The End of an Innovator: Steve Jobs

sarah rohrschneider, reporter

The night of October 5, Steve Jobs, the innovator and co-founder of Apple died from pancreatic cancer.

“I was sitting on my couch on Facebook when I saw all the status updates that Steve Jobs [had] died,” senior Sean Cesare said. “My first thought was ‘No!’”

For many students at Free State, their reaction was the same.

“I was surprised,” sophomore Ginny Nace said.

“I was hanging out when my friend came upstairs and said ‘Steve Jobs is dead,’” senior Hannah Stevens said. “I was like ‘Whoa…Really?’ It seemed too subtle the way she told me, as if it were no big deal. It seemed…sarcastic. It didn’t seem right.”

In California 1976 at age 21, college drop out Jobs and his school friend Steven Wozniak, started Apple in an old garage. Jobs had no training in technological design or hardware engineering. Nevertheless, the two worked together to begin to make a dent in technological history.

The first product they came up with was the computer, the Apple I. Jobs did what he did best at the time which was advertising, while Wozniak created the different parts for the Apple I. The Apple I came disassembled with an instruction manual, and was eventually upgraded to the Apple II.

The Apple II displayed early indications of Jobs’ talent with technological design. Most people in 1977 were used to scientific looking contraptions, but there was something sleeker about the Apple II.

“Much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on,” Jobs said in 2005 at Stanford, looking back at the beginning of his career.

In 1981, Wozniak suffered a car accident, spending months recuperating and never returned fully to working on the company. The task to continue was up to Jobs.

After visiting a research lab in Palo Alto California in 1979, Jobs was inspired by the experimental computers with computer mouses and good graphics, willing to make computers the best they could be for the future.

“The first Apple product [my family] had was a big bulky old Macintosh computer,” senior Jon Fitzgerald said.

Despite a few failures, with the help of a team of young people talented in software and hardware, the Macintosh Computer was released in 1984. This was the first time an affordable computer with a graphical user interface, folders, and icons was ever released.

The first Macintosh advertisement, now found on YouTube, was the clever play on George Orwell’s book 1984. This ad created an image of a new technological era. Though the Macintosh was flawed, it was the beginning of advancement and change.

In 1985, new innovators began to try to take over Apple. They stripped Jobs of his leadership, and took over the company. Frustrated, Jobs resigned from Apple, not returning until 1997.

For most of us, Jobs’ creation of Pixar and his return to Apple is what we grew up with. In 1995, Jobs created Pixar Animation Studios. Toy Story was released shortly thereafter, becoming the year’s top grossing movie.

“I think Pixar has the opportunity to be the next Disney,” Jobs said in 1998. “Not replace Disney, but be the next Disney.”

Upon Jobs’ return to Apple, he ended the feud between Microsoft and Apple. With his slogan “Think Different,” people were once again captivated. In 1998, the new, sleek iMac became the world’s best selling computer.

“I remember my family’s first Apple product was a desktop computer,” Nace said.

Jobs was on a roll. In 2001, the iPod First Generation was created, a moment that some of us remember. As soon as the iPod was released, Apple was not just a computer company anymore, but a consumer-electronic company. Most students remember their first Apple product as being an iPod.

“I owned a red Nano, the very first, really old version of the Nano,” Stevens said. “It donated about 25 percent to people who have AIDS in Africa.”

“My first Apple product was an iPod shuffle,” Cesare said.

“Mine was a classic 20 gigabyte fourth generation iPod,” Fitzgerald said. “It was a U2 edition, so it was black with a red wheel.”

“Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything,” Jobs said.

In 2007, Jobs unveiled the iPhone. In 2010, the iPad was introduced. All Apple products are constantly being improved and released.

“Now, I have two iPods, an iPad and an iMac computer,” Stevens said. “We have definitely lost a great mind that can contribute fresh ideas to the ever changing technological world.”

“It is sad that he died,” freshman Jack Ziegler said. “He helped the world by [not only] inventing but [also] by donating a lot.”

The question for a lot of us is what will become of Apple?

“I think that technology will slow down a lot, just because [Jobs] invented so much,” junior Tesla Khague said.

“People are going to try to live up to his legacy and create things that don’t even matter,” senior Lily Lancaster said.

But junior Aspen McDaniel thinks otherwise.

“I think technological [innovations] will go up,” McDaniel said. “People will be inspired because they will think ‘I’m going to do it for him.’”

Without Jobs the world of technology will be different, but his legacy of achievement will never fade.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work,” Jobs said at Stanford in 2005. “And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”