Apple founder and former CEO Steve Jobs has lost his battle with cancer, and the world is in mourning for the tech visionary.
Under Jobs' watchful eye, Apple launched both the iPod and iTunes in 2001, an act now considered to have launched digital distribution into the mainstream. Originally promoted as simply a portable music player, the iPod - and now the iPhone and iPad - is now the most popular hand-held gaming device as well, providing a handy platform for many budding developers.
Jobs stepped down as CEO in August 2011, explaining that he could "no longer meet (his) duties and expectations as Apple's CEO", and handing over the reins to then-COO, Tim Cook. Just yesterday, Cook hosted his first major press event, announcing the iPhone 4S. Jobs was noticeably absent from the press conference.
On October 5th, Apple posted a touching eulogy to the man on the company website, the first of a flood of tributes:
Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being.
Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.
Microsoft's Bill Gates also released a statement on the passing of his most public rival:
I'm truly saddened to learn of Steve Jobs' death. Melinda and I extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends, and to everyone Steve has touched through his work. Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives. The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely.
It wasn't so long ago that Apple was seen as nothing more than a Windows-alternative, a backwards cousin and an option nobody took by choice. Jobs revitalised the company and lead it through an incredible transformation to where it is now - a cutting-edge cultural force.
Even as we mourn his passing, we celebrate the life of Steve Jobs. Without that man, the world of gaming would be a very different place - no games in your pocket, no feather-flinging touch-screen, and you'd spend your entire train journey staring at your shoes.
Steve Jobs is survived by Laurene, his wife of 20 years, their three children, and a daughter from a previous relationship. He was 56.
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