Steve Jobs' Apple: a timeline

Let there be no question: ours would be a very different industry, were it not for Steve Jobs. Few, if any individuals have had so profound an effect on their given spaces; a unprecedented track record that began in 1976 with the co-founding of Apple. In earliest incarnation, the company would prove the driving force of the personal computer explosion of the early '80s, beginning with the Apple II -- one of the industry's first hugely popular microcomputers. The Macintosh shook things up yet again, a launch celebrated by the debut of the "1984" ad during that year's Superbowl. That line helped break both the graphical user interface and the mouse to a massive audience.

Soon after, Jobs would resign, going on to form NeXT. The company never managed sales figures anywhere near the previous endeavor, but its products would prove highly influential, forming, among other things, the basis of Apple's paradigm-shifting OS X operating system. While Steve Jobs was focused on NeXT and The Graphic Group -- the company that would later morph into the far more familiar Pixar -- Apple suffered a series of defeats.

Jobs returned first as an advisor, then interim CEO, finally reclaiming his role as the head of the company. In 1998, the company reimagined desktop computing yet again with the iMac. In 2001, the company unveiled the first Apple retail store and debuted the iPod and iTunes that same year, drastically altering the state of the music industry.

In 2007, the company debuted the iPhone, before it gave the world the App Store a year later. There were plenty of smartphones before Apple got in the game, but since the introduction of the iPhone they've never been the same. And after years of rumors, 2010 saw the debut of the iPad, a device that did the unimaginable, making the tablet a viable and indeed thriving consumer device.

Over the years, Jobs have proven an enigmatic and sometimes polarizing figure in this industry, but whatever words one might immediately leap upon to describe the black turtlenecked CEO, his impact can never be denied. And the aftershocks will no doubt be felt for decades to come. We knew that this day would come, but we were nonetheless taken by surprise when Jobs announced that he would be resigning his post at the head of the company, stepping aside for Apple COO Tim Cook.

We've gathered some of the biggest pieces of Jobs news to happen since the founding of our own site in 2004, not to bemoan the exit of Jobs, but rather to celebrate the presence of a figure who truly is larger than life.

06.06.05 - Apple goes Intel, it's true!
01.09.07 - Apple loses the "computer," unveils the iPhone
02.06.07 - A letter from Steve Jobs on DRM: let's get rid of it
05.30.07 - Steve Jobs and Bill Gates: historic discussion live from D 2007
08.08.08 - Rumors of Steve Jobs' death greatly exaggerated
01.14.09 - Steve Jobs takes leave of absence due to health
06.29.09 - Steve Jobs back to work at Apple
01.27.10 - Apple unveils its "latest creation," the iPad
01.31.10 - Steve Jobs lashes out at Google and Adobe
06.01.10 - Steve Jobs reveals the origins of iOS, talks iPhone 4 prototype
07.16.10 - Jobs addresses antennagate
01.17.11 - Steve Jobs takes medical leave from Apple, puts Tim Cook in charge
03.01.11 - Steve Jobs' knighthood rejected by Gordon Brown
06.06.11 - Apple unveils iCloud, Jobs gives what may be his final WWDC keynote
06.08.11 - Jobs reveals Apple's new spaceship campus
08.24.11 - Steve Jobs resigns as CEO of Apple