Inventor, Innovator, Genius – Steve Jobs’ Legacy

Steve Jobs; Photo by Albert Watson
Photo by Albert Watson

Steve Jobs changed forever the way the world views, and interacts with, technology.

Jobs passed away last week, at the age of 56, from cancer.

Jobs helped to invent and market many products including the Macintosh computer, the iPhone, the iPod and the iPad. Along with Steve Wozniak, he founded computer company Apple.

It may be difficult for young people, who may have never known computers and phones before Steve Jobs changed them, to understand the massive impact he made.

A 1984 video of Jobs unveiling a brand-new product called the Macintosh computer, gives some idea.

To us today, the technology seems horribly outdated, clunky and… can you believe it? the images on the tiny computer screen aren’t even in colour!

But listen to the audience in the video as Jobs walks over to a small bag and takes the computer out. It has a handle! It’s small enough to carry! It has graphics, not just text! The audience gasps, cheers and claps because no one has ever seen anything like it.

Until the Macintosh, computers were enormous and in order to use them you usually had to have extensive training. Very powerful computers, for instance, in large companies, were mounted in special computer rooms. Computer technicians would walk up and down the aisles of blinking lights and wires, flipping switches and fiddling with dials.

With the Macintosh computer, Jobs put extensive computing power into the hands of the everyday person.

Jobs created much more than the Macintosh. He created technology from the viewpoint of the user. The iPhone cell phone, for instance, houses as much computing power as the original computers NASA used to send humans to the moon — and yet it fits in the palm of the hand and is simple to use.

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates 2007; Image by Joi Ito
Steve Jobs and rival Bill Gates (owner, Microsoft) in 2007; Image by Joi Ito

Because of his original way of looking at things, his willingness to experiment and the way he brought new ideas to his products, Jobs is seen as a type of leonardo DaVinci or Thomas Edison – a genius inventor in terms of technology and design.

“His life changed our life,” technology guru Xeni Jardin told reporter Rachel Maddow. “His vision of technology changed the world.”

In 2005 Jobs told the graduating class of Stanford University that “death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change-agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” Then he looked at the young graduates in front of him and reminded them that, “Right now, the ‘new’ is you.”

Jobs is survived by his wife and four children.

Related Video Links

Steve Jobs unveils the Apple Macintosh, 1984. (5:11)

Rachel Maddow video commentary on Jobs’ genius, including an interview with’s Xeni Jardin. (17:59, but worth watching; Xeni Jardin at 10:23)

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford University commencement address. (15:05)

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
When computers were first invented, most people probably couldn’t have imagined inventions such as the laptop, iPhone, iPad and iPod.
How do you think technology will be different in 5 years? 10 years? 50 years? 100 years? How do you think this technology will change how we live?

Reading Prompt
Watch the first video link which shows Steve Jobs explaining the Apple Macintosh computer. (Note: Always get an adult’s permission before viewing any video on the Internet.)
How does this video help you understand what you are reading?

Explain, initially with support and direction, how their skills in listening, speaking, writing, viewing, and representing help them make sense of what they read (OME, Reading: 4.2).

Junior and Intermediate
Explain, in conversations with peers and/or the teacher or in a reader’s notebook, how their skills in listening, speaking, writing, viewing, and representing help them make sense of what they read (OME, Reading: 4.2).

Grammar Feature: Different kinds of sentences
Different kinds of sentences are written in this article.  Declarative sentences make a statement and end with a period.  Interrogative sentences ask questions and end with a question mark.  Exclamatory sentences express a strong feeling or emotion and they end with an exclamation mark.
Get red, orange and yellow pencil crayons.  Underline declarative sentences in red, interrogative sentences in orange and exclamatory sentences in yellow.  Which type of sentence is written the most?  Why do you think this is the case?