Feature: The Life Of Steve Jobs, So Far

Feature: The Life Of Steve Jobs, So Far

Steve Jobs’s sudden resignation is a shock, but might be the perfect point to take a second and look at the good, bad and as he might put it, “insanely great” parts of his life so far.

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Foreword (It’s long. You can skip this if you want.)
The timeline itself is made from a half dozen books, which I’ve listed below, and several websites. I’m sure there are some errors and missing parts, because the books often contradict each other. Also, I consider this timeline/biography to be in Alpha, so let me know if there’s a mistake and send me a good piece of source material and I’ll make corrections.

When Bill Gates went into retirement, we threw him a week-long celebration and wished him well on his journey through philanthropy at his foundation. The comings and goings of Steve Jobs have been less ceremonious. He’s been sick and Apple’s tried to down play that and his importance to the company so the company, his life’s work, can go on after he retires. And having to do it without much fanfare so the company doesn’t seem too reliant on him. Look: Last Monday the first press release came out in months with a Steve quote in it, and he was seen on campus. But no one at Cupertino is making a big deal of it. Here’s the thing: None of us really want to believe that he’s not important. It’s total bullshit to think that, if you look at his life and where his work fits in history. I mean, this is the co-founder of Apple getting sick, and slowly leaving behind his 30 year legacy in computing to the next generation. That deserves more respect, as it did in the case of Gates stepping down. Not many news pieces were written in this context.

As I was doing some background reporting, digging up pieces I hoped would give stronger context to the current events, I realised there wasn’t a good reference for all the little stories collected from the Valley and beyond about Steve Jobs’ life. The best information comes from books and quotes in magazine articles here and there, not the web. And so, it was hard to find a frame of reference online that would give better context to all that was happening today.

So I started collecting a lot of it here, and found it enjoyable to document this notable life, rather than tear it down one hospital or liver transplant rumor at a time. In some ways, it dissolved away some of the guilt I felt about writing about tracking someone’s health as if it were merely a piece of news. And so I kept going, until it was a somewhat presentable record of what we know about Jobs. From what I’ve seen, it’s the most complete online.

Before we go, I’d like to eschew the custom of linking to sources at the end and place them here because all these books are pretty amazing and worth checking out if you have the inclination. The three notables are Owen Linzmayer’s Apple Confidential 2.0 which has exact levels of detail in regard to dates, times, etc, although less on Jobs’s personal life. And VC and former Time Valley reporter Michael Moritz’s out of print The Little Kingdom, which is out of print and I paid handsomely for on eBay. Lastly, Andy Hertzfeld, one of the creators of the Mac, created Revolution in the Valley (also available in website form at folklore.org), a telling of maybe 100 personal anecdotes from the development of the Mac. It will make you think you were there. I’m not done with the pile below, but I’ll keep updating this timeline as more bits come up.

So, without further delay, here are the books this timeline is based on.

Apple Confidential 2.0 by Owen Linzmayer
The Little Kingdom: The Private Story of Apple Computer by Michael Moritz
Revolution in the Valley by Andy Hertzfeld
Inside Steve’s Brain by Leander Lahney
iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Businessby Jeffrey Young
The Perfect Thing by Steven Levy
The Journey is the Reward by Jeffrey Young
West of Eden: The End of Innocence at Apple Computer by Frank Rose

Apple 2 History
Apple Turns 30 Timeline at CNet
• Wikipedia on Lisa, the Mac and Steve Jobs
• YouTube, Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005
Folklore.org, homepage of Revolution in the Valley
NY Times interview with Jobs during the NeXT era
• Businessweek, 1988 Steve Jobs profile


Steve was a hyperactive child. Somewhere in his childhood, he ingested a bottle of ant poison and had to be brought to the emergency room.

Of being adopted, Steve would later say, “I think it’s a natural curiosity for people to want to understand where certain traits come from.” “But mostly, I’m an environmentalist. I think the way you are raised, your values, and most of your worldview come from the experiences you had growing up.”

Steve said this about his early school years, with a hint of pride: “You should have seen us in third grade.” “We basically destroyed the teacher.”

Even at 10, Steve’s attraction to electronics was becoming obvious to his parents. At one point in his childhood he got a bad shock when jamming a bobby pin into a wall socket. Paul moved with the family to Palo Alto, to handle the greater number of car repossessions that went with the greater of number of loans in the fast growing area known as Silicon Valley.


