That recognition sparked a flurry of innovation unmatched in technology until the designers of Microsoft’s operating software mimicked the look and feel of their competitors with Windows 95.
Years later, discussing computer design in another context, Mr. Jobs said: “Most people make the mistake of thinking design is what it looks like. People think it’s this veneer, that the designers are handed this box and told, ‘Make it look good!’ That’s not what we think design is. It’s not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
He could control how it works because Apple “makes the whole widget,” as Mr. Jobs repeatedly said — software and hardware. The company introduced monitors with color screens long before others. Locked out of many retail chains because of its small market share, Apple responded with its own distinctively branded stores, to which users flock like pilgrims. The Mac, Mr. Jobs saw, could become the hub of a digital lifestyle.
Not everything worked out. A 1983 computer, Lisa, failed miserably. Even the “insanely great” Macintosh, sold without a letter-quality printer and incompatible with other computers, had a difficult start, even though it launched the desktop publishing revolution. But that wasn’t the first rough start in Mr. Jobs’s life.
Steven Paul Jobs was born Feb. 24, 1955, in San Francisco to unwed parents, University of Wisconsin graduate student Joanne Carole Schieble and Syrian exchange student Abdulfattah Jandali. Paul and Clara Jobs adopted him shortly after his birth.
Mr. Jobs grew up in Northern California and showed an early interest in electronics. While working on a project as an eighth-grader, he saw he was missing a part. Undaunted, he called William Hewlett, co-founder and president of Hewlett-Packard, who prepared a bag of parts for him — and offered him a summer internship.
Mr. Jobs attended Reed College in Portland, Ore., in 1972. He dropped out after a semester because of financial issues but continued to audit classes at the liberal arts school for 18 months. He then worked part time at Atari to raise money for a trip to India in the summer of 1974, studying meditation and shaving his head. He also lived in a commune for a short time.