Steven Paul Jobs, the co-founder and chairman of Apple,died Wednesday at the age of 56.

Born in San Francisco in 1955, Jobs grew up near Cupertino, Calif. After attending Reed College in Portland for one semester (and auditing classes for free for several more), Jobs took a job at Atari, designing circuit boards. In 1976, Jobs co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak.

The two young men started out with a few thousand dollars in cash and a vision of changing the world. Over the course of the past 35 years, the company and Jobs have gone on to change the world, the personal computing industry, the music and film industries and the mobile industry as we know.

Apple released its first mass-market product, the Apple II in 1976. The Apple II helped ignite what would become known as “the personal computer revolution” and thrust the charismatic Jobs into the spotlight. By the time IBM released its first PC in 1981 and Commodore released the Commodore 64 in 1982, Apple was already hard at work on the product that would cement Apple’s place in computing history, the Macintosh.

Brazenly introduced to the world in 1984 via a Super Bowl ad directed by Ridley Scott, the Macintosh helped set the standard for personal computing paradigms for the next decade.


Pixar, NeXT and Beyond


Jobs was forced out of Apple in 1985 over disagreements concerning vision, style and attitude. At the time, Jobs was written off by many in the business and industry press as a flash in the pan. It was Wozniak, not Jobs, they said, that was the real innovator at Apple.

In the decade that followed, Jobs was out of the limelight. Bill Gates became the face of the industry and the tech story of the 1990s was the rise of Microsoft. It was Microsoft, not Apple, that would topple IBM.

After leaving Apple in 1985, Jobs and some of his Apple founded NeXT with a cadre of Apple alumni. NeXT was well-financed and its software and hardware were top notch. Still, the products failed to make an impact on the industry.

Jobs’s real success in the first half of the 1990s wasn’t in the computer industry, but in the film industry. Pixar, a small animation studio Jobs acquired in 1986, went from obscurity to industry game-changer after the release of 1995′s Toy Story. It was Pixar, not Apple — and not NeXT — that made Jobs a very rich man.

In late 1996, Jobs approached Apple to discuss his former company acquiring NeXT. Apple needed an operating system, NeXT had one, NeXTSTEP.

Within a few months of rejoining Apple, Jobs took over as interim CEO. It was at this point that the modern Jobs legacy began to take shape.

From 1997 until August 2011, Jobs was Apple’s CEO, presiding over what can only be described as thegreatest second and third acts in business history. Under his tutelage as CEO, Apple not only returned from the brink of bankruptcy to profitability, but products like the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad have single-handedly changed the consumer electronics and personal computing landscape.

In August 2004, Jobs revealed that he had undergone surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his pancreas. Jobs took a one month leave of absence to recover from surgery and returned to work in September 2004.

For the next seven years, Jobs would dodge rumors about his health. In June 2008, Jobs’s gaunt appearance at WWDC raised questions about his health. In January 2009, Jobs took a six-month leave of absence from Apple, to address “a hormone deficiency.” It was later revealed that Jobs had a liver transplant in April 2009. He returned to work in June 2009.

Jobs would continue to serve as Apple’s CEO until January 2011, when he took a medical leave of absence “to focus on his health.”

Jobs is survived by his wife Laurene and his family.

 

The Amazon Kindle Fire is not the only 7-inch Android tablet making its debut this week. The Samsung Galaxy Tab family of products is adding a mid-range, compact device called the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus.

It’s powered by a 1.2 GHz dual-core CPU paired with Android 3.2 Honeycomb and 1 GB of RAM. It sports a 7-inch, 1024×600 pixel screen and comes with 16 GB or 32 GB of storage space and a 3-megapixel camera (plus a 2-megapixel one on the front for video chats).

On the connectivity front, it supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 3.0 as well as 3G/HSPA, and Samsung managed to squeeze all of the above into a case that’s 9.96 mm thin and weighs 345 g.

The device’s specifications are slightly weaker than those of its closest of kin, the Galaxy Tab 7.7, which Samsung officially unveiled a month ago at the IFA trade show in Berlin.

A key piece of information about the Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus is, however, still missing: its price.

The device is very interesting when compared to Amazon’s Wi-Fi-enabled Kindle Fire, which lacks a camera, but costs $199. If Samsung manages to keep the price of its latest tablet within $100 of the Fire, it could be an interesting contender in the increasingly crowded 7-inch tablet space.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.0 Plus will arrive in Indonesia and Austria at the end of October, followed by a gradual rollout to the U.S., Europe and the rest of the world.

 

Facebook plans to roll out a major redesign of user profiles at its f8 developer conference this week, Mashable has learned.

Details about the redesign are sparse, but two sources familiar with Facebook’s plans (who have asked to remain anonymous) have told us that the redesign is “major” and will make Facebook

profiles nexuses for consuming content.