1970-1971 Part 2

1970-1971 Part 3


Jobs and Woz take $US3 an hour jobs at the Westgate Mall in San Jose, dressing up as Alice in Wonderland characters.[imgclear]



Steve goes on a spiritual trip to India with his friend Dan Kottke, and paid for Dan’s ticket. Upon wandering into a religious gathering, Jobs was taken away to the top of this mountain where the guru shaved his head. In India, Steve experimented with LSD. Dan shaved his head later, too, because he had lice. Steve left for California and gave Dan the rest of his money to continue his journey in India.

Back at Atari, Nolan Bushnell asked Jobs to work on a special project that would eventually become the game Break-Out. He made a deal to pay Jobs a certain amount if the machine had less than 40 chips. Woz, who was an expert at such things, helped Jobs complete the design in 48 hours, and Jobs got the bonus. The design was too complex to be manufactured. In 1985, Woz found out that his friend and partner had shorted him on that bonus, and is rumored to have been so hurt that he cried. When he was confronted at that time, Jobs is said to have repeated that he didn’t remember that happening. If Woz had found out earlier, he may have never joined up with Jobs to create Apple.[imgclear]



1976 Part 2

Mike Markkula is their first investor. Seeing their work, he thinks he can put Apple on the Fortune 500 in five years (and he eventually does).[imgclear]


Mike Scott becomes Apple’s president, and offends Jobs in two ways: First he awards Woz the position of being Employee #1 because his design was instrumental in the company’s founding. Jobs would later insert himself as Employee #0. Later, he informs Jobs his body odour is stinking up the office.

Jobs begins leaving his mark on Apple’s design by hiring Intel’s ad agency, Regis McKenna, to redesign the logo to the rainbow-filled Apple, which would be easily recognizable when small, although expensive to reproduce with its many colours. The bite out of its side was a play on the word “byte” and kept it from being confused with a tomato.

The Apple II premieres at the West Coast Computer Faire on April 17th as the world’s sleekest personal computer, in its plastic case. Woz developed the machine with only 62 chips and Jobs insisted they be neatly placed on the board. It has expansion slots but no visible screws (all were on the bottom).

Randy Wigginton, one of Apple’s first programmers, said that during the development of the Apple II, Woz and Jobs’ BFF friendship began to dissolve.

Jobs’s girlfriend, Chris-Ann Brennan, becomes pregnant, and Steve denies being the father. She refuses to get an abortion and it ends their relationship.[imgclear]


Steve Jobs designs a case for the Apple III, and builds it too small to fit the components the engineering team had constructed.

Apple moves into its Cupertino headquarters.

At the first Apple Halloween costume party, Jobs dresses up as Jesus Christ.[imgclear]


The computer would have a UI based on the windowed and mouse driven interfaces inspired by tech at Xerox PARC. At one of the meetings at PARC, where they showed Jobs the tech, he reportedly jumped around the room excited saying, “Why aren’t you doing anything with this? This is the greatest thing! This is revolutionary!” He also said, to Rolling Stone magazine, ” I don’t think rational people could argue that every computer wouldn’t work this way someday.”

He bought a house in Los Gatos, and left it mostly undecorated. Only a painting by Maxfield Parrish, a mattresss and some cushions are noted as the major possessions in the home. (The photo above was taken by Diana Walker in 1982.)

Jobs is known for owning a Mercedes coupe. In this year he buys his first, along with a BMW motorcycle.

Jobs cuts his hair neatly and vows to become more business saavy. He started wearing suits, occassionally.

A word processor called AppleWriter was released. It worked with Apple’s first printer, Silenttype.

He takes a paternity test and it is 94.97% certain that Lisa Nicole is his daughter. He still denies that he is her father and Chris-Ann goes on welfare. A court order forces him to pay child support.

At the first Apple Halloween costume party, Jobs dresses up as Jesus Christ.[imgclear]


The computer would have a UI based on the windowed and mouse driven interfaces inspired by tech at Xerox PARC. At one of the meetings at PARC, where they showed Jobs the tech, he reportedly jumped around the room excited saying, “Why aren’t you doing anything with this? This is the greatest thing! This is revolutionary!” He also said, to Rolling Stone magazine, ” I don’t think rational people could argue that every computer wouldn’t work this way someday.”

