RIP: Steve Jobs, Apple founder

RIP: Steve Jobs, Apple founder

Just over a month ago, I asked Has Jobs really left the core of apple? Today, sadly, it is certain that he has.

In the news, pictures show the Apple offices at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino with the flags at half mast.
, and their web-site currently shows a simple message stating

Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who were fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. –

According to the Wall Street Journals obituary for Steven Paul Jobs, 1955-2011, that he passed away, peacefully with his family, after his fight with pancreatic cancer. The BBC also have an obituary for Steve Jobs, along with UPI (Steve Jobs dies at 56) and many others, including Wired (Steve Jobs passes away, aged 56, on October 5th 2011)

This announcement unfortunately really overshadows for Apple the announcement yesterday of the A5 powered iPhone4S, the hardware platform for the iOS5 operating system which is the real iPhone (and iPad), and provides the foundation for the “there’s an app for that” infrastructure, turning iTunes into something more than just an online music store.

Whilst I’ve never really been an Apple fanboy, slavishly following the herd, and getting the latest Apple hardware, I do recognise that Steve Jobs is probably the most influential and visionary of the initial generation of personal computer companies.

It initially started out with the Apple I, the first computer that Steve Wozniak and Jobs worked on at the Homebrew Computer Club. This was later followed by the ::wiki(“Apple II”):: which was a pre-packaged platform, for those that wanted a computer capable of flexibility and graphics, but didn’t want to waste time with a soldering iron. It also supported an open expansion slot capability which allowed it to be extensible.

On 24th January 1984, Apple launched the Apple Macintosh, with the now well-recognised 1984 Ridley-Scott directed advert.

This was the true start of Apple’s drive to be a platform for the creation, editing and delivery of content, the start of the Desktop Publishing revolution (with the LaserWriter being the first PostScript Laser Printer being launched in March 1985).

In 1985, Steve Jobs founded NeXT Inc, and delivered a Unix-powered cube that again became a game changer, with the object-orientated NextStep operating system. In another claim to fame, a NeXT computer became the first World-Wide Web server in the world, when Tim Berners-Lee created the HTML and HTTP protocols at CERN.

Whilst NeXT was not a commercial success, some of the technology and ideas there later become a part of the Mac OS X operating system when Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1996, when they brought NeXT, in turn allowing the charismatic Steve Jobs to return to the company he founded, bring back direction and coherency of vision to a company that had clearly lost it’s way at the time.

In 2001, Apple launched the iPod, moving the company into the consumer electronics space, and taking the Sony Walkman concept significantly further, with your entire library of music now being portable. Many iterations and form-factors of this technology are available, from the small shuffle to the larger hard disk based classic.

In 2007, the iPod morphed again, with the addition of a much larger screen for movie watching, and more importantly a wifi connection, as well as a mobile data connection. This was the iPhone, probably the most significant of the smartphone platforms, and one that sets the bar by which others are measured.

In April 2010, the iPhone got squashed and flattened, to become the ground-breaking tablet that is the iPad, and it seems hard to believe that it was only 18 months ago that these slim, light-weight, long-lived devices weren’t around, and that tablet used to mean a clunky laptop-type device that was heavy and didn’t have the battery life to support the things you wanted to do with it, even if you could carry it around with you.

But Steve Jobs wasn’t all about technology, he was very aware that the technology needed content to push it, hence the iTunes store deals with record companies, movie deals when the iPhone arrived, and the in-built connectivity of all Apple computers since the Macintosh for collaboration.

This also drove his purchase of Pixar, to my mind. Pixar would almost certainly not be in the position it is today with out the backing of Steve Jobs. Pixar certainly took advantage of the NeXT computer platform as part of the Renderman software specification for turning collections of individual models in to a stream of film frames.

This symbiotic relationship helped strengthen both companies, but Pixar emerged the stronger, surviving the hardware, proving again that content is more important than the delivery platform. A concept that Steve Jobs knew intimately and shaped lots of his decisions in life.

Steve Jobs, thank you!

John Dixon

John Dixon is the Principal Consultant of thirteen-ten nanometre networks Ltd, based in Wiltshire, United Kingdom. He has a wide range of experience, (including, but not limited to) operating, designing and optimizing systems and networks for customers from global to domestic in scale. He has worked with many international brands to implement both data centres and wide-area networks across a range of industries. He is currently supporting a major SD-WAN vendor on the implementation of an environment supporting a major global fast-food chain.

Comments are closed.