Belfast Telegraph

Steve Jobs: Visionary leader and inspiration to many

By Alex Masters

As a technology writer and enthusiast I’m finding it difficult to come to terms with the news of Steve Jobs’ passing. For as long as I can remember Steve Jobs has shaped the way I see, experience and understand technology.

It’s safe to say that we wouldn’t be enjoying the diverse range of elegant, user-friendly and powerful products we use today without his incredible vision and determination to change the way we interact with computers.

After several years battling pancreatic cancer, Steve passed away peacefully on October 5 2011, surrounded by his family and close friends. It’s clear from the sheer volume of comments and messages I’ve read over the past few hours – from the most unlikely of people – that his impact on society has been far greater than anyone ever imagined.

Steve was able to sculpt Apple into the world’s most innovative computer company. A company that all others aspire to be, whether they admit to it or not. Despite their best efforts, Apple’s closest competitors are still years behind the curve, constantly playing catch up. It is clear that over the past few years Steve Jobs has been developing a team of people capable of carrying his vision forwards into the decades to come. Let’s just hope the likes of CEO Tim Cook and senior vice presidents Jonathan Ive, Scott Forstall and Philip Schiller can continue on from where he left off.

“Steve was among the greatest of American innovators — brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it,” – President Barack Obama

I was lucky enough to have been born in the early eighties at a time when computing was on the verge of exploding in popularity, growing exponentially in both power and versatility. Back then personal computers were expensive luxury devices with very limited capabilities, but over the years I’ve been lucky enough to experience their transition into smaller, more powerful and more affordable devices first hand.

When you grow up loading apps onto your TV screen for ten minutes via cassette tape, rather than downloading them onto your iPhone in seconds through thin air, you have a greater appreciation of just how big an impact Apple and Steve Jobs have had on our lives. It’s hard to imagine a world without iPhones, iPads and Macs. Yes, all these innovations would still have taken place without Steve Job’s involvement, but would they have been anywhere near as engaging, compelling, usable and beautiful as they are today? Not a chance.

“Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful that’s what matters to me.” – Steve Jobs 2003 (Wall Street Journal)

I can vividly recall my first experience with an Apple computer during my first year at middle school. I remember being blown away by what it could do, and more importantly, what it enabled me to do. It was my first experience designing on a computer, which ignited my passion for graphic design, one that led me into a career in web development and multimedia design.

To this day his vision continues to change the way we perceive and interact with computers. He is an inspiration to many and his contributions to technology will be sorely missed.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” – Steve Jobs (2005 Stanford commencement speech)


In his own words: 'Find what you love'

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent.

It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

An excerpt from Steve Jobs' address to students in 2005 Click here for full speech

From Macintosh to the iPad

1976 Jobs co-founds Apple

1980 Apple's stock market flotation is biggest since Ford in 1956

1985 Leaves Apple to concentrate on new ventures, including Pixar and NeXT

1997 Returns to Apple promising to revitalise the flagging company

2000 Resumes as Apple CEO

2002 iPod launched

2003 iTunes launched

August 2004 announces he has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and has undergone surgery to remove tumour.

2007 iPhone launched

June 2009 Returns to work six months after taking time off for liver transplant as part of cancer treatment

January 2010 iPad launched

17 January 2011 Announces he is taking a break from day-to-day operations to concentrate on his health.

11 March 2011 iPad 2 launched

24 August 2011 Jobs resigns as Apple CEO

05 October 2011 iPhone 4S launched

06 October 2011 Apple announces the death of Steve Jobs

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