5 Steve Jobs Technology Milestones

CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Former Apple ( AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs, who passed away on Wednesday, leaves behind a phenomenal legacy.

From the Mac to the iPod, iPhone and iPad, Jobs and Apple completely changed the face of consumer technology. President Obama was correct when he described Jobs as "among the greatest of American innovators" on Wednesday evening.

"There may be no greater tribute to Steve's success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented," the president said.
Steve Jobs

Jobs, who co-founded Apple in 1976 with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, rose to become one of America's most powerful corporate chieftains, and earned cult status among Apple's ever-growing legion of customers.

Few, if any, CEOs, have personified their company as much as Steve Jobs, whose famous "one more thing" catchphrase will be forever synonymous with innovation.

Read on for some of the key technology milestones in the Steve Jobs story:

The Mac Computer

Launched way back in 1984, the Macintosh personal computer quickly became locked in a battle with Microsoft ( MSFT) which continues to this day. The Macintosh also gave the world an early glimpse of Jobs' marketing flair courtesy of a now iconic TV ad.

Over the years the Mac platform has evolved significantly, with Apple launching products such as the iMac, MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. In a testament to the technology's ongoing popularity, Apple recently enjoyed a record June quarter of Mac sales.

iPod

First launched in 2001, the iPod marked Apple's entry into the mainstream consumer technology space, offering customers a cheaper entry point into the company's family of products.

The second-generation iPod made its debut the following year, and subsequent versions of the technology include the scaled-down Nano, Mini, Shuffle, as well as the Wi-Fi compatible iPod Touch. Earlier this week, at Apple's iPhone event, the tech giant revamped its iPod nano and iPod Touch.

iPhone

Apple's initial iPhone was launched in 2007, sending shock waves through the smartphone market. The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm followed the original phone with the 3G and 3GS versions, before launching the eagerly-anticipated iPhone 4 in summer 2010. Despite intense speculation that the company was planning an iPhone 5, Apple launched its iPhone 4S earlier this week, a souped-up version of the iPhone 4.

The success of the iPhone platform, however, is unquestioned. Apple set a quarterly record for iPhone sales during its recent fiscal third quarter, selling 20.3 million of the devices, compared with 8.4 million in the prior-year's quarter. In particular, the consumer tech giant noted robust uptake in Asia-Pacific as well continued strong demand from enterprises.

The world's largest smartphone vendor in terms of revenue and profit, Apple is also the largest smartphone player by volume, according to research shop Strategy Analytics.

iPad

Launched amid much fanfare in 2010, the iPad breathed new life into the ailing tablet market. Although initially targeted at consumers, the iPad has proved extremely popular with corporate America. An enhanced version of the tablet, the iPad 2, was unveiled by Apple earlier this year.

Apple has already sold more than 28 million iPads, blazing a trail for rival tablet makers to follow. The gadget maker sold a record 9.2 million iPads during its recent fiscal third-quarter results, a massive hike of 183% from the prior year's quarter.

iCloud

Steve Jobs jumped firmly on the cloud bandwagon in June, unveiling Apple's iCloud service at the company's Worldwide Developers' Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco.

iCloud, which aims to streamline user access to files, initially elicited a yawn from investors, but was acclaimed by analysts who see the technology as tightening Apple's relationship with its customers.

Apple added flesh to the bones of its strategy earlier this week at the company's iPhone event, announcing tight integration between iCloud and its iOS 5 mobile operating system.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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