Apple is a brand which has become synonymous with design, innovation, high end technology and one man. Steve Jobs and Apple are as one. As its chief executive, perhaps more than any other leader in business in 30 years, he became indistinguishable from the company.
The first major breakthrough came in 1984 when Americans saw an advertisement during the Superbowl promising a computer to take on IBM, the Big Brother of the computer world.
And so the ‘Mac’ was born. The company which had been founded by Jobs – building a reputation as a forthright and demanding leader – and his friend, Steve Wozniak was now going global.
But cracks were appearing in his relationships in the boardroom.
In 1985 he quit the firm which had become the standard bearer for an army of dynamic young computer designers in Silicon Valley, California. Apple’s gloss began to fade until 10 years later the two were re-united.
The secret of his return was to scrap many products and concentrate on a handful of ideas he believed would re-vitalise the company.
The aesthetic iMac with its own operating software took the battle to Microsoft. But it was Apple’s move beyond the desktop computer which underlined and sealed Jobs reputation as an innovator.
It was the beginning of the “iSomething” revolution. The iPod changed listening habits. It sparked iTunes the world’s biggest music retailer.
Next came the iPhone, packed with millions of different applications, including, of course, the ability to make calls. Next was the tablet computer iPad, in 2010.
Steve Jobs last public appearance was in June. The one area he could not control was his health. He once said the frailty of life was the driving force behind his approach to business.