The profile changes will be part of a wider launch, one that will include launch of a music and media platform.

Here’s what we know so far about the profile redesign:

The redesigned profiles will be more “sticky,” says one source. One of the goals of the new profiles is to get users to stay on them for longer.
We already knew Facebook is launching a media platform at f8. However, we’ve also learned that the platform — which will include music and video from partner sites — will display the media content a user is watching or listening to on their profiles. Essentially, when you’re listening to Lady Gaga on Spotify, your friends can see and access that on your Facebook profile. This confirms a recent New York Times report.
The redesigned profiles are part of a larger push into social ecommerce. We don’t exactly know what that means, but we’ve heard whispers that Facebook intends to give Facebook Credits more prominence. We’ve also heard that a Facebook app store may emerge at f8.
Facebook’s push into ecommerce may be related Project Spartan, an HTML5-based mobile platform rumored to be launching soon.
Facebook is being tight-lipped about the changes; the company declined to comment on this story. However, more and more pieces of Facebook’s big launch continue to leak out as the excitement builds for f8 (feel free to send us screenshots if you have any) The company is currently under lockdown, trying to fix the final bugs before Thursday’s big launch.

What do you think Facebook will launch on Thursday? Let us know in the comments.

As seen on Mashable.com

Devices proffering video capture are nearing ubiquity. Hence, so too are lackluster, unedited video clips. Magisto to the rescue.

The Israel-based startup is launching to the public Tuesday with an automated video editing platform. Magisto’s promise: Give us your unedited footage, and we’ll give you a short movie that you can proudly show off to friends and family.

In fact, that’s nearly all there is to the site. You can upload up to 16 video files, add a title and soundtrack — select from available tracks or add your own — and then sit back and wait for an email to notify you that your mini movie is ready to be shared.

Magisto is not for the artistically-inclined, obsess-over-every-detail video editor. It’s for average Joes and Janes who don’t have the time or interest to bother with learning or using complicated editing software.

“The average person doesn’t edit videos,” says Magisto co-founder and CEO Oren Boiman. “So they

either post long boring videos nobody wants to watch, or they save them on their hard drive — unwatched, unedited, unshared. We made Magisto to give people a way to take their videos and turn them into movies that are fun to watch and easy to share.”

The startup is keeping mum on its secret sauce, but does say that its proprietary technology is designed to automatically find the best footage in your videos. The technology is said to recognize faces, understand the difference between people, objects, pets and landscapes, and even capture the intent of the filmmaker.

Magisto’s magic formula, from what we’ve seen, works impressively well — so well, we’d like to see the startup release mobile applications for quicker uploads, and remove its branding at the end of finished movies.

Coinciding with Tuesday’s launch, Magisto is announcing that it has raised $5.5 million in a Series B round of financing.

Image courtesy of iStockphotoadventtr

 
As seen on Mashable.com
 

Can’t wait to try out Windows 8 for yourself after Microsoft’s big unveiling of the new OS at

Tuesday’s Build Conference? Well, you needn’t wait any longer as the developer preview version of the OS is now available for download.

You can install it on a x86-based 32-bit or a 64-bit machine. Activation is not required, but it’s far from a finalized version of the OS, so if you do install it, expect bugs and glitches. In any case, you should definitely check out Microsoft’sWindows 8 guide to get an idea of what you can expect from the next version of Windows.

Facebook has launched a Subscribe button that lets you follow the public updates of others,

 regardless of whether you’re Facebook friends.

The new subscription options are part of Facebook’s effort to give users more control over their Facebook accounts and their News Feeds. “Facebook has always been working on giving users more control,” said Facebook Product Manager Naomi Gleit.

Starting Wednesday, users will begin seeing a Subscribe button alongside the “Message” and “Poke” button on Facebook profiles. The button gives you a way to follow the content others are posting without actually becoming Facebook friends with them. In a lot of ways, it’s like following somebody on Twitter.

This button works a bit differently based on whether you’re looking at a friend’s profile. If you subscribe to the profile of somebody who is not your friend, you will get access to his or her public status updates in your News Feed. You can fine tune what type of updates you see. For example, you could subscribe to my Facebook Page and choose only to see my status updates and ignore my game or photo updates.

If the user is your friend, subscribing gives you the ability to granularly control how much of his or her content enters your stream. If you want to see every post your significant other is posting to Facebook, you can set the Subscribe button to show “All Updates” in your News Feed. On the other hand, if you want to ignore one of your acquaintances unless he gets engaged, then you can select the “Only Important” option under the Subscribe button.

The Subscribe feature is totally optional — you can choose not to subscribe to anybody, and you can choose to turn off the Subscribe button on your profile if you don’t want to gain any subscribers.

