Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs has died, according to Apple,
which posted an image Wednesday evening of the company's co-founder on its
website with the words "Steve Jobs 1955-2011."
TV news organizations including CNN, Fox News Channel and
CNBC reported late in the 7 p.m. ET hour that Apple confirmed the news. MSNBC
reported the news as Lawrence O'Donnell led off his The Last Word show at 8. CBS News broke into network programming at
7:50 ET. Anchor Scott Pelley said the network was breaking in because "An
American Edison has died."
Jobs had been battling a long illness and recently stepped down from his position at the company. He
was 56 years old.
The Apple website posted the following message on their website:
Apple has lost a visionary and creative
genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have
been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and
an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have
built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.
News that Steve Jobs had died also prompted statements
from a number of people who had known him.
Bob Iger, CEO of the Walt Disney Co., issued this
statement, stressing how Jobs had not only had a major impact on the consumer
electronics industry but on "millions of people" and the culture of the 21st
century, which has been heavily influenced by devices that Apple under Jobs' direction
had brought to market:
"Steve Jobs was a great friend as well as a trusted
advisor. His legacy will extend far beyond the products he created or the
businesses he built. It will be the millions of people he inspired, the lives
he changed, and the culture he defined.
Steve was such an 'original,' with a thoroughly creative,
imaginative mind that defined an era. Despite all he accomplished, it feels
like he was just getting started.
With his passing the world has lost a rare original,
Disney has lost a member of our family, and I have lost a great friend.
Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Laurene and
his children during this difficult time."
Jobs' impact on the TV and movie industry runs deep in
ways that are both apparent and less obvious.
The personal computer revolution that Jobs helped pioneer
as a co-founder of Apple in 1976, would eventually lead to the development of a
number of new screens for the delivery of video, first to computers and later
to Apple's iPod (launched in 2001), Apple's iPhone (launched in 2007) and then
the iPad (launched in 2010).
With the launch of the iPod, Jobs also pushed into
digital distribution, transforming first the music business with the launch of the
iTunes Music Store in 2003, which popularized digital music downloads, and then
with video, when in 2005 Apple announced that the iPod would be able to play
By opening of the App Store in 2008, Apple provided an
outlet for app developers that has since produced billions of app downloads and
made it much easier for users to access video on their smartphones and tablets.
Less obviously, the Apple platform would become firmly
established in the media business, first in print, as it became the dominate
platform for designers and then video. Today Apple's Final Cut Pro software is widely
used in both TV production and in TV newsrooms.
Jobs' early investment in 1986 in The Graphics Group,
eventually led to the creation of Pixar, which played a key role in
revitalizing the animated film business with the release of Toy Story in 1995.
Equally important, Apple devices like the iPhone and the
iPhone are now major tools in the operations of stations. Sales executives and
general managers increasingly use iPads or iPhones to access sales, billing and
In TV news, the iPhone and iPad have both turned average
consumers into citizen journalists and provided reporter and producers with new
tools for shooting video, photos and even editing material.
On a design level, Jobs also had a deep impact on both
design and user interfaces. The simple, elegant, intuitive design of Apple
products was consistently coupled with equally compelling user interfaces which
made it easy and intuitive for consumers to access content.
Those designs remain the standard by which many apps and
digital products will be judged for years to come and they highlighted an often
forgotten, but crucial aspect of digital distribution: Making it easy for
consumers to legally buy and access content will also make it easier for
companies to build a business around digital distribution.
Melissa Grego contributed to this story.