Steven P. Jobs was born on Feb. 24, 1955, into an era of rotary phones and room-sized computers. He died on Oct. 5, 2011, having contributed perhaps more than any other person to forging an age of personal computers, slick electronic tablets, and slender mobile phones with a thousand times more computing power than the old mainframes. Jobs was 56 when he died, of complications from pancreatic cancer. He was surrounded by friends and family, including his wife, Laurene, and their children.
Jobs was a total original. He was somehow able to blend iconoclasm, rock-and-roll, and chic industrial design with the nerd sciences, as well as the unseemly profit motive of the corporation. He made that contrary combination seem totally legitimate. His iconic products—iMac, iPod, iPhone, and iPad—literally changed the world, making people more connected in the virtual world and less so in the physical one. He had a knack for whipping customers and the media into frenzies of anticipation and adulation, and he often elevated the business of Apple with a touch of the poetic. “If the hardware is the brain and the sinew of our products, the software is their soul,” was one of the last things he said publicly, at an Apple event on June 6.