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Steve Jobs, Apple Co-Founder, Dies at 56

October 5, 2011
by Mark Hagland
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The computing innovator’s mobile device revolution is currently sweeping healthcare

Steve Jobs, the visionary co-founder of Apple Inc., died of pancreatic cancer on Oct. 5, at the age of 56. Along with Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, Jobs was one of the most famous people in computing worldwide. Among the first entrepreneurs to understand the potential of the mouse-driven graphical user interface, Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976 along with two other students, and went on to create the Macintosh computer, which was launched in 1984, and built Apple into a computer-producing titan (and which is now one of the most valuable companies in the world). Though he left Apple in May 1985 following an internal power struggle, he came back again in 1997, after having founded NeXT Computer and created Pixar Studios after its purchase from Lucasfilm. But it was with his creation of the iPhone, iPod, and iPad, devices that simultaneously satisfied needs and created wants among computing consumers of all types, that Jobs cemented his place in the history of personal and information technology; and it was those very same kinds of personal technology that are currently revolutionizing clinician workflow via mobility in the healthcare industry.

Steve Jobs

In the midst of a several-years-long battle with pancreatic cancer, Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple in August 2011, while remaining chairman of Apple’s board. But despite a liver transplant and intensive chemotherapy, Jobs ultimately lost his battle with cancer.

Jobs was recognized not only for creating wildly popular, well-designed computers and devices, but also for applying to his company’s innovations a deft combination of functionality and user-friendliness.

Perhaps uniquely among inventors and innovators in the computing field, Jobs relied intensively on his own personal preferences and his own instincts. As he told graduates at a 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something,” he added: “your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

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