Courtesy of MCT
Steve Jobs, the co-founder and former CEO of Apple Inc., died Wednesday at age 56 after a long illness, one day removed from the company’s announcement of the iPhone 4S, scheduled to be released Oct. 14.
The face behind many of technology’s biggest innovations of the past few decades, including the Macintosh and the iPod, iPad and iPhone, also became the face of technology in pop culture. The iPhone, iPod and iPad weren’t just regarded as state-of-the-art products — they were products that infiltrated the markets en masse.
The Internet blew up with reaction to Jobs’ death Wednesday. Though not quite on the same scale as the announcement of Osama bin Laden’s death, Twitter (and Facebook) exploded in near-similar fashion.
The fact that so many people were affected by the news of a former-CEO’s death really says something, especially at a time when so many Americans are fed up with corporate America.
Look at the Web. Wired.com, a popular tech blog, made their home page all-black in tribute to Jobs. Even Google, a company who has, at times, been at odds at Apple, had a small tribute on its homepage.
Even President Barack Obama weighed in on the news of Jobs’ death, issuing a release offering his words.
“The world has lost a visionary,” Obama said. “And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented.”
And that’s certainly true, as I’m typing this from an iMac.
Jobs was the face of a line of products that millions of people hold extraordinarily dear to them. In that sense, one might say Jobs is as close to a Walt Disney of our generation as they come.
What other company CEOs were as popular and recognizable and as beloved as Jobs? None.
In short, response to Jobs’ death was none too surprising.
Just consider Bill Gates. While Windows-based PCs comprise far more of the market than Apple, do you foresee the same kind of outpouring of reaction to his death?
That’s not to say PCs either are or aren’t inferior to Apple products. It does say, however, that Apple customers have a far more intimate bond with their products, and Steve Jobs was the face of that.
Seemingly every year, Jobs was the man on stage at every major Apple press conference announcing its new product. He introduced the world to almost every new iPod, iPhone and iPad.
That’s why Tuesday, when Job’s successor as Apple CEO, Tim Cook, led the keynote to announce the iPhone 4S, people seemed uneasy about not seeing Jobs there.
He was the beloved face behind beloved products, and we, more than anyone, know that, as Apple products are more popular on college campuses than most places.
I’ve had several iPods. I had an iPhone (before it was stolen). I had a MacBook Pro. I want an iPad. More importantly, I cherish every Pixar film — films from a company that Jobs was CEO of, helped to bring their first film, “Toy Story,” to fruition, and helped the studio merge with The Walt Disney Co.
It’s hard to live in a first-world country and not be affected by Jobs’ products in some way.
I know a lot of people are skeptical of Apple fanaticism. In many cases, I understand their argument. But still, Apple products are regarded by many experts as close to top-of-the-line as they come, so an argument can surely be made that the fanboyism can be justified.
That Apple appreciation, in turn, led to the announcement in July that Apple’s $76 billion in cash was more than the $74 billion the U.S. Treasury had in its possession. That is certainly in no small part a product of the hundreds of millions of iPhones and iPods sold, the tens-of-millions of iPads sold, and the countless more Macs sold since the 1970s.
Though Apple stock fell Tuesday after the announcement of the iPhone 4S, Apple will be around for a long time to come, even in Jobs’ absence.
It’s impossible to say whether sales of the iPhone 4S will be affected by the news of Jobs’ death, but regardless, the sales will be as extravagant as always, but without Jobs both behind the scenes and on stage debuting every new Apple product, it’s hard to tell whether that scenario will always be the same.