He bought a house in Los Gatos, and left it mostly undecorated. Only a painting by Maxfield Parrish, a mattresss and some cushions are noted as the major possessions in the home. (The photo above was taken by Diana Walker in 1982.)

Jobs is known for owning a Mercedes coupe. In this year he buys his first, along with a BMW motorcycle.

Jobs cuts his hair neatly and vows to become more business saavy. He started wearing suits, occasionally.

A word processor called AppleWriter was released. It worked with Apple’s first printer, Silenttype.

He takes a paternity test and it is 94.97 per cent certain that Lisa Nicole is his daughter. He still denies that he is her father and Chris-Ann goes on welfare. A court order forces him to pay child support.[imgclear]


Jobs’s friend and India travel partner Dan Kottke, received no stock at all, despite being employee #11. It is rumoured that Jobs denied him stock because he felt betrayed that Kottke offered Chris-Ann a shoulder to cry on after her split with Jobs. Other early employees received little or no stock. Woz, on the other hand, offered stock to many who Apple did not provide for, giving away one-third worth of his shares under his Wozplan.[imgclear]



Booted from the Lisa team by management that disagreed with his tactics and doubted his leadership abilities beyond his vision, Jobs gets involved with the Jef Raskin’s Macintosh project, named after the McIntosh apple, with a typo. It was designed to be a $US1000 appliance computer that would turn on and just work. Eventually, Jobs would take the project away from Raskin. At one meeting, Jobs threw a telephone book on the table and insisted it be no longer than that, and vertical standing. He commissioned frogdesign and Hartmut Esslinger to come up with the design language for the Mac, called Snow White.

Unlike Woz’s Apple II, it had no expansion cards. While much of Apple was becoming more straight laced, some credit Burrell Smith, a wildly creative tech who’s talent was being wasted in the service department, for creating a brilliant digital board that the rest of the team could build around. It was also notable, because unlike the Lisa project and others that were usually named after females (wives, girlfriends, daughters) the Mac was purposely named by Raskin to buck the sexist trend. (The project was originally called Annie.) Before much of this, in 1979, Jobs asked Raskin to come up with the specs before the price. And Raskin wrote a list of outrageous features meant to mock the idea. The list would, years later, describe most of the machine, vindicating Jobs’ method.

The Mac team defines the “reality distortion field” as different from how we describe it today: An engineer would mention an idea to Jobs, who would call it stupid, and weeks later he’d bring it up as his own, knowingly or not.

Jobs describes the case design of the Mac needing to be more like a Porsche than a VW. (He drove a Porsche 928 at the time.) He spoke design-ese and said this when judging a prototype coming from the car conversation: “It’s way too boxy, it’s got to be more curvaceous. The radius of the first chamfer [a beveled edge connecting two surfaces, says Wikipedia]needs to be bigger, and I don’t like the size of the bezel. But it’s a start.”[imgclear]

1981 Part 2

When the first IBM PC came out, Apple took out a cocky ad in the Wall Street Journal led with the text “Welcome IBM. Seriously.” Jobs was quoted as saying that if IBM were to win, there would be a sort of “computer dark ages for about 20 years”. Steve also said, “We’re going to out-market IBM. We’ve got our shit together.” Twenty years later, the heirs of the IBM PC, running Microsoft’s Windows, would have over 90 per cent market share.[imgclear]

1981 Part 3


The Mac team’s building had a security system that would arm itself at 5.30pm, far too early for programmers who tended to come back to work after dinner. It went off every day, or at least plenty of times. Finally, Steve yelled for someone to destroy it. Andy Hertzfeld drove a screwdriver into the alarm and when a security guard showed up and yelled at them, Jobs took responsibility for the destruction. Obviously, he didn’t get in trouble.

Jobs is dating singer Joan Baez. Some say Jobs’s fascination with Bob Dylan, a former lover of Baez’s, is part of the attraction.

