John Gruber on Steve Jobs:
Jobs’s greatest creation isn’t any Apple product. It is Apple itself.
I’ve heard some people say on Twitter Job’s has easily been the most influential person of the 21st century so far. I would argue that the Apple Corporation has been the most influencing company, a la Ford in the early 20th century. Since Henry Ford get’s most of the credit there, it’s fair to give Jobs the credit here.
Technology moves too fast for any of these first 10 years to matter in the year 2099, but it’s hard to see anyone surpassing jobs in the next 15 years or so. 2001 seems so long ago, but people forget that is the year when the first iPod was announced.
Apple wasn’t the first company to make MP3 players, but they took over the market. So much so that the word ‘iPod’ is literally synonymous with ‘MP3 player’. They essentially created the market for digital music and bridged the gap between Napster and paid content.
Six years later they launched the iPhone and took “smartphones” from niche devices to mainstream. They changed the culture of the USA to an “always connected” era where a person has all the information in the world available with them at all times.
Two years ago they essentially combined their impact of the iPod and iPhone. They again released a product that formally would have been in a niche market, and turned it into the word now synonymous with that product type. Since then, no other company has come close.
Steve Jobs took a dying company, and in less than 15 years turned them into the richest company in the world1. He has turned Apple into a 24/7 rumor cycle of products that constantly create buzz and media attention. They turned product announcements into a combination of a rock concert and the State of the Union Address.
Jobs created the Apple we know today. And even though he is leaving, it’s not as if this is the end. Tim Cook has been with Apple since 1998. Jonathan Ive was there for that first iPod. These guys have been around Steve long enough to learn how he thinks. So the Apple we know and love isn’t going anywhere.
- Based on market capitalization [↩]