A World Without Steve Jobs: 7 Wonders We Would Have Missed

steve jobs 1955-2011The world lost a visionary yesterday. Steve Jobs passed away at the way too young age of 56, after an eight-year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. Although he's pretty much the guy who lived, breathed, and embodied the Revenge of the Nerds story, today, he's not just mourned by techies and geeks.

As co-founder of Apple Inc. and chief exec for Pixar Animation Studios, Jobs likely touched all of our lives in some way or another. In fact, it would be pretty difficult to even imagine a world in which he never existed (think It's a Wonderful Life). Here, seven of the amazing inventions we would be without if it weren't for Steve Jobs ...

  1. The personal computer as we know it - Although many of us tend to think of Bob Gates as the grandfather of the PC, thanks to Windows, it was actually Jobs who came up with the kind of operating system that's now ubiquitous in both PCs and Macs. When IBM came out with their first PC, Jobs countered with the Macintosh in 1984, which was the first computer to feature a mouse, pull-down menus, and icons. Before that, you had to use a command-line interface -- remember, C:/ ... etc.? (I used to play a Winnie the Pooh game on one of those!)
  2. Fonts - We might all be stuck writing in Arial or Comic Sans, if it weren't for Jobs, who decided Macs should have a wide variety of fonts to choose from and personally designed many examples in the library. Most were named after cities, capturing their mood and character in letter forms -- like "Chicago," which had strong Art Deco influences, Chaucerian "London," and the Swiss-styled "Geneva."
  3. iPods - If you grew up owning or using a turntable or even a cassette tape, do you think you would have ever imagined having a device that allows you to hold 40,000 songs in your pocket? 'Nuff said.
  4. Pixar movies - When Jobs bought George Lucas' computer-graphics division in 1986, Pixar was born. Soon, the company was on track to develop films like Toy Story, which ushered in a completely new and innovative form of animated entertainment.
  5. iTunes - Sure, we all flirted with Napster at some time or another, but in 2001, the way we listened to and bought music changed forever, thanks to Jobs. 
  6. iPads - Interestingly, Jobs said that he started developing the first-gen iPad (which was released last year) before the iPhone. Makes sense, being that the technology is practically identical now. But the first tablet Apple came out with was the Newton MessagePad 100 in 1993. Clearly, Jobs always was ahead of the curve in the tablet revolution.
  7. iPhones - Droid and BlackBerry lovers can say whatever they want, but no smartphone had ever changed people's lives the way this phone has in the past 5 years it has been around. Jobs completely revolutionized cellphones forever.

Which of these items has changed your life the most?


Image via Apple.com

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