Jobs buys an apartment in NYC in the San Remo building over looking Central Park. He had it renovated by architect I.M. Pei, but would never move in and eventually sells it to U2’s Bono decades later.[imgclear]


Early in the year, a Time magazine cover story written by Michael Moritz (today a venture capitalist who was on the board of Google) began to reveal the darker side of Jobs to the public. It had quotes by Woz claiming he didn’t design much tech in the Apple II, and lots of snipes by anonymous sources. Jobs cancelled his new year’s plans and thought about the article.

People could tell when Steve was in the office, because he parked in the handicapped spot out front in his blue Mercedes. People think he did it because he was a dick, but David Bunnell has been quoted as saying it was because disgruntled Lisa or Apple II employees would come by and scratch it with their keys.

“It’s better to be a pirate than to join the Navy,” said Steve. The Mac project stole more and more technology from the Lisa project, especially after Burrell Smith figured out how to get the same processor as the Lisa, the Moto 68000, into the Mac. Jobs refused to make the two machines code compatible, however.

The final Lisa product would be released years later for $US10K, five times the original project’s cost. It would tank, competing with IBM’s $US3K machine.

Jobs hires John Scully to be CEO, from Pepsi, with the line, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?” Others considered Scully’s lack of tech knowledge a drawback; Jobs saw it as an opportunity to guide the man who would be his boss.

Gates unveils Windows, claiming over 90 per cent of the IBM machines on the market would run the software by the end of 1984.[imgclear]


Jobs presents the famous “1984” ad, directed by Ridley Scott (of Blade Runner), to the board. They absolutely hate it and vote to sell back the Super Bowl air time they’d bought (which cost more than the commercial’s production costs of $US750K). They couldn’t sell the space, and they decided to run the ad, which pictured a dystopian world like that in Orwell’s novel, implicitly run by IBM and shattered by the coming arrival of the new Mac. The ad went on to win awards. Jobs said, “Luck is a force of nature… Using the 1984 theme was such an obvious idea that I worried that someone else would beat us to it, but nobody did.”

The Mac launches on January 24. Jobs wore a polka dot bow tie and recited Bob Dylan lyrics from “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” Then he unveiled the Mac, which began to speak using a voice synthesis program: “Hello, I am Macintosh”, finishing with, “So it is with considerable pride that I introduce the man who’s been like a father to me, Steve Jobs.”

The Apple III, meant to replace the Apple II, is discontinued on the same day Jobs announces the Apple IIc, a compact version of the II meant to feel more appliance like, to Jobs’ insistence. The celebration, called “Apple II Forever”, was interrupted by a 6.2 richter scale earthquake in San Francisco.[imgclear]

1984 Part 2

Jobs gains control of the Lisa team again and berates them as having “f**ked up” in front of the newly combined Mac/Lisa team.

Jobs’ Mac development team starts to discover that they, slaving under the motto of “working 90 hours a week and loving it” were grossly underpaid compared to the Lisa team’s staff, and even compared to the junior engineers on the Mac team. Many feel betrayed by Jobs. Bonuses helped alleviate morale problems, but then the profitable Apple II team became resentful of the Mac team’s privileges.

Jobs stars as President Roosevelt in a war-themed “1984” ad parody called “1944”, where Macs waged war on IBM computers. It costs $US50K to develop and is shown off to the international sales team at the annual meeting in Waikiki, HI. “IBM wants to wipe us off the face of the earth,” said Jobs to Fortune magazine.

Vietnam Vet memorial artist Maya Lin is Steve’s most recent flame.

Jobs buys Jackling House, a 1926 Woodside CA mansion, built for mining and metallurgical engineer Daniel Cowam Jackling in 1926 by famous architect George Washington Smith. Jobs lived in the 1580sqm house for another 10 years, hardly furnishing it. He rented it out for a time after that.[imgclear]


Around this time, either before or after it, Jobs discovers that Woz has resigned. Woz would eventually going back to college under an alias, Rocky Clark. He earned a CS/EE bachelor’s degree from UC Berkeley.

Ella Fitzgerald sings at Jobs’s 30th birthday party at the St Francis hotel in San Francisco, a black-tie dinner dance.

Jobs visits nerd and supermodel Bo Derek to convert her to a Mac user. She was unimpressed with both Jobs and the Mac.

Jobs says in a Playboy magazine interview that he was not happy that he learned, from a video tape he was not supposed to see, that every US nuke operated out of Europe was being aimed using an Apple II.

