Apple's Steve Jobs, the 'visionary of our times,' is dead

Apple co-founder and chairman Steve Jobs, lauded as a man with courage and vision who helped change the way we listen to music, watch video and use computers, died Wednesday at the age of 56 after a long battle with cancer.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs

In Cupertino, where Apple is headquartered, flags flew at half-staff as mourners placed flowers around a white iPad displaying a photo of Jobs.

A sampling of comments are indicative of the impact Jobs had:

"The way that I communicate and the way that I interact with the world is through things that Steve Jobs has created," one mourner outside Apple headquarters said.

At the San Francisco Apple store, one customer said Jobs and Apple's technology changed his life.

"If it weren't for Steve Jobs and Macs, my life would probably be in a completely different place right now," said Steve Streza, a developer.

President Obama, in a statement released by the White House, lauded Jobs's achievements.

"Steve was among the greatest of American innovators--brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world and talented enough to do it," he said.

Longtime competitor and founder of Microsoft Bill Gates called Job's impact "profound."

"The world rarely sees someone who has had the profound impact Steve has had, the effects of which will be felt for many generations to come," he said. "For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely."

Google chairman Eric Schmidt, a former Apple board member, called Jobs the most effective and successful CEO in a half century.

"He didn't just found Apple, and he didn't actually just make it successful in the first decade, he also took it after a bad period, and rebuilt it," he said. "To me, Steve proves that nerds don't win. Artists do. And that Steve who is both a technologist, but really an artist, shows that art matters and the rest of us missed the fact that beautiful simple products are what people want."

Perhaps Ron Kent, a food-truck owner who was at the Palo Alto, Calif. Apple store, may have said it best, comparing Jobs to Michelangelo.

"He's the visionary of our time," Kent said.

For more:
- see this Bloomberg report
- see this Wall Street Journal report
- see this Washington Post report