Steve Jobs: Technological Visionary (1955-2011)

By Patricia Rogler

Can you imagine living in a world without iPhones, iPods, iTunes or iPads? That would be the world we live in if Steve Jobs, the person responsible for creating all of these devices, had never existed. He changed the computer, music, film and wireless communications industries forever and, in doing so, changed the world we live in today.

Early Life

Steve Jobs was born on February 24, 1955, and was given up for adoption at birth. He was an extremely intelligent child who had trouble with formal teaching but, nonetheless, excelled when tested, so much so that his school administrators wanted him to skip two grades. His father, a mechanic and carpenter, taught his son rudimentary electronics by taking apart and rebuilding radios and televisions with him in the family garage. After high school, Jobs enrolled in Reed College, but dropped out after six months, choosing instead to take creative courses for the next 18 months. He eventually took a job with Atari, but in 1976, he started his own company with Steve Wozniak, a computer whiz whom he met through a mutual friend while in high school.

Apple and Beyond 

At age 21, Jobs, along with Wozniak, formed Apple Computer Company selling computers out of his parents' garage. They marketed the world's first successful personal computer. By the age of 25, Jobs was a multimillionaire, and by the age of 30, he was ousted from Apple. He went on to create his own computer company, NeXT Inc., and purchase the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm, which he turned into Pixar Animation Studios. Pixar created such animated classics as Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Monsters, Inc. In 1996, Apple bought NeXT Inc. and brought Jobs back as CEO. In about a year's time, he brought Apple from near bankruptcy to profitability. During his tenure as CEO, he oversaw the development of the iMac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone and the iPad as well the Apple Retail Stores, the iTunes store and the Apps Store. In 2011, Apple became one of the world's most valuable publicly traded companies.

On October 5, 2011, Apple announced that Steve Jobs had passed way at the age of 56. President Obama said in a written statement, "Steve was among the greatest of American innovators — brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it."

Classroom Discussion

  • Which of Steve Jobs' inventions (Mac computer, iPhone, iTunes, iPad, iPod or Pixar) is your favorite and why?
  • In what ways would the world we live in be different without Steve Jobs' inventions?

Photo credit: bloomua/