Apple executives start blaming him for the miscalculated forecasting of Mac sales and start to build up resentment of his management style. Mike Murray, Jobs’ lieutenant in marketing, writes a memo summarizing the problems that Apple has, laying much blame on Steve Jobs. He shows it to Steve first and his reality distortion field begins to deflate. The board and Scully strip Jobs of his control of the Mac group and the Lisa product line is killed.

Scully is tipped off by a VP that Jobs will try to unseat him while Scully attends a a trip to China. When confronted, Jobs says, “I think you’re bad for Apple and I think you’re the wrong person to run this company.” Scully calls an emergency meeting for the next morning. “I’m running this company, Steve, and I want you out for good. Now!” Scully made each man in the room pledge their alliance to Jobs or Scully. Jobs is quiet the entire time. Jobs goes to assure Scully again that he’d respect his leadership, but Jobs is plotting a final coup attempt behind his back. Tuesday evening, May 28, 1985, Jobs is stripped of all duties, but remains the chairman of the board. Friends worry he’ll kill himself.[imgclear]

1985 Part 2

He resigns at sunset, by handing a letter to Mike Murray on his front lawn, with press in attendance. Dramatically, he told the press, “If Apple becomes a place where computers are a commodity item, where the romance is gone, and where people forget that computers are the most incredible invention that man has ever invented, I’ll feel I have lost Apple.” “But if I’m a million miles away, and all those people still feel those things…then I will feel that my genes are still there.”

Jobs sells almost all his Apple stock, over four million shares ($US11 million), citing a lack of confidence in Apple’s management. He retains one. Some say for sentimental reasons, some say so he still receives quarterly reports.

Apple sues Jobs for using company research to launch a new company. Jobs responds, “It’s hard to think that a $US2 billion company with 4300 plus people couldn’t compete with six people in blue jeans.” The suit is dismissed before it could go to court.

Microsoft launches Windows 1.0, aping the look and feel of early Mac OS GUIs (which aped Xerox GUIs).

Scully allows Gates to use Mac tech in Windows if Microsoft would hold off on selling a Windows version of Excel, allowing Apple to get a foothold in the business market.

Jobs names his company NeXT. Their first project would be a workstation for higher education, inspired by his interest in biotech, that would be cheap enough for students, but powerful enough to run wet lab simulations. A Businessweek cover story at the time featured a quote by Andrea Cunningham, an ex publicist for NeXT, “Part of Steve wanted to prove to others and to himself that Apple wasn’t just luck… He wanted to prove that Sculley should never have let him go.”

Sometime during this year, Apple discontinues the Lisa.[imgclear]


Around this time, Jobs has begun to build his relationship with his daughter, Lisa, who is about seven.

Jobs finishes his sell-off of Apple stock.

Jobs buys Pixar out of Lucasfilm’s computer graphics group for a discounted price of $US10m—$US5m of which will be used for operations — so that Lucas could finance his divorce without selling Star Wars stock. Jobs is quoted as saying, “If I knew in 1986 how much it was going to cost to keep Pixar going, I doubt I would have bought the company.”[imgclear]


Jobs, sometime in his 30s, learns of his birth parents: Joanne Carole Schieble, a speech therapist, and Abdulfattah Jandali, a Syrian political science professor. He also finds out that they have a daughter — his birth sister — Mona Simpson, who is a novelist.

Mona, brings Jobs to a book party for her new novel, Anywhere But Here, revealing their relationship as siblings to those who attended the party. Some believe Jobs was the base from which Mona created her main character in a later book, A Regular Guy. Mona Simpson’s husband, Richard Appel, was a writer for The Simpsons, and he named Marge’s mother after his wife. His interactions with her, and upon learning how similar they were, impacted Steve Jobs. Steve Lohr wrote for the NY Times, “The effect of all this on Jobs seems to be a certain sense of calming fatalism—less urgency to control his immediate environment and a greater trust that life’s outcomes are, to a certain degree, wired in the genes.” Just years earlier, Jobs was firm on most of his character having been formed from his experiences, not his birth parents or genetics.

NeXT’s robotic factory opens in Fremont, not to control labour costs but to use lasers to more accurately solder circuits for improved quality.[imgclear]


Jobs sells King Juan Carlos I of Spain a NeXT computer at a party, before it’s even been released.

