Steve Jobs may just be the greatest inventor of our age. We dug through Google Patents and found that Steve Jobs is listed as the primary or co-inventor on 241 patents. Granted, some of those inventions were duds, no doubt. But some were pure genius, and did nothing less than completely change the way we use technology in our lives.
So as he prepares to walk away from the company he built, left, and rebuilt into something bigger than anyone thought possible, let's take a walk through some of his inventions that moved the technological world. We found the the original drawing submitted with every patent application submitted by Steve and his teams, along with the eventual Apple device that changed everything.
Apple III (1980)
It's easy to say the Apple III was a commercial failure, because it was. As Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak put it, the primary reason it failed was that the Apple III was designed by the marketing department, instead of engineering. Perhaps. However, there always exists a struggle between form and function, and it takes a true visionary who can bridge both design and capability. Sometimes failures are the best lessons.
iMac G3 (1998)
Of all the great Apple products in the last 35 years, the iMac G3 is truly iconic. It symbolized the return of Steve Jobs to the top spot in the company, and showed how high he immediately set the bar for innovative and disruptive design. Apple quipped "the back of our computer looks better than the front of anyone else's". And Apple has never looked back.
USB Mouse (1998)
OK, we know how you felt about this one, and trust us, we felt the same way. But the Hockey Puck most certainly does speak to the boundaries that Cupertino design was willing to cross once Jobs came back to the helm.
This was the game changer, really. The runaway success of the iPod, and with it iTunes, opened the floodgates for not only the portable device market, but for the digital download marketplace as well. The iPhone, App Store, and the iPad all came to be because the world fell in love with this little device.
PowerMac G3 (1999)
Steve Jobs once let slip that Dell computers were "un-innovative beige boxes." Well, when he came back as Apple CEO in 1997, you could describe the Power Macintosh G3 as exactly that. By 1999 it was goodbye beige and hello blue.
iMac G4 (2002)
The New iMac was only on the market for a couple of years, but it took desktop computer design in a completely new direction. Again.
iPod GUI (2003)
It wasn't just the hardware that made us need an iPod, because at the time there were a lot of MP3 players on the market. Steve Jobs took a personal interest in redesigning the software for the iPod and making it into something people wanted to use. And, yes... the people wanted to use it.
Today Apple retail stores sell more per square foot than any other retail store. When your CEO is so focused that he patents a better staircase, well, maybe that's what happens.
Power Adapter (2006)
Sometimes, a power adapter is more than just a power adapter. Sometimes, it is something that causes your PC friends -- fumbling with wild black cords with delicate tips and rubber straps -- to look at you with envy. It a simple power adapter with a brilliant design is something that lets you know that the top dog in the company is looking out for every detail.
iPhone OS / iOS (2007)
iOS is the leading mobile device operating system in the world. It is simple, powerful, and beautiful, and the iPad and iPhone would not be the market-changing devices they are without it.
Magic Mouse (2009)
Look Ma, no wheels! When the Magic Mouse was released in 2009, it was the first consumer mouse to have multi-touch capabilities. Ok, Steve, this one makes up for the hockey puck.
iPod Shuffle (2010)
The latest and current version of the iPod Shuffle shows how far the device has come, and how focused Steve Jobs still is on simplifying design to its core element.
iPhone 4 (2010)
The iPhone 4 is the breakthrough model. It is the iPhone that crossed over from AT&T to Verizon, and it is the iPhone that has captured the world -- both in style and design as well as sales. It is the iPhone Steve Jobs will carry in his pocket as he hands the reins over over to Tim Cook... that is unless he managed to grab an iPhone 5 on the way out.
A device that critics said no one needed. A device that competitors said is just a fad. A device is truly magical and revolutionary in every way and completely changed the way we use, and define, computers. Thanks, Steve. For everything.