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Ten products that defined Steve Jobs' career

NEW YORK — Steve Jobs had no formal schooling in engineering, yet he's listed as the inventor or co-inventor on more than 300 U.S. patents. These are some of the significant products that were created under his direction:

Apple I, 1976

A computer for hobbyists and engineers, made in small numbers. Steve Wozniak designed it, while Jobs orchestrated funding and marketing.

Apple II , 1977

One of the first successful personal computers, it was designed as a mass-market product rather than for engineers or enthusiasts. It was still largely Wozniak's design. Several upgrades for the model followed, and the product line continued until 1993.

Lisa, 1983

Jobs' visit to the Xerox Corp. research center inspired him to work on the first commercial computer with a graphical user interface, with icons, windows and a cursor controlled by a mouse. It was the foundation for today's computer interfaces, but the Lisa was too expensive to be a commercial success.

Macintosh, 1984

Like the Lisa, the Macintosh had a graphical user interface. It was also cheaper and faster and had the backing of a large advertising campaign. People soon realized how useful the graphical interface was for design. That led "desktop publishing," accomplished with a Mac coupled to a laser printer.

NeXT computer, 1989

After being forced out of Apple, Jobs started a company that built a powerful workstation computer. The company never sold large numbers, but the computer was influential: The world's first Web browser was created on one. Its software also lives on as the basis for today's Macintosh and iPhone operating system.

iMac, 1998

When Jobs returned to Apple in 1996, the company was foundering. The radical iMac was the first step in reversing the slide. It was strikingly designed as a bubble of blue plastic that enclosed both the monitor and the computer. Easy to set up, it captured the imagination just as people worldwide were having their eyes opened to the Internet and considering getting their first home computer.

iPod, 2001

It wasn't the first digital music player with a hard drive, but it was the first successful one. The iPod's success prepared the way for the iTunes music store and the iPhone.

iTunes Store, 2003

Before the iTunes Store, buying digital music was a hassle, making piracy the more popular option. The store simplified the process and brought together tracks from all the major labels. The store became the largest music retailer in the U.S. in 2008.

iPhone, 2007

The iPhone did for the phone experience what the Macintosh did for personal computing — it made the power of a smartphone easy to harness. Apple is now the world's most profitable maker of phones, and widely influential.

iPad, 2010

Dozens of companies, including Apple, had created tablet computers before the iPad, but none caught on. The iPad finally cracked the code, creating a whole new category of computer practically by itself.

Ten products that defined Steve Jobs' career 10/06/11 [Last modified: Friday, October 7, 2011 9:04am]
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