Happy Birthday, Steve Jobs! A look at the life of a tech luminary

tim cook celebrates jobs 60th birthday on twitter love what you do stevejobsiphone

Fifty-nine years ago today, a baby boy was born to Abdulfattah Jandali and Joanne Scheible, an unmarried couple living in San Francisco, California.

That baby turned out to be Steve Jobs, a man we know today as a technological revolutionary who passed on way too soon.

In 1955, however, there was little to indicate he would become a colossus in Silicon Valley. He was put up for adoption because his birth mother’s family objected to Joanne’s relationship with Abdulfattah, and the Armenian couple that adopted him, Paul and Clara Jobs, was not particularly well-off or well-educated.

Mr. and Mrs. Jobs cared deeply about their adopted son, however, and did everything they could to encourage his natural curiosity. Paul Jobs, a mechanic and carpenter, often had broken radios and other early electronics in his workshop, and taught Steve how to repair them. As Steve grew, so did his curiosity, and in his early teens, he made friends with neighborhood kids who shared his love of gadgets. These friends included Steve Wozniak, and through these innocuous beginnings, the foundation of what would become Apple was laid.

stevejobstevewoz

While both Jobs and Wozniak had some technical knowledge, it was clear from the beginning that Jobs was interested in more than just tinkering with electronics. For instance, when Wozniak created a rendition of Pong in 1972, Jobs took it to Atari. Atari assumed that Jobs had created the copycat and offered him a job, which he took. He repeated this duplicity several years later, when Atari offered Jobs $100 for each chip he could eliminate from the circuit board of the arcade game Breakout. Jobs took the problem to Wozniak, who managed to cut away an astounding fifty chips, but Jobs lied to Wozniak and told him that Atari had paid only $700. Of that $700, Wozniak received exactly half: $350.

After attending and dropping out of Reed College, Steve went on a journey through India in 1974. This experience transformed him, both physically and mentally. He shaved his head, began wearing traditional Indian clothing, and started to practice Buddhism. He also experimented with LSD and in 1978, fathered a child, Lisa, with his girlfriend, Chris-Ann Brennan. However, Jobs denied being Lisa’s father for several years and didn’t meet her until 1986.

While his personal life became complicated, his professional career became a resounding success. In 1976, Wozniak invented the Apple I, which Jobs suggested selling; the pair soon founded Apple Computer with Ronald Wayne, who provided some early advice but soon bowed out.

The company grew at an astounding rate through the late 70s and early 80s thanks to the Apple II, again invented by Wozniak, and Jobs’ relentless promotion. Then, in 1980, Apple went public, with the company’s shares initially valued at $22 each. From there, Apple soon became one of the most recognized brands in the early PC industry.

youngstevejobs

At this point, Steve Jobs was on top of the world, but his fortunes didn’t last. His caustic attitude was seen as a liability and the company had investors and a board to please. This led to the hiring of John Sculley, the former chief of Pepsi, as Apple’s CEO. While Jobs and Sculley initially cultivated an odd friendship, Apple’s board did not hesitate to remind the new CEO that containing Jobs’ was part of his job description. The resulting power struggle ended with Steve Jobs resigning in 1985.

At the time, this seemed like the end of Jobs’ 15 minutes of fame. The company he went on to create that same year, NeXT, created a variety of powerful workstation computers, but the brand was never more than a blip on the public’s radar. Jobs was busy, however, not only with his new computing business but also with The Graphics Group, a company he acquired from Lucasfilm in 1986 and would later become a household name. You may have heard of it. It’s called Pixar, the studio that has made such blockbuster animated movies like Toy Story, Finding Nemo and WALL-E.

However, Apple did not fare well in the years since Jobs’ departure.In 1996, the company agreed to purchase NeXT. Once the deal was finalized in 1997, Jobs was made the new interim CEO of Apple. In 2000, he finally dropped the “interim” tag from his title. Though his return to the company was a bit of a gamble due to his past, Apple had nowhere else to turn.

Slowly, over the next several years, the impact of Jobs’ presence became obvious. NeXT’s operating system, NeXTSTEP, was transitioned to Mac OS X, a sorely needed replacement for the aging Mac OS, and under-performing products like the Newton were axed. Apple entered, and quickly dominated, new markets with products like the iPod, iPhone and iPad, while the company’s computers were bolstered by a transition to Intel hardware and the introduction of the successful MacBook Pro line. Each success lent Jobs credibility, giving him unquestioned authority to guide product development in accordance with his vision. The power struggles that had dethroned him in the 80s were a thing of the past.

stevejobs2007

As before, however, professional success were also accompanied by personal struggles. In 2003, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Rather than pursuing a medical solution, Jobs tried to a variety of alternative remedies, including veganism and herbal remedies. After this approach failed to generate any results, Jobs’ opted to have his tumor surgically removed.

