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Steve Jobs Leaves Legacy of Innovation and Insight

October 20, 2011

AppleAs co-founder and longtime CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs introduced the world to a dizzying array of groundbreaking and influential technology products. Among them, the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. And just like the infamous "  " that prefaces many of these revolutionary computing and communication devices, they represent more than just a piece of hardware, they define the individual freedom that thoughtfully-produced technology can afford our lives.

It makes sense that Steve Jobs' untimely passing yesterday evening set off a worldwide remembrance and conversation of the man's work and legacy. From forming Apple Computer with high school friend Steve Wozniak in 1976 (whom some of you will recall from this year's keynote speech at the BICSI Winter Conference in January), launching the first Macintosh computer in 1984 around an iconic Super Bowl TV commercial, to re-joining Apple in 1997 after a years-long hiatus to appoint himself "iCEO" and introduce the popular candy-colored, all-in-one iMac desktop in 1998 - the bar had already been set incredibly high - and that's just pre-21st century!

In 2001, both the revolutionary listening device, iPod, and its companion program, iTunes, hit the market. It marked the beginning of a meteoric rise for Apple, as people the world over ditched clunky boom-box tape-decks and portable CD players in favor of the impossibly small and bright-white click wheel of Apple's iPod (not to mention those ubiquitous tiny white ear buds - seen on a passenger plane near you).

In the years following its launch, the iPod changed the landscape of the music business itself - driving consumers to purchase individual mp3 files at a rate far surpassing physical disc sales and ushering in the era of the web download. With each new version, the capacity to hold more and more data increased as the size of the device continued to shrink. 8GB, 16GB, 60GB, 160GB! In no simpler terms, it was as if Jobs and the Apple team brought a lifetime's worth of music and media to your pocket - a bite-sized, gigabyte-sized data center of jazz, blues, rock n' roll, podcasts, photos and more.

All the while, Jobs and Apple continued to refine and perfect new operating systems, release new iMacs, introduce slimmer and faster laptops, and still find time to usher moviegoers into a new age of digital animation at Pixar studios, which Disney purchased for $7.4 billion in 2006, making Jobs' Disney's largest shareholder. With newfound wealth, Jobs moved on to his next project, the iPhone.

Released in 2007, the iPhone wowed crowds and critics alike with impeccable style and an impossibly easy-to-use interface, making it the first widely accepted and revered touchscreen smartphone. Only a few years later, the iPhone's touchscreen roots gave rise to another, larger Apple hand-held device, the iPad. This, Jobs claimed, would signal a new era of home computing - one that does away with the restrictive experience of sitting at a desktop and clicking a mouse (yet another computing innovation that Jobs and Apple introduced way back when).

And most recently, and in ways that most closely tie Apple to our own world of high-volume data infrastructure storage, the recent introduction of iCloud, marking the next major shift in computing and communication.

As Apple gets set to carry on without Jobs, his influence on the company, and the technology world at large, lives on. The devices which connect us grow more powerful and complex. The necessity to manage the new data these devices create rises too.

Steve Jobs during WWDC 2011, unveiling iDataCenterIn true Steve Jobs fashion, he appeared earlier this year (seen above in this photo, courtesy of Macworld.com, in his trademark black turtleneck, jeans and sneakers) to talk about Apple's next "big" thing - the iDataCenter, located in rural North Carolina.

It's only fitting that so much of the digital world Jobs helped create will make its new home in the servers, racks and cabinets of what's sure to be a revolutionary space in its own right - something tells us Jobs would have had it no other way. Jeff Cihocki, eContent Specialist 

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