So yeah, my Twitter/Reader/Facebook exploded after 7pm last night with everyone's reactions to Steve Jobs' death. My wife even teared up a little bit - more so because you're talking about someone passing at 56 after battling cancer for most of the last 7-8 years - but also because as a former photojournalist like me, we both have been avid fans and users of Apple products for over two decades.
I wouldn't be where I am today without Apple's influence - from the Apple II's I remember in our elementary school classes that let us program BASIC - to the all-Mac newsroom I walked into as a freshman in college, with a bunch of Mac Plus stations for writers and editors, running System 6.x with floppy drives - to the house I live in now with four MacBooks/iMacs and about 8 iPods/iPhones of various makes, models, and sizes.
We probably would have gotten to where we are today one way or another - but we wouldn't have gotten there as fast, or with the same refinement - if Apple would have gone under any of the multiple times it was on its deathbed since 1976. There's an obvious influence on all of our ways of life, on how we choose, ingest, and manage our media consumption, that's been incredibly disruptive over the last 40 years, and it's largely due to Jobs' reality distortion shield and force of personality as a product visionary.
To expand upon I point I made elsewhere - I find his comeback to Apple
after 1997 far more compelling and influential than the original
creation of the Macintosh in the 1980s. Hey, even Microsoft finally
figured out GUIs after 10-15 years: the concept wasn't that hard to
Quality poker time up in Black Hawk, CO
10 minutes ago