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Who hasn't heard of Steve Jobs, the inventor, visionary, and businessman who co-founded the most valuable brand to date? On this day 12 years ago, Jobs submitted his resignation letter, marking the end of his era as Apple CEO. Despite that, the technology giant continued to grow since Jobs had built a solid foundation that still carries and supports the new Apple products we use today.

Through a letter submitted to the Apple Board of Directors on Aug. 24, 2011, Jobs resigned and nominated Tim Cook as the new CEO.

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come. I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee...

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

The former chief executive officer was dealing with severe health issues at the time, which resulted in his death six weeks later. And while Cook has been successful at pushing Apple's boundaries throughout his tenure, there's no denying that Jobs was one of the company's main pillars. To commemorate, we're going to dive into four of his top accomplishments.

1 Mac

The 15-inch MacBook Air in the hand.

Steve Jobs' noticeable success arguably started when the company launched the Apple II back in 1977. At the time, it was one of the early commercial computers that managed to gain traction and get mass-produced. That's not to mention that years later, in 1984, the Macintosh launched as the first profitable computer to feature a graphical UI and mouse support. And even when looking at newer Macs, the company continued to innovate and produce meaningful products during Jobs' era.

But it was Jobs who revealed the first MacBook Air that could fit in a manila envelope. That's not to mention that the first iconic colorful iMacs were some of the first to add a fun element to what otherwise could be perceived as a serious productivity device. Through his vision, Jobs was able to elevate the Apple computer and turn it into one of many users' go-to computing machines.

2 iPod

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An iPod in s stand
Source: Brett Jordan via Unsplash

Jobs' achievements didn't exclusively revolve around the Mac, though. The former CEO dropped one of the early iPod prototypes in a bowl of water to prove to the engineers that the device could be shrunk further. "Those are air bubbles," he snapped. "That means there's space in there. Make it smaller."

The iPod would go on to become the mainstream MP3 media player, offering different sizes, colors, and features to match consumers' various needs. That's not to mention that the iTunes Store also debuted during his era, offering people a convenient way to buy and download music, an appealing alternative to physical CDs and piracy. The iPod has died but its legacy continues to live on through new Apple Watches and iPhones. And while Jobs may have been an unforgiving leader, it was all in the name of driving innovation and pushing the limits of technology.

3 iPhone

A Space Black iPhone 14 Pro resting on a grassy shell background.

Apple's most popular product yet also happens to be one of Jobs' offspring. "An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator," Jobs said on stage about what would become known as the iPhone. "Are you getting it? These are not three separate devices. This is one device."

Prior to its debut, companies were struggling to come up with the correct mobile phone formula. But when the original iPhone launched, it became a driving factor in the smartphone industry, especially with the release of the App Store — a central hub for users to find and download third-party apps they can (usually) trust. Apple may not be the first to put out new features at this point. However, when it does, its rivals tend to follow suit. With every new iPhone change, we observe fresh trends that other phone manufacturers tend to adopt.

4 iPad

iPad Air 5 running iPadOS 17 beta

Not to be limited to a mobile phone form factor, Jobs later revealed the iPad, which would then become the go-to tablet for many users around the world. At the time, critics doubted the new iPad's potential and had assumed it would fail. Today, this glass slab acts as a multifunctional laptop replacement for a number of students and employees. That's not to mention that its power, coupled with the wide range of optimized apps it offers, makes it hard for rivals to produce tablets as successful in terms of performance, quality, resale value, and more.

Beyond Apple hardware

While most of the main Apple products we use today were originally released during Steve Jobs' era, his innovative vision didn't stop there. The first retail Apple Stores opened during his CEO days, despite many initially having doubts about their success. Today, there are Apple Stores all over the world, offering consumers a place to test, hold, and compare products personally. That's not to mention the Genius Bars that efficiently detect issues in people's existing products and help resolve them.

It's safe to say that had it not been for obs' leadership, today, Apple wouldn't be the influential company it is, or wouldn't be altogether. Thanks to his efforts and the well-founded base he left behind, the Cupertino company continues to operate and grow under a different leadership today.