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Apple’s Steve Jobs, Dead at 56

By Clive Young. Apple co-founder and longtime CEO Steve Jobs died Wednesday, after a long fight against pancreatic cancer. He was 56.

The home page of pays tribute to company founder Steve Jobs. Photo: Apple.
By Clive Young.

New York (October 6, 2011)—Apple co-founder and longtime CEO Steve Jobs died Wednesday, after a long fight against pancreatic cancer. He was 56.

The electronics company under Jobs’ leadership has had a strong impact on the music business, through products that forever changed how music is consumed. With a penchant for both simplicity and high design, Jobs played an integral role in creating now iconic iOS products—the iPod, iPhone and iPad—and arguably the first successful solution for paid downloadable music, iTunes. While his company is best-known for its mainstream consumer goods, Apple has moved into comparative niche efforts as well in recent years, including recording software. Under Jobs, Apple acquired Emagic in 2002 for its Logic DAW—a move that led to the widely used Apple Logic Pro and Logic Express, and even a basic recording program for the masses, Garageband, that is bundled with every new Mac.

Known for his outspoken yet secretive management style, Jobs turned the computer company started in a California garage during the 1970s into one of the most respected electronics brands in the world today. As one of the leading lights of the initial personal computer revolution, Jobs inadvertently paved the way for much of today’s DAW-based recording landscape when he spearheaded the creation of the Apple Macintosh computer, introduced in 1984, which brought such concepts as a mouse and GUI-based OS to the mainstream.

Only a year after the Macintosh’s introduction, Jobs was forced out of Apple in 1985 by the company’s board of directors, but returned in 1996 and within a year was named interim CEO in a last-ditch effort to rescue the troubled computer manufacturer from the brink of disaster. Jobs quickly streamlined the number of products offered, and implemented an extreme focus on design and end-user experience—traits that earmarked the first major product released after his return, the candy-colored, gumdrop-shaped iMac.

Jobs built upon that success with a string of hit products over the next decade, each time improving Apple’s fortunes to the point where this past summer, Apple could claim more cash reserves than the U.S. treasury. That windfall was made on the backs of more than 275 million iPods, 100 million iPhones and 25 million iPads sold worldwide, according to CNN. Each of those products, and many more from Apple, bore the imprint of Jobs’ direct input on their design and capabilities. Not content to merely oversee others’ work, Jobs was often intimately hands-on in the creation of his company’s products, a trait that resulted in his name appearing on 313 patents issued to Apple for items ranging from computers to staircases to even speaker units.

In recent years, Jobs repeated staved off cancer and had taken three medical leaves of absence, the most recent starting this past January. In August, he officially stepped down from the CEO position, citing that he could “no longer meet [his] duties and expectations.” Taking on his position was Tim Cook, who on Tuesday debuted the iPhone 4s—the company’s first major product release since Jobs’ resignation.

In a statement, Cook commemorated his predecessor, remarking, “Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. 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.”

For more on Steve Jobs’ impact on recording and a look at an inspirational graduation speech he gave in 2005, see Pro Sound News blogger David Schober’s recent post,Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.