His death at a relatively young age has further underlined Steve Jobs as an Apple cult figure.
Reaction from the general public to the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs on Wednesday, from pancreatic cancer, was akin to that normally reserved for a pop star or movie star. Social networking sites Twitter and Facebook were inundated with tributes, and flowers were also laid at Apple offices around the world.
Steve Jobs, though, was not a figure who many people knew intimately, or who would talk publicly about his family life. This mystique helped push forward Steve Jobs as an Apple cult figure even further. Jobs also kept his political beliefs to himself, and so avoided alienating prospective customers, and thus prevented the Apple brand from being boycotted.
One major reason for the popularity of Steve Jobs was that Apple were seen as fighting off Microsoft successfully, when Bill Gates’ baby seemed set on devouring every computer-related company in sight. This led to Apple users being fiercely loyal to the brand, and to an extent other major computer companies struggled to match. As a consequence, Steve Jobs’ reputation as an Apple cult figure was secured.
Jobs’ creations such as the iMac, iPod and iPhone became cool and innovative things to have, but were aesthetically pleasing in design and appearance. He further enhanced his reputation by being an important figure in the rise of the animation company Pixar.
The mystery surrounding Steve Jobs, plus his sense of humor and never forgetting the personal touch (which sometimes involved answering emails from customers himself) were all key reasons in endearing him to the public. Steve Jobs retained a humility despite his success, and it’s something that many successful business people could learn from.
Jobs, dressed in jeans and turtleneck sweater, was also someone latched onto by fans of Apple products as not being some detached guy in a suit. Not one of them exactly, but someone who didn’t seem out of touch on any level. He was a businessman, however, and wherever business is concerned there is a requirement to have a steely edge. Jobs, though, was such an Apple cult figure that it would have needed something spectacularly bad to tarnish his image irrevocably in the eyes of Apple devotees.
That millions of people were affected by the death of Steve Jobs is a testament to not only his practical achievements, but to Steve Jobs the man and human being. The legacy of Steve Jobs will surely endure for as long as man remains fascinated by technology.