While the news was not entirely unexpected given the return of his health issues and his recent retirement from Apple, it’s still sad to report that Steve Jobs, the man who helped bring the world Pixar, the iPod, iTunes and the iPad has died at the age of 56.
In a career that was marked by a roller coaster of staggering falls and ambitious rises, Jobs influenced everything from personal computing to digital filmmaking, reshaping the way we buy music and driving the creation of iconic products.
Jobs introduced his first machine, the Apple II (co-created with Steve Wozniak) in 1977 and went on to become a multimillionaire who ran Apple until he was ousted in 1985.
But that very year, he created a new company called NeXT Computer and, in 1986, bought the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm for $10 million at a time when it was threatened with closure. Spearheaded by Jobs, Alvy Ray Smith, Ed Catmull and an animator named John Lasseter, the new business – renamed Pixar by Smith – would go on to revolutionise animated filmmaking and create one of the most consistently successful studios of all time. Brad Bird, speaking in 2007, said of the triumvirate, "All three Pixar founders are smart people who understand the creative process better than anyone. To have one of those guys would be amazing; to have three of them in the same company is a freak of nature. It should be respected in the same way as the Grand Canyon: it happened, nobody knows how it happened, but you've got to be humbled by it."
In 1996, Jobs found a way back on to Apple’s board, and in 2000 became the company’s full time CEO once more. It was from that point he enjoyed his biggest run of success with Apple’s hugely influential line of music players, personal computers, phones and, more recently, tablet devices.
While he also made some enemies along the way, Jobs has been hailed as a talented business brain allied to a driven imaginative soul. "Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being,” reads the statement on Apple’s home page. “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."
After announcing that he was resigning from the position of CEO on August 24, Jobs died peacefully on October 5 surrounded by his family.
Final word, then to another man known for having an impact on the cinema – Steven Spielberg, who said the following to Entertainment Weekly: “Steve Jobs was the greatest inventor since Thomas Edison. He put the world at our fingertips.”