Steve Jobs – from calligrapher to CEO

With over 230 technology patents and applications to his name, he’s been busy. Here are the defining moments of his career

1972: Dropout

Dropping out of Reed College led Steve to take a calligraphy class, which gave him the idea to use multiple type fonts, and proportionally spaced formats – which was to become commonplace in computers.

1976: Apple

With co-founder Steve Wozniak and Mike Markkula, Steve Jobs started selling the first commercially successful personal computer in the form of the Apple II series. Did it double as a sledge?

1984: Macintosh

The mighty Macintosh computer was launched with the first personal graphical user interface, which included a mouse – cutting-edge stuff.

1985: Sacked

This is the year Steve was fired from Apple. That didn't even slow him as that same year he founded NeXT Computer, which featured a built-in Ethernet port and NeXTMail that incorporated images and audio in emails to make them useable by the mainstream – once they got internet access that is.

1986: Pixar

Jobs knows how to spot a deal and in this year snapped up Pixar (then called The Graphics Group) from Lucasfilm for a tidy US$10 million. Disney bought Pixar in 2007 for US$7.4 billion.

1996: CEO

Money kept rolling in as NeXT Computer was bought by Apple for US$429 million and along with it went Steve who became interim CEO of Apple in 1997. This put him back in the throne which became his full-time in 2000.

1998: Cleaner

Jobs rightly killed off a few failing projects including Newton (PDA), Cyberdog (internet suite), and OpenDoc (for multi-format documents). Thanks to his pruning, the current kit we know and love is in our pockets and on our desks today.

1998: iMac

This is when the iMac was introduced along with its revolutionary USB port and all-in-one body available in various colours. The lack of floppy drive was a controversial decision that boosted external ZIP drive popularity for a bit, but ultimately gave way to USB memory sticks.

2001: iPod

The iPod was introduced to do away with disc-loading music players and put everyone’s music in one place – iTunes. In the wake of Napster falling that was a very clever move from Steve.

2002: OS

Steve’s old OS – NeXTSTEP – from his startup company, was developed into a new form. This was the birth of Mac OS X.

2006: MacBook

A small, portable and powerful laptop that worked well, was the plan. MacBook launched and Starbucks has been crammed full of the things ever since.

2007: iPhone

The mighty iPhone was unveiled, but was initially pricey and slow to catch on. Then the insane demand for apps sparked a fire of popularity that's still burning as Apple ships about 20 million handsets in three months.

2010: iPad

It pioneered the middle ground between laptops and smartphones and is still doing so. The iPad got off to a rocky start, and still isn’t really needed by many, but it’s just so pretty that the iPad 2 is still the go-to tablet the world over.


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