Steve Jobs, Apple’s cofounder and visionary leader, has died at the age of 56 after a long bout with pancreatic cancer that has afflicted him for years. Founding his computer company at the age of 21 in Cupertino California, 1976, along with Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs really had little idea of what Apple would eventually become as it is today one of the world’s most valuable companies and a titan of industry. Of course, as time passed, Apple faced increasing competition from IBM machines and became relegated to a niche status for much of its corporate history until its unprecedented revival beginning in 1996. Jobs firmly believed in the ability of computers to unleash human creativity and he sought to tailor his products to that end, garnering Apple apex status in the vaunted and hyper-competitive photo editing, music production and educational software markets. Often criticized for his harsh style and high-expectations, it was Jobs’ vision of what Apple could become that has propelled the company from the doldrums of the mid-90’s to its success today, competing with Exxon for the world’s most valuable company title. Beginning with the artfully and iconically designed iPods, and sadly, ending with the iPad, Steve Jobs vision of where computing could go and what Apple’s devices could do for its customers knew no real boundaries. Today it is commonplace to carry around hundreds of compact discs worth of music, to expect clean, crisp design in your computer and its interface, to swipe your fingers and use gestures on a buttonless surface, and to use all these things along with the internet to unleash the power of the creative masses that had been yearning for an audience for generations. Now with the power of Apple’s products, one can publish a book, create a music album, edit a movie or just play games and surf the internet, seamlessly across a product line of integrated and technologically superior devices. Please read my tribute to Jobs and a short synopsis of the saga that was his tenure and second coming to Apple here. Personally saddened by this news, I can only add that I know he will go down in the history of computing and business as a visionary par excellence and a businessman for whom I can only think of a few that come close to being in his league. When I look around at the multiple venues presented to me by modern technology for my writing and otherwise, I know Steve Jobs is one of the many men to whom all this is owed. I salute you Steve Jobs and I will forever keep you in my memory. You were an inspiration to me before Apple was what it is today, and you shall continue to be so even in death.

[NPR]