Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Steve Jobs: The best of the obits

October 6, 2011: 9:55 AM ET

A few gems among the flood of tributes

Source: Apple Inc.

If you have time for only one story about the life and death of Steve Jobs, read Steve Levy's 5,000-word tribute in Wired.com.

Levy, who covered Apple (AAPL) for MacWorld and Newsweek for most of his long career, has mined his notebooks of three decades of quotes and anecdotes and insights into what made Jobs tick. He writes:

If Jobs were not so talented, if he were not so visionary, if he were not so canny in determining where others had failed in producing great products and what was necessary to succeed, his pushiness and imperiousness would have made him a figure of mockery.

But Steve Jobs was that talented, visionary and determined. He combined an innate understanding of technology with an almost supernatural sense of what customers would respond to. His conviction that design should be central to his products not only produced successes in the marketplace but elevated design in general, not just in consumer electronics but everything that aspires to the high end.

Below: A few gems from other notable remembrances:

  • John Markoff's in the New York Times. "I don't wear the right kind of pants to run this company," Jobs told a small gathering of Apple employees before he left in 1985.
  • Walt Mossberg for AllThingsD, describing the private previews of new products Jobs gave him over the years: "We'd meet in a giant boardroom, with just a few of his aides present, and he'd insist — even in private — on covering the new gadgets with cloths and then uncovering them like the showman he was, a gleam in his eye and passion in his voice."
  • Daring Fireball's John Gruber, on the last time he saw Jobs:After the WWDC keynote four months ago, I saw Steve, up close.He looked old. Not old in a way that could be measured in years or even decades, but impossibly old. Not tired, but weary; not ill or unwell, but rather, somehow, ancient. But not his eyes. His eyes were young and bright, their weapons-grade intensity intact. His sweater was well-worn, his jeans frayed at the cuffs.

    But the thing that struck me were his shoes, those famous gray New Balance 993s. They too were well-worn. But also this: fresh bright green grass stains all over the heels...

    Late last night, long hours after the news broke that he was gone, my thoughts returned to those grass stains on his shoes back in June. I realize only now why they caught my eye. Those grass stained sneakers were the product of limited time, well spent. And so the story I've told myself is this:

    I like to think that in the run-up to his final keynote, Steve made time for a long, peaceful walk. Somewhere beautiful, where there are no footpaths and the grass grows thick. Hand-in-hand with his wife and family, the sun warm on their backs, smiles on their faces, love in their hearts, at peace with their fate.

  • Former Gizmodo editor Brian Lam, describing the call he got from Apple headquarters after his site published photos of a prototype iPhone 4:

"Hi, this is Steve. I really want my phone back."

He wasn't demanding. He was asking. And he was charming and he was funny. I was half-naked, just getting back from surfing, but I managed to keep my shit together.

"I appreciate you had your fun with our phone and I'm not mad at you, I'm mad at the sales guy who lost it. But we need the phone back because we can't let it fall into the wrong hands."

I thought, maybe its already in the wrong hands?

He continued, "There are two ways we can do this. I can send someone to pick up the phone–"

Me: "I don't have it"

"–But you know someone who does … or we can send someone with legal papers, and I don't want to do that."

He was giving us an easy way out.

I told him I had to talk to my dudes. Before he hung up, he asked me, "What do you think of it?"

I said, "It's beautiful."

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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