How Steve Jobs Changed The World
Steve Jobs will be remembered for many things, not the least of which are the incredible products he helped create, but his legacy also extends to the lasting impact he has had on gaming, technology, and entertainment.
From developing the Apple II to founding Pixar and inventing the iPod, we remember Steve Jobs' biggest contributions to the industries we love.
Reshaping Mobile Gaming
While even some of the earliest Macintosh computers had been used for gaming and he worked as a technician for Atari, Jobs' biggest contribution to the video games industry came only recently with the introduction of iOS, the company's mobile operating system.
Steve Jobs is credited as one of the inventors of the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and iOS software, and through his work, he helped create the most successful mobile gaming platform on the market. With over 250 million devices sold, 18 billion downloads served, and over 500,000 available apps released since it was first introduced in 2007, iOS is also the fastest growing.
While Jobs' may not have anticipated that iOS would come to become such a pervasive gaming platform, it has nevertheless changed the mobile gaming industry forever.
Prior to its introduction, the handheld gaming market was ruled by two companies – Sony and Nintendo – flash forward to today, with Apple selling more iOS devices than both companies combined.
But the impact of iOS extends well beyond units sold and market share; it can also be attributed for ushering in a new era of game design, touch-enabled control schemes, hardware functionality, and digital delivery methods.
Most importantly, iOS has made games more accessible to a much wider array of people than ever before. With iTunes App Store built right into the OS, thousands of games are just a quick download away, and with its simple, touch and motion-enabled control system, it's easy for anyone from a small child to a grandparent to play.
Without Steve Jobs, the mobile gaming industry as we know it would not exist.
Personal Computing and Putting Design First
Before the iPod there was the Macintosh, the first commercially available personal computer to utilize a graphical user interface, which was released in 1984. Though hardly his own creations, Jobs' is largely responsible for popularizing the concepts of a desktop interface and mouse controls. A year later, Microsoft released Windows, its own GUI-based OS, which would come to be the subject of a fierce legal battle between the two companies, and the most popular PC operating system in the world.
That same year, Steve Jobs was ousted as CEO of Apple. He went on to create NeXT Computer in 1996, which innovated the concept of multimedia email, allowing users to embed and transfer audio, images, and video in messages.
After Apple acquired NeXT Computer, Jobs' returned as CEO in 1997, where he remained until his resignation in August of this year.
Shortly after his return, Jobs' hired Jonathan Ive, who helmed the industrial design team that created some of the most iconic designs in tech history.
Under Jobs' direction, Apple placed considerable emphasis on design, making products more marketable to mainstream audiences. The first product in this bold new initiative was the iMac G3, which made its debut in 1998 and featured an all-in-one CRT monitor design with translucent multicolored casing.
With a new target audience, Apple continued to develop sleek, stylish computers and a powerful new operating system, Mac OS X, which was marked by its media-rich applications and user friendliness.
While the Mac platform still only holds a small market share today, it has grown steadily with the introduction of new, more cost-effective products. More recently, the company has pioneered the use of aluminum unibody enclosures in both its notebooks and desktops.
Leading the Digital Revolution
When it comes to digital media, no products have been more influential than the iPod and the iTunes, and Steve Jobs lead the development of both.
Once again, neither concept was new, but Jobs' was largely responsible for making them popular. With the introduction of the iPod in 2001, Apple sparked a digital revolution, which allowed consumers to carry thousands of songs on a single small device in their pocket.
The iPod was smashing success, and quickly became a pillar of Apple's product lineup.
Originally iTunes allowed users only to rip music from CDs and manage their digital library, but in 2003, Apple debuted the iTunes Store, which gave users the ability to download single tracks and full albums digitally, and most importantly, legally.
The iTunes Store became the first digital service to find commercial success, having sold 100 million songs within a year.
Today, over 10 billion songs have been downloaded, and the service has expanded to include television shows, movies, digital books, and apps for iOS devices. The service remains the largest digital store in the world.
Taking Computing Mobile
Just like his work with first Macintosh, Jobs' is also credited for leading development of the iPhone, which was the first smartphone to provide a rich graphical interface, touchscreen controls, desktop-quality mobile web browsing and email access, and media support in one compact handset.
Originally, functionality for the iPhone was limited to just the core features of Apple's mobile OS, but in 2008 Apple introduced the App Store, which did for small, bite-sized apps what iTunes had done for music.
He then helped invent the iPod touch, which ran the same OS as the iPhone, but opened up the platform to consumers outside of smartphone users.
One of Jobs' final projects as CEO, however, was the iPad, which added yet another form factor to the iOS platform, and remains the most successful tablet product to-date. Not only has the iPad become one of Apple's most popular product lines, but it reignited interest in a form factor that had existed for decades but failed to make any widespread impact.
Though many competing products have been developed and release to overtake the iPad, it still commands the dominant marketshare.
Without Steve Jobs, the iPad and the products it inspired would have never existed.
Reanimating the Film Industry
Before returning to Apple, Steve Jobs acquired The Graphics Group, a division of LucasFilm, which later was renamed Pixar.
At the time, Pixar developed high-end computers for digital imaging, serving clients like Disney. However, as sales plummeted, Pixar stayed afloat with 3D animation services, spearheaded by John Lasseter. Eventually, Jobs' cut the hardware division entirely and assisted Lasseter in further development in animation for commercials.
Eventually, Disney contracted Pixar to produce three animated films. The first film Pixar developed was Toy Story, which Jobs executive produced.
Jobs eventually sold the company to Walt Disney Pictures for an all-stock transaction worth $7.4 billion, making him the largest single shareholder and a member of the board of directors. He then helped oversee operations between Disney and Pixar before his return to Apple.