Much like Twitter, the total number of people subscribing to your public posts and the number of people you’re subscribed to appear on your profile. This number does not include pending friend requests. Existing friend requests will not turn into subscribers automatically, but Gleit says that going forward anybody who sends you a friend request will automatically be subscribed to your public updates (unless you turn the Subscribe button off).

The Subscribe option makes public Facebook posts more useful, especially if you start gaining an audience. However, it provides yet another layer of complexity on top of an already complex product. It could spur more public sharing a la Twitter, or it could raise more privacy concerns for a social network that has had its share of privacy controversies.

What do you think of the Subscribe button? Is it a smart addition to Facebook, or is it a useless feature? Let us know in the comments.

  

 
As seen on Mashable.com
 

The Future of Search Series is supported by SES Chicago Conference and Expo, the leading search, social and display conference. From November 14-18, get five days of education, inspiration and conversations with marketing experts from the digital space. Register with MASH20 to save 20%.

A text-based, context-less search experience, the type of search experience consumers have come to expect on the web, is becoming passé as touchscreens replace keyboards and tablets re-imagine what’s possible.

“I give you a query and you give me an answer,” says Norman Winarsky, vice president of SRI Ventures and longtime search expert, on what search is today. “But the search bar doesn’t understand my query.”

“The tablet offers the opportunity for discovery, as well as for search,” he adds, “and not only for discovery, but for inspiration.”

As the co-founder of personal assistant startup Siri — which was acquired by Apple and may find its way into iOS 5 — and an investor in a number of future tech search-driven startups, Winarsky has an ever-present eye on trends in search.

In an interview with Mashable, Winarsky details how tablets are changing the way we search.


The Unified Experience


 

 

 

 

“Tablets enable a full, interactive experience that involves not only text, but potentially speech and interactions,” he says.

Search on tablets will incorporate how you engage with your tablet’s touchscreen, front and back cameras and microphone. “Where are you looking? What are you seeing? How much time are you spending reading?,” he says as ways to imagine new avenues for search on tablets.

The tablet, more so than other devices, can know enough about you to understand the context around your queries and give you better answers, he says. “Search becomes a unified experience on a tablet … a unified experience between our eyes, our ears and our cognitive processes.”

The future of search, as pioneered by the tablet’s form factor, is the dynamic interaction among all of your senses, foretells Winarsky.

Winarsky’s predictions aren’t all that far fetched, especially if you align yourself with the camp that believes that tablets will replace laptops and PCs as the primary devices for personal computing purposes.

Forrester, for one, estimates that tablet sales will total 195 million between 2010 and 2015, with tablet sales eclipsing laptop sales by 2015. Apple is currently dominating the market; it alone sold 9.25 million iPads in its fiscal third quarter — the company’s best quarter ever.

In a post-PC world, keyboards will play second fiddle to fingers and gestures. Cameras will conjoin the physical with the virtual. Our voices will tell our tablets what we want, and our tablets will process speech in a near-cognitive fashion. All those dynamics will aid significantly in the discovery on information with right-here, right-now context.


The New Battle


 

 

 

 

Who then is best positioned to command this new frontier in next generation, tablet-optimized search?

“It’s kind of hard to bet against Google, isn’t it?” Winarsky says. Still, he admits that the company is behind in the tablet market with Android and behind in the social networking space, even with Google+. But, Google owns the text search market, and it has the resources to create a unified search experience, he says.

“In order to win the new battle of search, you’re going to have to win all of the elements of the unified experience,” Winarsky says. “You better be a dominant player in social networks … you better be a great player in artificial intelligence and speech recognition … you need to be able to understand the content of videos and images, and you need a far better interaction experience that enables you to better understand the human interaction with the tablet.”

But, will the unified search experience take the form of an application, an operating system or continue to be a literal search experience? “Eventually, search will not be a separate activity. It will be incorporated into the operating system of the tablet,” Winarsky says, though he qualifies his statement to add that this will take years to happen.

Search on tablets, as outlined here by Winarsky will be a far different experience than search as we know it. Will these tablet-inspired experiences trickle back to how we as consumers expect to search for information on the web via laptop or PC? “Absolutely,” says Winarsky.

“People will feel that search by text alone, in a text bar, without interaction and without multimedia is prehistoric in five to 10 years.” This, perchance, leaves the door open to a new king in the search market.

Images courtesy of iStockphotoarakonyunus, and Flickr, waferbabyArne Kuilman


Series supported by SES Chicago Conference and Expo


The Future of Search Series is supported by SES Chicago Conference and Expo, connecting the digital dots between search, social and commerce. The SES Chicago Conference & Expo takes a critical look at the latest developments to help marketers traverse the quickly developing landscape, with a special focus on the latest ecommerce trends and the latest technology launches from Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and more. Register with MASH20 and save 20%. Join the discussion #SESConf.

 

As seen on mashable.com

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