Steve Jobs packed an almost impossible number of innovations into a 35-year career. While we've been forced to leave out some as a result, here are 9 ways that Jobs changed computing forever -- and a glimpse at what things may have looked like had he never come along.
Before: Personal Computer
1974's MITS Altair 8800 was the personal computer that started it all for a generation of techies. It was hardly the most accessible machine to ever come out of a garage, however.
After: Personal Computer
The Apple II Plus, on the other hand (seen here with the Disk II and Monitor ///) was a machine that not only outperformed many of its rivals at the time, but felt approachable to an outsider.
Before: Desktop Publishing
How an ad, magazine, or other document was put together in the 1970s. Get ready with the scissors, glue and marker pens.
Photo: Hemmings Daily
After: Desktop Publishing
The combo of PageMaker and Apple's 1985 LaserWriter printer gave people the ability to design, lay out, edit and print professional-looking pages from the comfort of their own home.
Before: User Interface
Not only did interfaces like the MS-DOS feel cold and uninviting to newcomers, they essentially forced users to adapt to the computer's way of doing things.
After: User Interface
The Mac, on the other hand, empowered the user with the sovereignty to carry out tasks as they wanted to. The Mac may not have been the very first computer to feature a Graphical User Interface, but it was the first one most people saw. And it did it better than anyone else.
After: Digital Music Players
The iPod really is the little device that could. It turned around Apple's fortunes, became one of its most iconic tech designs ever, and was transformed into a byword for any new technology that was (or hoped to be) innovative, stylish and ubiquitous. It sounded great, too.
Photo: Chris Harrison/Wikipedia
Before: Digital Music Players
Before Steve Jobs, digital music players were good ideas in theory, bad ideas in practice; the kind of expensive gift you used once then put away to gather dust. This blobby model was the Creative NOMAD Jukebox.
Before: Online Music Stores
Okay, so as a free way to download music Napster wasn't exactly a store, but it was certainly what most people considered the online music experience to be until iTunes came along.
After: Online Music Stores
Steve Jobs was convinced he could get young people to pay for their music if only he could provide an experience that was enjoyable and convenient enough for them. iTunes proved that he could. Even before the iPod came along, the first version of iTunes received a massive 275,000 downloads from Mac users in its first week.
Steve Jobs referred to these devices as the "usual suspects." Their designs may have remained suspect, but they certainly weren't so usual after the iPhone came along.
The moment the iPhone was unveiled, it was clear to most people that this is how all smartphones would look and work one day.
Before: Ultraportable Laptops
Devices light the Sony TX and TZ series of laptops were the thinnest notebooks money could buy until the MacBook Air came along.
Photo: Vaio VGN-TX2
After: Ultraportable Laptops
The MacBook Air quickly snatched away the title of world's thinnest notebook. Tapering down to an astonishing 0.16" in its first version, the MacBook Air remains one of the most beautiful devices Apple has ever created. Unlike most ultraportable laptops, it came with a full-sized keyboard, too.
Before: Consumerization of High Tech
This is what a typical desktop computer looked like when Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997: a time when more people were starting to use computers, but very few seemed to think about just how bad they looked.
After: Consumerization of High Tech
The colorful, blobby iMac changed all of that -- with a computer that put style right up front. Apple's aesthetic may have changed since the toyetic iMac first burst onto the scene, but this was Apple's first computer which ever looked good enough to sit comfortably in a design museum.
There were tablets -- like this Microsoft Tablet PC -- before the iPad, but few computer users bought them or took the idea seriously.
Photo: Janto Dreijer/Wikipedia
Launched in April 2010, the iPad took an idea Jobs had heard about from computer pioneer Alan Kay and turned it into the kind of mass-market product no one else had been able to.
Apple’s most-anticipated — and likely most-eventful — product introduction since the iPad is set for later this morning. It will undoubtedly be Tim Cook’s biggest moment yet as Apple’s CEO, with the company reportedly ready to unveil new products from what has been described as its most exciting product pipeline in a quarter century.
