The announcement on Wednesday evening of Steve Jobs's resignation, while hardly unexpected in the light of his earlier leave of absence, brought one simple reality sharply home to me, as it must have for countless others: here is a man who has single-handedly changed my life utterly. In late 2002, I got a chance to look at Apple's OS X operating system—at on a friend's stunningly-beautiful Titanium PowerBook G4. I've never been a quick decision-taker. But my switch to the Mac occurred just a few months later. Nothing did more to improve the way I worked and connected with others.
Steve Jobs's return to Apple in 1997 occurred just as the Internet was beginning to radically change our lives. Apple's addictive combination of simplicity and sound design—applied, with equally obsessive attention to detail, to both its hardware and its software—made the Internet revolution an utterly delightful one for people like me—people who like simple, beautiful yet powerful things.
His departure—orchestrated in his own way, as Apple's leading fanboy John Gruber put it in a must-read blog post—occurred as Samsung refused to buy the PC business of HP, which dominated the computer industry and is now seeking to spin off that division. Steve Jobs deserves all the credit for making Apple the world's most valuable company—one whose share price has quadrupled since he went on the first of two successive leaves of absence in January 2009. I've no idea whether its future market capitalisation will stay in that position. But I've no doubt at all that the team of developers, engineers, designers and managers painstakingly brought together by one, exceptionally-talented man will continue making the beautiful products that changed my life for the better almost a decade ago, for a long time to come.