As co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple Inc., Steve Jobs was one of the great technology innovators and influencers of our time. This slideshow pays tribute to Jobs with a visual tour of Apple's technology through the years. Click the images to enlarge them.
Photo courtesy of Matthew Yohe via Wikimedia Commons
[See also: Steve Jobs' legacy will live on in healthcare.]
Originally released in 1977, the Apple I had a simple mainboard and a rudimentary wooden shell. Even its standard 4KB of RAM was impressive for its time, given the size of the machine. Like many early iterations of computing technology, the Apple I was more pioneer than powerhouse.
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It still only had 4KB of RAM, but the Apple II's 8-bit graphical capabilities were a huge jump forward in personal computing. The Steve Wozniak-architected machine had staying power -- its successors in the Apple II series were manufactured until 1993.
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The Apple III, codenamed "Sara," and its cousin, the "Lisa," were critically controversial, generally popular despite high pricetags (as high as $10,000 with peripherals, for some configurations), and in some cases, prone to fatal cooling problems. These computers were many things, to many people, but they weren't quite Macintosh.
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The original Macintosh was Apple's first truly ground-breaking product, and its legendary 1984-inspired Super Bowl television commercial made that known from the start. A graphical user interface and the first version of the Finder application still used by modern Mac OS were among the original Macintosh's major highlights.
This computer was also the last significant achievement the company made before Jobs' 10-year absence from Apple; in 1985, he was fired. Jobs quickly founded NeXT Computer and in 1986 bought the company that would become Pixar. He would later sell NeXT to Apple and Pixar to Disney.
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Jobs returned to Apple when the company bought NeXT in 1996. Macintosh innovation proceeded full-tilt, with models such as the Macintosh Portable, iMac (pictured), Powerbook and clamshell iBook appearing over the decade that followed.
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Computers like the Powermac G5 helped to dispel the notion that Apple only makes machines targeted at low-tech endusers. The G5 was Apple's last major release that featured a non-Intel processor.
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In 2006, Jobs announced Apple's new computers would feature an Intel x86 processor. The technology decision was also one of Jobs' most significant business decisions: Sales of portable Macs skyrocketed in the years after the first wave of Intel-based duo-core Macs debuted.
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The original family of iPods were perceived by many users as little more than a way to listen to hundreds of CDs in a device the size of a deck of cards. But beneath the surface, the original iPod was a powerful computer, the likes of which had never reached the market in such a small, stable unit, with impressive file storage capacity given its minimal profile and heft.
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If the Macintosh was the first great Apple innovation under Steve Jobs' leadership, the iPhone was surely the second. A true marriage of portability and interactivity, the smartphone has spurred personal computing and Internet-based communication to new levels. Healthcare is but one industry that has taken to the iPhone as a communication, management and workflow tool.
[See also: iPhone can diagnose stroke quickly, accurately.]
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The still-young tablet computing format got a shot in the arm when Jobs unveiled the Apple iPad in 2010. Whether it's truly must-have technology or not, the iPad has already been evaluated as a clinical tool. Current Apple CEO Tim Cook said on October 4, 2011, "80 percent of the top hospitals in the U.S. are now testing or piloting the iPad." Much like Apple's early Newton device, the iPad's physical dimensions alone suggest a technological alternative to paper notation.
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Nobody who experienced the last decade of technology achievements will forget the image of Jobs, clad in his trademark black turtleneck, wielding Apple's shiny objet du jour. His legacy is twofold: Technology both tangible and conceptual; and organizational excellence. Few corporations have the brand awareness and positive reputation Apple has, which can be attributed to Jobs' vision and performance standards. His leadership will remain a model and inspiration for organizations of all sizes.
Photo courtesy of Matthew Yohe via Wikimedia Commons. Some information in this slideshow obtained via Wikipedia.