Anticipation among the Apple faithful couldn’t be any higher. Endless speculation and massive expectations about finally laying eyes on the long-awaited iWatch got us thinking about other memorable announcements from Apple’s 37-year history.
While you wait for this morning’s 10 a.m. liveblog from Apple’s big event, relive some of Cupertino’s past glories. Here are our picks for the 10 biggest Apple announcements of all time.
Apple's latest mystery is its biggest yet. Literally.
CUPERTINO, California -- What's inside the mystery building Apple is fabricating for its big September 9 event? The giant construction project is almost as big of an enigma as what the iWatch will actually look like or do.
The boxy structure, which sprang up behind the Flint Center for the Performing Arts here on the De Anza College campus, looks like a cross between an igloo and a winning confection on Cake Wars. Naturally, the enormous two-to-three story building sparked intense curiosity among the Apple faithful when pictures emerged Thursday, so we had to go take a look for ourselves.
Will it hold something as mundane as a demo area where tech journalists can fondle Apple's latest, greatest gear? Does it contain a full-size home of the future to show off amazing HomeKit implementations? Will it house a runway for an Apple wearables fashion show or a giant stage for a post-announcement Dr. Dre concert?
Whatever it holds, it is truly a massive undertaking. It's surrounded by green fences and countless security guards. We, like you, can't wait for Apple's big reveal — here's what we saw walking around the outskirts of the secretive project Thursday afternoon.
Something big is brewing
The temporary venue where Apple will hold its September 9 press event sits directly outside the 2,405-seat Flint Center, which is notable for its role in Apple history: The company has revealed some of its most important devices in the theater, which is tucked away on a quiet community college campus just a couple miles away from Apple HQ.
"There have only been two milestone products in our industry: the Apple II in 1977 and the IBM PC in 1981," Jobs said at the Flint Center in 1984. "Today, one year after Lisa, we are introducing the third industry milestone product: Macintosh."
Hook you up
Apple is definitely laying the groundwork for something big on September 9: Workers are running a fair amount of power from generators outside the fence that surrounds the construction site, which is set up with table saws and other tools of the building trades.
Behind the fencing and hidden from prying eyes, the workers are building something on the site. The huge, pristine structure also features a stage that could host a concert or iWatch fitness demonstration.
No one can fill a big white box quite like Apple. We can imagine the iDevice of our dreams jumping out of this one: Will it be the iPhone 6? Or how about the long-awaited iWatch? Perhaps it will be something totally new that the rumor mill hasn't even dreamed up yet.
Most of the trucks on campus appeared to be generic white rentals, but we spotted one with a sign indicating it was owned by Devcon Construction. Was the company hired to build this tantalizing structure for Apple? Devcon is known around Silicon Valley for building sleek, modern, high-tech campuses for companies including Adobe, Cisco and Yahoo!
Cult of Mac contacted Devcon's vice president of construction but did not receive a reply by press time. Workers on the super-secret Apple project know the secrecy drill, though, and were very tight-lipped about the goings-on at the construction site. Security was tight.
All photos: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac. Additional reporting by Nicole Martinelli.
Steve Jobs has an enormous reputation for eking out every last drop of performance from his talented employees, but even in the early days of Apple, that maniacal drive for success came with the huge trade-off of driving away his closest friends that built the Macintosh with him.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak gave a brief interview with the Milwaukee Business Journal claiming his relationship with Jobs has been portrayed inaccurately by the media. The Apple co-founders have always been friends and Woz says the two never had an argument, but Woz can’t say the same for the other top engineers at Apple.
From sledgehammer-tossing freedom fighters to misunderstood teenagers at Christmas, Apple’s TV commercials have hit us with some truly iconic imagery over the years. But when a company has been around since the 1970s, it’s no great surprise that a select few ads would slip our collective memory.
After scouring through hundreds of big-time commercials and tiny TV spots that promoted Cupertino’s products over the years, here are our picks for the Apple advertisements that time forgot. All of them are worthy of a second look — and almost all of them for the right reasons.