Though the surgery was deemed a success,  delaying the procedure by nine months had given the cancer time to grow. His health declined again in 2008, leading to a temporary six-month leave in 2009 for a liver transplant and finally, in August of 2011, his resignation.

Steve Jobs died from cancer-related complications on October 5, 2011. Were he alive today, Jobs would be celebrating his 59th birthday.

Though Steve Jobs has passed, his legacy continues to live on. Apple, now in the hands of Tim Cook, is the world’s largest and most profitable technology company, and the products he helped pioneer and popularize, including the modern smartphone and tablet, continue to revolutionize how people interact with technology, and with each other as well.

Happy Birthday, Steve Jobs.

Image Credit: Ben Stanfield/Flickr

Computing

Adobe’s craziest new tools animate photos, convert recordings to music in a click

Adobe shared a glimpse behind the scenes at what's next and the Creative Cloud future is filled with crazy A.I.-powered tools, moving stills, and animation reacting to real-time tweets.
Computing

Microsoft co-founder, Seahawks owner Paul Allen dies at 65

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen died on October 15 of complications from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The cancer survivor was best known for his entrepreneurial spirit and his frequent contributions to charities.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Amazon Prime right now (October 2018)

Prime Video provides subscribers with access to a host of fantastic films, but sorting through the catalog can be an undertaking. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Here are the best movies on Amazon Prime Video right now.
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.
Product Review

Alexa, annoy my neighbors! The Echo Sub brings the boom you've been missing

Amazon’s Echo Sub is aimed at Echo speaker owners looking to inject some room-moving bass into their smart speaker experience. We quickly learned that it’s a niche product, but one that does its odd job extremely well.
Computing

Problems with Microsoft’s Windows October 2018 Update aren’t over yet

Microsoft's Windows 10 October 2018 update is not having a great launch. More than two weeks after its debut and Microsoft is still putting out fires as new bugs are discovered and there's no sign of its re-release as of yet.
Computing

Chrome 70 is now available and won’t automatically log you in to the browser

Google has officially launched Chrome version 70 on Windows Mac and Linux. The update introduces some new Progressive Web App integrations on Windows 10 and also tweaks the much controversial auto login with Google Account feature.
Computing

Corsair’s latest SSD boasts extremely fast speeds at a more affordable price

Despite matching and besting the performance of competing solid-state drives from Samsung and WD, the Corsair Force Series MP510 comes in at a much more affordable price. Corsair boasts extremely fast read and write speeds.
Computing

New Windows 10 19H1 preview lets users remove more pre-installed Microsoft apps

With the release of the latest Windows 10 19H1 preview build on October 17, Microsoft is letting some consumers remove more of the pre-installed inbox app bloatware from their machines. 
Computing

Apple’s 2020 MacBooks could ditch Intel processors, arrive with ‘ARM Inside’

If you're buying a MacBook in 2020, be on the lookout for a new "ARM Inside" banner. Apple is reportedly working on transitioning away from Intel processors for its MacOS lineup in favor of new custom A-series ARM-based silicon.
Social Media

Tumblr promises it fixed a bug that left user data exposed

A bug on blogging site Tumblr left user data exposed. The company says that once it learned of the flaw, it acted quickly to fix it, adding that it's confident no data linked to its users' accounts was stolen.
Computing

Microsoft patent highlights a potential VR text input system

A new patent awarded to Microsoft could lead to a new typing method for virtual reality and on Xbox consoles. The virtual radial dial puts letters within easy reach of joystick commands and offers predictive typing, too.
Computing

Ryzen shine! AMD’s next CPUs could beat Intel at gaming in 2019

AMD's upcoming Zen 2-based Ryzen 3000 CPUs could offer as much as a 13-percent increase in instruction per clock. With clock speed or core count increases, that could gave them a huge performance boost.
Computing

Samsung Galaxy Book 2 packs Snapdragon 850 into Always Connected Windows 2-in-1

The Samsung Galaxy Book 2 is set to go on sale at the start of November and should be a solid addition the collection of Always Connected Windows laptops. It packs a Snapdragon 850 and a 20-hour battery.