Steve Jobs was born on 24 February 1955 and adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs of Mountain View California.
The young Jobs showed a flair for both technology and initiative from an early age: in 1967, the 12-year-old Jobs called HP co-founder William Hewlett. After a brief conversation, Hewlett offered him work at HP over the summer holidays.
In 1972, Jobs graduated from high school and went off to college – however, he dropped out after just one semester, saying the fees were eating into his parents’ savings.
Between 1974 and 1976, Jobs worked for Atari. During this time, he enlisted Steve Wozniak to design a new circuit board for an Atari game. Although Atari engineers changed this design, a pattern was established whereby the two friends worked together.
On 1 April 1976, Jobs and Wozniak set up Apple Computer. Jobs was 21 and Wozniak 25. The company was based in Jobs’ parents garage in Los Altos, California and funded via $250 000 from Mike Markkula, previously an executive of Intel and Fairchild Semiconductor.
In July 1976, Apple Computer launched its first commercial product, the Apple 1, as a kit that hobbyists would assemble themselves.
The Apple II followed in April 1977, and was to become almost ubiquitous in schools and colleges.
On 12 December 1980, Apple Computer went public and moved into its new headquarters in Cupertino, California.
The Apple Lisa was launched in January 1983. Although it boasted many of the features that would later make the Macintosh a success, it was too expensive and failed to make a commercial impact.
Also in 1983, John Sculley, formerly of Pepsi, joined Apple as its president. That year also saw the launch of the Apple IIe, which continued the Apple II success in the education market.
29 January 1984 was a watershed for Apple and the computer world as a whole, when Steve Jobs unveiled the Macintosh computer. It was the first time a personal computer was seen with a graphical user interface and a mouse. With a price tag of $2 495.oo, it was also a viable competitor to the recently-launched IBM PC.
On 17 September, Jobs resigned from Apple, reportedly over disagreements with Sculley. In the same year, he founded NeXT Computers, which focused on developing computers for the education market. Jobs also bought a small animation company, Pixar, in 1986. This investment would come to fruition with the debut, in 1995, of the full-length animated movie Toy Story.
For the next eight years, Apple continued without Jobs at the helm. In 1987, it launched the Macintosh II which broke with the Apple tradition of a single unit by looking just like any other PC. In 1991, Apple launched its first truly portable computer, the PowerBook and in 1993 debuted the Newton – this handheld device sold 85 000 units before it was upgraded to correct flaws in the handwriting recognition feature.
Meanwhile, Apple was coming under fire from its loyal supporters for introducing too much confusion into its product line, characterised by the January 1993 launch of 19 new computers.
On 20 December 1996, Apple bought NeXT Computer and Jobs returned to Apple in the role of adviser, soon to become the interim CEO.
On 6 May 1998, the company launched the iMac, returning to the “traditional” Mac format and also breaking new ground with the inclusion of a CD-ROM drive instead of the then-ubiquitous floppy drive.
In July 1999, the low-cost laptop computer, the iBook, was launched as the first laptop to include wireless connectivity.
In January 2000, Jobs dropped the “interim” to become Apple’s CEO and that month featured on the cover of Fortune magazine. The year also saw the introduction of the PowerMac G4 Cube.
A couple of iconic events took place in 2001: May saw the opening of the first Apple retail store; and October ushered in the very first iPod.
This was followedin 2007 by the iPhone – which has since sold 17,4-million units – and the iPad in January 2010 – 500 000 units were sold in the first week.
In 2010, Apple overtook Microsoft to become the most valuable technology company in the world and on 9 August 2011 it was, for a brief time during a day of volatile trading, the most valuable company in the world.
On the personal front, Jobs was first treated for cancer in July 2004, with some tumours removed from his pancreas. While he was on sick leave, Tim Cook stood in as interim CEO. In January 2009, Jobs again took a leave of absence for health reasons and in April 2009 received a liver transplant.
In January 2001, he once more took leave of absence, returning briefly to launch the iPad, then stepping down permanently on 24 August 2011, succeeded by Cook.
On 5 October 2011, Steve Jobs died.