obituary

Steve Jobs is dead. The Apple chairman and former CEO who made personal computers, smartphones, tablets and digital animation mass-market products passed away today. We're going to miss him. Deeply and personally.

More: Tribute Video To Steve Jobs

Steven P. Jobs passed away today after a long struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was just 56 years old. We mourn his passing, and wish his family the very best.

Let's address this up front: Gizmodo and Steve Jobs had, at best, a tumultuous relationship. Yet no matter how much he may have hated us, we admired him.

No, that's not quite right. We loved him.

He was the reason many of us got into this industry, or even care about technology at all. He made the computer personal, and the smartphone fun. Bill Gates may have put a computer on every office desk, but it was Steve Jobs who put one in every dorm room and bedroom and living room. And then, years later, he repeated the trick, putting one in every bag and every pocket, thanks to the iPad and iPhone. If you use a computer or smartphone today, it is either one he created, or an imitation of his genius.

He changed the way movies are made, the way music is sold, the way stories are told, the very way we interact with the world around us. He helped us work, and gave us new ways to play. He was a myth made man.

Prior to Steve Jobs, computers were alien to most of us. They were accessible to few people without an engineering degree. Not merely because of their complex operating procedures, but also because they were so cold and so inhuman. Jobs understood that they could be something more than that. That while computers would never be people, he could endow them with humanity. He could transform them into machines that not only anyone could use, but that everyday people would enjoy using thanks to the art of great design. He made them something that would be part of our lives. And he did that again and again.

His life story is familiar, but it deserves repeating. He was given up for adoption by his unmarried parents. He grew up in California, and was very much a product of that place and time. He took drugs. He got into phone hacking. Both were precursers to what would always be his interest: changing the status quo.

In 1976 he started Apple in a garage. Together with Steve Wozniak, he shipped the first true fully built personal computer, the Apple I. He drove development of the Mac, understanding that it was the future of computers. The great thing that we would all see. He brought in a grown up to run the company. And that grown up forced him out of the company that he built and into the wilderness.

While he was gone, he started NeXT computer. The NeXT operating system would form the underpinnings of Apple's OS X, and iOS.

He also started the best movie studio of the past 30 years. Pixar's films were innovative, to be sure. It pushed the boundaries of CGI to such an extent that even today its early films still look great. But technology is only a tool. As with everything else he understood that great technology alone is not enough. It must be human to have an impact. Pixar movies tell stories. They make grown men cry. That was the impact of Steve Jobs.

He became a family man. He reunited with his biological mother, and his sister, the writer Mona Simpson. He married. He had children. He was, by all accounts, a great dad. It was his role as husband and father that helped drive his second act at Apple.

After his return to Apple, the company began shipping iconic product after iconic product. Products that defined a decade. The iMac, OS X, the iPod, iTunes (which was very good, before it was very bad), the iPhone, the iPad. All of these were deeply human products. They reflected his understanding of how technology was used not only in the workplace, but in the home. In his keynotes, product demos typically showed not executives, but families.

He made Apple into the most valuable company in the world.

He never met his biological father.

He accomplished so many things, in so many fields that it's tempting to compare Jobs to someone from the past. A Thomas Edison or a Ben Franklin or even a Leonardo Da Vinci. We tend to do that because it helps us understand. But it does him a disservice. He was unique. His own person. Our own person.

He was our emblematic genius. In 100 years, when historians talk about the emergence of the age of intelligent machines, it is Steve Jobs they will hold up as the great exemplar of our era.

They will remember his flaws, too. When Atari hired Jobs and Woz to write the code for the iconic Atari game Breakout, the pair earned a $US5000 bonus for completing the work, largely done by Woz. But Jobs kept the bonus a secret and only paid his partner $US375. When his daughter Lisa was born in 1978, he spent two years denying he was her father. His denials forced her and her mother to support themselves on welfare. In the workplace he's often been described as temperamental and even petulant. He could be arrogant and unforgiving.

He was not a god. He was simply a man.

Yet for all his faults, he changed the world. He made it better.

He once famously asked of a critic "What have you done that's so great?" For Jobs, the answer to that question was very nearly unlimited.

Our world will be less interesting, less exciting, and less meaningful without him.

Goodbye, Mr Jobs. We will miss you so very much.

"Datta, dayadhvam, damyata. Shantih, Shantih, Shantih."


Comments

    WTF Really?

      Man.... pity he didnt release the iPhone 5 yesterday.. That would have made everything more iconic........

    Go to Apple's website. . .

    it's true

    rest in peace man.
    never purchased a product from his company but
    alot of people did admire him.

      You might not have bought an apply product but it is impossible to deny the impact his products have on shaping modern technology.

        good and bad

        "Re-shaping current" technology would be a more appropriate comment

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted

      Do you even know what that word means? You find joy in the misery of others?

    That's so sad. He was a brilliant businessman, and no matter how much you may hate Apple, he has made some very significant contributions to technology. R.I.P, Mr. Jobs.

    Thanks Steve.

    Wow, crazy. Two days after a major product announcement.

    I wonder how long the staff at Apple have known this was coming, if at all.

    Anybody who has any interest in technology should be upset by this sad news. Regardless of personal preference Steve Jobs had a huge impact on technology.

    May he rest in peace. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

    RIP Steve, a sad day in the tech world.
    Like him or not, he has produced a huge company and created many great products.

    The amount of apple products i own and amount of times you see him in the news, i feel like i know the guy.

    RIP Steve Jobs.

    As above...RIP

    :( will definitely be missed.

    So sad. He will be missed be all.

