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The life and times of Apple's genius

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The life and times of Apple's genius


San Francisco-born Steve Jobs’ Apple MacIntosh was an early smash hit in the small computer market.

It was the first to use a mouse to click on command controls and the company told consumers that a ‘taste of it would liberate them’.

Jobs considered himself as part of a counter-culture.

In his youth he tripped on psychedelic drugs.

He embraced Buddhism in India.

His early work included video games at Atari.

Jobs saw the allure of a graphical user interface early on, in the late 1970s, and, with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Mike Markkula, and others, he built on it.

But he and the board of directors did not see eye to eye, and the year the first MacIntosh came out, in 1984, as overall sales slumped, Jobs resigned from Apple.

He then founded NeXT, specialising in the science and academic markets, and then bought The Graphics Group (later renamed Pixar), which took off with Toy Story in 1995.

Apple then bought NeXT, bringing Jobs the co-founder back.

He swiftly reasserted his control and threw himself into its return to profitability.

He was known for professional aggressiveness and a temperamental style, by some as an ego maniac, by others as mellow and mature.

He produced many wonders: Jobs had hundreds of inventor or co-inventor patents or patent applications to his name.

He cared about how things looked, felt, for instance the all-in-one iMac desktop computer designed by Jonathan Ive and introduced in 1998.

Of course he got richer – fabulously rich – as his company bore technologically innovative and more and more user-friendly fruit for the whole world.

He also got much thinner.

His weakening health was linked to cancer of the pancreas. He made it public knowledge in 2004. But he handled it, periodically away from work.

In 2009 he had a liver transplant and handed more tasks over to others, but he still showed up for product launch events.

The world admired him, from powerful industry rivals and politicians to ordinary customers while Apple products sold in the millions.

The company became one of the world’s largest by market capitalisation, occasionally bumping even oil off the top spot, soon before Jobs handed over the chief executive reins.

Apple and its historic chief were also criticised over labour, environmental and some business practices, but both clearly stimulated consumer electronics, creatively, even philosophically.

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