IT WAS always going to be a hard act to follow. On October 4th Apple staged a press conference to launch its latest iPhone and other gadgets. Tim Cook, the computing giant’s new chief executive, and his colleagues did a perfectly competent job of presenting its latest wares. But it was inevitable that comparisons would be drawn between Mr Cook’s understated approach on stage and that of Steve Jobs, his predecessor, whose sense of showmanship had turned so many Apple product launches into quasi-religious experiences. The news the following day that Mr Jobs had finally died following a long battle with cancer turned the feeling of disappointment into one of deep sadness.
大师的后继者注定要相形见绌。10月4日，苹果举办媒体发布会，推出其最新版的iPhone及其他设备。这家计算机巨头的新首席执行官提姆·库克（Tim Cook）联同他的同事们非常称职地完成了最新产品的发布。然而，人们难免要将库克先生在台上低调的表述方式与其前任史蒂夫·乔布斯（Steve Jobs）所具有的将众多苹果产品发布会变幻成为近乎宗教仪式的强大展现力进行比较。而次日关于乔布斯先生在与癌症长期抗争之后去世的消息则将失望的情绪演化成为一抹深深的哀伤。
Many technologists have been hailed as visionaries. If anyone deserves that title it was Mr Jobs. Back in the 1970s, the notion that computers might soon become ubiquitous seemed fanciful. In those days of green-on-black displays, when floppy discs were still floppy, he was among the first to appreciate the potential that lay in the idea of selling computers to ordinary people. More recently, under his guidance,Apple went from being a company on the brink of bankruptcy to a firm that has reshaped entire industries and brought rivals to their knees. Rarely incorporate history has a transformation been so swift. Along the way Mr Jobs also co-founded Pixar, an animation company, and became Disney’s biggest shareholder.
Few corporate leaders in modern times have been as dominant—or, at times, as dictatorial—as Mr Jobs. His success was the result of his unusual combination of technical smarts,strategic vision, flair for design and sheer force of character. But it was also because in an industry dominated by engineers and marketing people who often seem to come from different planets, he had a different and much broader perspective. Mr Jobs had an unusual knack for looking at technology from the outside, as a user, not just from the inside, as an engineer—something he attributed to the experiences of his wayward youth.
An adopted child, Mr Jobs caught the computing bug while growing up in Silicon Valley. As a teenager in the late 1960s he cold-called his idol, Bill Hewlett, and talked his way into a summer job at Hewlett-Packard (HP), where he met Steve Wozniak (pictured above with Mr Jobs). But it was only after dropping out of college, travelling to India, becoming a Buddhist and experimenting with psychedelic drugs that Mr Jobs returned to California to co-found Apple with Mr Wozniak, in his parents’ garage, on April Fools’ Day 1976. “A lot of people in our industry haven’t had very diverse experiences,” he once said. “So they don’t have enough dots to connect, and they end up with very linear solutions.”His great rival, Bill Gates, he suggested, would be “a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.”