    Not an Apple fan, but his impact on the technology field was significant.

    Very sad news - thoughts to his family.

    Geez, so sudden. RIP.

    he will be truly missed. as much as we might not of liked some of the things he did, he did reinvent the wheel of computers and I wouldn't be sitting here with my SGS2 without him. thank you Jobs.

    oh man. respects to the great man.

    This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted

      /delete trolls
      /searching for heart . . .
      /not located
      /deleting . . .

        Yeah basically. There's a whole lot of jokes we could make, but won't.

        Some people simply don't understand the concept of respect.

          This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted

            Get off your high horse you fool.

            A real man, with a real family, real friends and who had real influence on so many things people do day to day, has just passed away.

            Show some respect.

            If they did as much as Jobs has done, or even anything near it, it would still be sad. Losing such visionaries is always a bad thing. No-one is calling him a God (in fact the article even mentions how he is not), we're paying respects to someone who has passed, the same way as if your sorry ass passed, at least one person would probably pay their respects to you.

            Show some respect you clown

            agreed. the world was not a better place because of him. he was a materialistic greedy bully and now we worship him. when will this world get over itself, he was a god to the image obsessed... nothing more

            This comment has been reported for inappropriate content and is awaiting review.

              Reactions to Jobs demise (sympathetic, fawning, sycophantic) truly show what a warped culture we collectively have, especially when he is no more different to any other corporate figurehead. At the end of the day, that's what he was. We worship a god of consumerism (I'm not immune from consumerism = part of the problem). A false idol not worthy of veneration. I can't help but put Jobs within the context of religion or a sick cult.

              A phenomenon noted during WW2 was that some tribal civilisations crudely aped the technology of a people they saw as gods flying over their heads. The term 'cargo cult' came into modern language. They were mocked for their simplicity. Yet, here we are in the modern era, and people posting on tech sites/blogs/forums show a remarkable similarity in thinking.

              Modern society has lost its mind. Evidence of that is the 'respect' shown to a man obsessed with the 'sell' and an industrialist. No different to any of the other modern robber barons.

              Some of his cultists will state he ought to be respected. Others will say 'be respectful for the dead'. Such positions have no bearing on a public figure (nor any public figure). The narrative should include other voices, even ones that people may not like.

                How you can liken public sympathy towards an influencial figure and worship I'm not too sure, but whatever.

                Hate on, guy.

                  That you could call such a reasoned post "hate" shows how very much his words truly apply to you.

                A very wise post indeed! Those shouting down other voices should take heed and be ashamed.
                You've held a mirror to them and I doubt they either like or understand what they see.

            He wasn't just 'CEO of any other corporation'. He and his peers from that early era of personal computing shaped the world that we all live in today.

              I agree with what you are saying. It's a bit like princess DI. Millions who never met the women mourned her passing like it was their mother. They were mourning an image, not reality.

              This does not reduce the pain that people who actually knew and worked with Steve would be going through right now. Condolences to them.

            There is a time and place for hyperbole, and this is not it! Let's save the rhetoric for another day and just let the poor bugger go in peace!

            It is sad when anyone dies and my condolences to his family but he wasn't a God nor was he even close to being an Edison or Einstein or Da Vinci.

            Some people need to get over themselves & get on with their lives.

      This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted

      You are a HORRIBLE person. No one deserves cancer, regardless of whether or not they're an asshole or a saint. You don't have to like the guy or know him personally to feel sympathetic to what he and his family must have gone through.

    I feel sad because I've admired Steve Jobs for most of my life. RIP

    I feel like I've lost someone I know, even though he was such a mysterious figure. He drove the agenda in the world of technology, everyone else simply reacted. It's a sad sad day

    RIP

    Never bought an apple product since the iPod time however i agree he was the most respectable figure in the technology field and had such big impact to our life style.

    RIP Steve.

    and, is it too early to bring up the conspiracy theory now? that everything come together in such a calculated way?

      I am the real Que. You must be the new guy.

    Geez. Maybe I was naive but that was so unexpected. I guess he was in worse shape than we realised?

    Rest in Peace Steve. I know people die all the time but it's the familiarity that matters. I feel as though he was almost a guy I knew - that I didn't really get along with, but now he's gone, wish I'd made more effort to understand him.

    Thoughts especially for his wife and kids. Man. Having so much success and money and losing out to something so nasty like cancer. That really sucks.

    With Jobs now out of the picture, here's hoping Apple get some sense or get beaten with a large stick.

      Hey.

      Hey.

      Shut up.

        Cool story, bro.

        I have no doubt in my mind that Jobs was influencing Apple policy even after his duties were put on the back burner, and while that may have paved the way for Apple's growth after his return, I don't believe that can be sustained for long. Apple is stagnating and the iPhone 4S is proof of that.

        Jesus, you should be thankful I wasn't spitting into his coffin like the other deleted posts here. I don't have an opinion of the man that I'd like to share here, but I'm certainly willing to share what I think Apple should be doing now.

      yes, the largest company in the world "needs to get some sense" good to know they have been doing things wrong right till this day. /sarcasm

        Ok, Gizmodo seems to have eaten my post. Originally it was a equally sarcastic "iPhone 4S"

        But seriously, you look at the thing and where is the innovation? It's a few internal upgrades, one of the very same claims some iFans have been decrying about with Android releases (and this is coming from a guy who couldn't identify a HTC WinPho7 out of a lineup). And I tell you what, working for a business that is licensed to resell Apple gear and getting screwed at every turn is not a pleasant experience.

    iSad! :(

      I lol'd

      iSad2 Sadness reinvented

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