One Year Ago, Steve Jobs Passed Away

I have to admit, I’m not a big Apple fan. Sure, I appreciate the appeal of their products; the usability and simplicity of their gadgets is probably unmatched by any other company. They are the most valued company in the entire world, so their very status means people—lots of people—pay attention to them.

But my view of the company isn’t all rosy. I find their business practices and labor issues questionable at the least. I don’t like the fact that their products set them back a few hundred dollars to produce yet cost three to four times as much for the consumer. I also really, really hate not having a right-click button on my mouse (is Apple still doing that?).

However, to focus on these negative things does not give credit where credit is due. Steve Jobs, the enigmatic founder of Apple, really did something special with the company. It’s hard to believe that today marks one year since Steve Jobs passed away while fighting pancreatic cancer.

Jobs’ Legacy

There are going to be countless articles and blog posts written about Steve Jobs today, each with its own different bit of perspective. As of this writing, there have been hundreds of posts written to commemorate Jobs’ death, and some are better contemplated than others.

Mat Honan, at Wired has written a wonderful piece about Steve Jobs for today. One of the most striking statements he makes, and one that I wholeheartedly agree with, is: “Jobs has joined the pantheon of greats who advanced science and industry and society itself—a modern-day Tesla but appreciated in his own lifetime.”

At first I thought, “Nah, he’s not that important.” But I think I’m wrong. Jobs had a profound ability to focus on his goals and to turn his focus, vision, and determination into products that people love. He insisted on creating a piece of technology that was neither dry nor boring. He refused to separate the arts and humanities from technology. Apple themselves recognize this, and have used the quote in a wonderful tribute video on Apple’s website. Jobs’ work helped spearhead the push into the modern, connected, mobile and bustling society we all live in and benefit from today. It’s that simple.

Apple’s Future without Steve Jobs

When you get on top, it’s a lot harder to stay on top than it is to catch up and beat the guy on top. Although, in Apple’s case, it might not matter what position they are in; beating the competition seems to be what they do, no matter if they are an underdog or top dog. An article on CNet today reminds us that after an entire year since Jobs’ passing, “Apple is set to close out its most profitable year ever. Its stock, [is] now up 65 percent for the year.”

That sort of success is rare. How they’ve operated in the last few years, however, is reinventing their current line-up year after year. But Apple might not be able to operate that way for too much longer. Cnet also writes, this “kind of complacency isn’t how Jobs took his company back from the brink in the late ’90s.” No, it certainly isn’t. Jobs was behind everything that has pushed Apple to its number one spot: the iPod, the MacBooks, the iPhone, and the iPad.

Apple Likely to Continue on its Path of Success

Steve Jobs spent his life building Apple and creating the environment for it to be successful. It takes a lot more than one man passing away to remove that. I think Apple is going to do fine as long as it sticks to the principles and beliefs of its founder. If it starts to fade away from those, I can see Apple getting lazy and making more mistakes. Hopefully their maps fiasco is a reminder that they have to be ever vigilant. Their CEO, Tim Cook, already owned up to the mistake, which is a good sign for Apple.

Whether Apple succeeds or not, Steve Jobs left his mark on our society and on many individuals. He had his share of problems, and many people criticize him for certain aspects of his personality, but no genius is ever a saint. Jobs really does deserve to be up there in the “pantheon of greats.” It’s hard to say when we will see another entrepreneur of his caliber, but when we do, one thing is certain: society will be forever changed.

What do you think about Steve Jobs’ legacy? Do you think Apple will continue to succeed? Let us know in the comments.

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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