In October, the NeXT computer, nicknamed the Cube, was unveiled in a symphony hall, to show off the machine’s stereo sound processing. The magnesium-cased machine had an ethernet port and inline graphics and audio in email (rare at the time), and a 17-inch black-and-white monitor. Most universities preferred color screens for workstations by this time. It also had a magnetic-optical disc that was a bit too slow and expensive. frogdesign’s Esslinger works on the ID, but only on the terms that he has free reign.

The PR machine tells the press that Steve’s mellowed out a bit, and gained some self awareness. One ex employee told an opposing story that ”everyone would put in their one vote. Then Steve would put in his 70 votes.”

Steve did change, though. One example is of the unusual pay scheme at NeXT. Up till the early ’90s, there were only two tiers of pay, $US50K and $US75K, based on how early you started in the company. Pay day came once a month and the check was for the upcoming four weeks. Seniors who joined with NeXT were given 2 per cent in company stock. The even handedness stood in stark contrast with the chaotic pay and reward schemes found early at Apple.

At a dinner with important representatives from universities, the major target buyers of NeXT machines, the staff neglected to prepare a vegetarian dish for Jobs. He cancelled the entire entree portion of the meal for the room, leaving a room full of potential customers hungry.[imgclear]


Apple is sued by Xerox for the GUI.

The NeXT cube starts shipping to customers. When asked about the ship date’s delay, Jobs responds that the computer is still five years ahead of its time, regardless.

In 1989, the last 2700 Lisa computers would be quietly dumped in a landfill in Logan, Utah, so Apple could collect a tax writeoff.

Mac Portable comes out.[imgclear]



Steven Jobs and Laurene Powell are married at the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park, on March 18 in a ceremony held by Buddhist monk Kobin Chino. Their first child, Reed Paul Smith is born later that year, named after Reed college and Jobs’s father.

Around this time, daughter Lisa starts living with Jobs and continues to through her teenage years.[imgclear]


The Macintosh TV comes out.

John Scully ousted by the board in June, replaced by Apple Europe head Michael Spindler.

After selling only 50,000 of their machines, NeXT exits the hardware game, focusing solely on software. They work on porting the NeXTSTEP OS to 486 intel processors.

PowerMac 6100/60 comes out.
QuickTake Camera comes out.

Jobs and his best friend Larry Ellison, of Oracle, are on holiday in Hawaii and they discuss the possibility of a hostile takeover of Apple while walking on the beach. They’d arranged for $US3m in financing and to have Jobs take the helm. “We came very, very close to doing it,” Ellison says to the New York Times, ”Steve is the one who decided against it.” ”I decided I’m not a hostile-takeover kind of guy,” Jobs says. ”If they had asked me to come back, it might have been different.”

Pixar releases Toy Story, Jobs’s 80 per cent stake in Pixar is worth $US600m.

Mac clones live.

Erin Sienna, second child to Steve and Laurene Powell, is born.

The Microsoft/Apple cases are finally settled; Apple loses.[imgclear]


To Fortune magazine, Jobs says, “You know, I’ve got a plan that could rescue Apple. I can’t say any more than that its the perfect product and the perfect strategy for Apple. But no body there will listen to me.”

Gil Amelio replaces Michael Spindler as CEO of Apple, and the stock soon hit a 12-year low.

Apple’s aging OS needs replacement. Apple considers buying BeOS, or even licensing Windows NT from Microsoft. But instead, they look to NeXT and the NeXTSTEP OS, which directly influenced Apple’s modern OS X UI, architecture and multitasking abilities, which is used in the iPhone and all Macs today.

Apple announces intent to purchase of NeXT for $430 million to pay back investors, and 1.5m in Apple shares to Jobs. Jobs would also re-enter the company as an advisor, bringing “a lot of experience and scar tissue”. He’s also recognised as having mellowed out in his management, as one Pixar employee describes: “After the first three words out of your mouth, he’d interrupt you and say, ‘OK, here’s how I see things.’ It isn’t like that anymore. He listens a lot more, and he’s more relaxed, more mature.” Jobs attributed the change to an increased faith in people: “‘I trust people more.”

Jobs steps back onto the Apple campus, wildly changed since he’d last been there, for the first time since 1985.[imgclear]

New Yorker

Jobs: “The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament.”

Jobs calls Dell computers boring beige boxes; Michael Dell says if he ran Apple, he’d give the share holders back their money.

Jon Ive is hired, beginning a new era of Apple design.

The 20th Anniversary Mac, with a DVD player and TV tuner comes out as Ive’s first piece of work.


Eve Jobs born.

The first iMac is born.


Pirates of Silicon Valley

Jobs is the permanent CEO of Apple again.

PowerMac Cube comes out.

Jobs stops maintaining the Jackling House mansion he bought in 1984.[imgclear]


iPod comes out.

OS X 10.0 comes out.[imgclear]


Al Gore joins Apple’s Board.

Jobs discovers malignant tumour in his pancreas. It’s a rare form of pancreatic cancer that can be cured. He tries nine months of alternative medicine, unsuccessfully curing the cancer.[imgclear]


Jobs receives permission to demolish the Jackling House and rebuild a smaller home on the land. Local preservationists veto the decision.[imgclear]


Jef Raskin, father of the Mac, dies of pancreatic cancer in his home in Pacifica, California.

Jobs turns 50.

iPod nano, Video iPod, iPod shuffle come out.

Jobs gives the commencement speech at Stanford, telling three stories, one about intuition and how he went to college and what he learned from it despite dropping out. One was about his love for Apple and losing the company. And the last was about death and his experience with cancer. The video and transcript are widely available online and the most personal look we have at his life during his second era at Apple.[imgclear]


Apple TV comes out.[imgclear]


Psystar announces a $US400 mac clone, using Hackintosh workarounds to get OS X on a clone PC.

Jobs beings to give keynotes by sharing the stage with other Apple executives.

Gizmodo runs a rumour that Steve is sick and will step down; the mainstream press denies it, particularly CNBC bureau chief Jim Goldman and some WSJ reporters, until January.[imgclear]


Jobs receives permission to tear down Jackling house and build a smaller home on the property.

Steve Jobs receives a liver transplant in Tennessee. The NYT raises the question of how he received a transplant so quickly and the hospital releases a statement, with Jobs’s permission, that he received it quickly because he was the most sick on the list of recipients.

Steve Jobs returns to Apple in June 2009, quietly, by appearing on campus, and by being quoted in a press release.[imgclear]


At a corporate town hall, Steve calls Google’s “Don’t be evil” slogan “bullshit”. Employee applause follow.

Steve’s former tech pal Eric Schmidt turns foe as their companies become rivals. A later sit down meeting shows things are still tense.

Apple announces the iPhone 4 in June.

Design flaws in the iPhone 4 lead to spotty reception when gripped normally. Jobs replies to one user’s email, “Just avoid holding it in that way.”

A testy Jobs later holds an event to defend the iPhone 4’s antenna, but informs users they’ll be eligible for a free bumper case. He also takes the opportunity to claim his health is “fine,” call a WSJ article about antenna mis-engineering “bullshit” and accuse the NYT of “just making this stuff up”.

The Magic Trackpad comes out.

Steve takes the keynote stage again to introduce new Apple TV, iPod nano, iPod touch and iPod shuffle.

Jobs makes non-tech headlines over email bickering with a 22-year-old journalism student. “Our goals do not include helping you get a good grade,” he replies, before finally dropping a “Please leave us alone” bomb.

Apple sells more iPads than Macs for the first time ever.

Steve mounts the stage again to show off OS X Lion, iLife ’11, and two new MacBook Airs.

The Financial Times names Steve Jobs its Person of the Year, lauding him as “A rebuttal of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s much-quoted aphorism that there are no second acts in American life.”[imgclear]


Jobs sends out a company-wide memo informing Apple that he’ll be taking another medical leave of absence, though says he will “continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.” Tim Cook placed in charge of “Apple’s day to day operations.” It remains unclear whether the departure is a consequence of Jobs’ liver transplant or earlier bout with pancreatic cancer. “I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can,” he concludes.

On August 24, Steve Jobs announces his resignation as Apple CEO, moving to become the company’s Chairman of the Board. He writes the following in a letter to the company:

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.

Illustration by contributing illustrator Sam Spratt based on this image. Check out Sam’s portfolio and become a fan of his Facebook artist’s page.