Bloomberg News

Apple Fans Mourn Steve Jobs’s Death, Hold IPhone-Lit Vigils

October 06, 2011

(Updates with memorial plans in sixth paragraph. For more on Steve Jobs’s passing, see EXT5 <GO>.)

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. fans worldwide mourned the death of co-founder Steve Jobs, paying tribute to the man who changed the way they listen to music, use their mobile phones and play on their computers.

At Apple’s headquarters -- located at 1 Infinite Loop, Cupertino, California -- flags flew at half-staff and bagpipes sounded to the tune of “Amazing Grace” as people placed flowers around a white iPad with a picture of Jobs, who died yesterday at 56, after a battle with cancer. Mourners flocked to Apple stores from New York to Hong Kong, while a crowd gathered in San Francisco’s Mission Dolores Park for an iPhone-lit vigil.

“Part of the narrative that made Apple what it is today goes out with Steve Jobs,” said Christopher Smith, 40, a former business development manager in San Francisco who joined the vigil. “I came out to honor the fact that one man with vision, courage and unwavering dedication can still change the world. The way that I communicate and the way that I interact with the world is through things that Steve Jobs has created.”

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates and Sony Corp. Chairman Howard Stringer were among leaders who expressed admiration for the man who built the world’s most valuable technology company. President Barack Obama and former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair also issued statements of sympathy.

Jobs’s Home

“Michelle and I are saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Jobs,” Obama said in a statement. “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.”

While Apple plans a celebration for staff, it doesn’t intend to hold a public ceremony, a person familiar with the matter said.

Teary-eyed mourners left flowers in front of Jobs’s modest home at the corner of Waverly Street and Santa Rita Avenue in Palo Alto, California. Neighborhood children drew hearts with markers and left them on the ground for others to leave messages. Policemen stood watch, barricading the street.

“Here’s a guy who’s a billionaire and lives in a regular neighborhood, not behind a gated estate with all the security guards,” said Bruce Gee, a former Apple employee who drove up to the house from his home a couple miles away. “On Halloween, people go trick or treating there like everyone else.”

At the San Francisco Apple store near Union Square, Steve Streza, 24, stood holding an iPad displaying Apple’s homepage image of Jobs and the words “Steve Jobs: 1955-2011.”

‘Regular Guy’

“Macs were the reason I got into product development,” said Streza, a developer at readitlater.com who grew up with Mac computers. “If it weren’t for Steve Jobs and Macs, my life would probably be in a completely different place right now.”

Steve Somerstein, who says he met Jobs several times since 1986, recalled the time when he bumped into Jobs while apartment hunting in Palo Alto.

“He was just a regular guy,” said Somerstein, who was at the Palo Alto store. “I congratulated him on the company and hoped it was going to do well. I didn’t even own an Apple at that point. He was about 10 years younger than me and just a nice kid.”

Ron Kent, a food-truck owner who was at the Palo Alto store, likened Jobs to Michelangelo, the renaissance-era artist who painted the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

“He’s the visionary of our time,” Kent said.

‘RIP Steve Jobs’

Some mourned via social media sites. More than 20 “RIP Steve Jobs” pages sprung up on Facebook within hours of the announced passing of Jobs. News of Jobs’s death slowed the mobile websites of CNN and the Washington Post, according to Keynote Systems Inc., which tracks website performance.

“Steve Jobs,” the biography written by former Time magazine editor Walter Isaacson, scheduled for release Nov. 21, was the best seller on Amazon.com Inc.’s website.

In New York, Jared and Alexi Roth, 33 and 31, left two red apples by the wall outside the Apple store on Broadway in the Upper West Side.

“We were literally walking by a market on Broadway when Jared got a text saying Steve Jobs died,” Alexi said. “We saw the apples and just thought it would be appropriate.”

Across the ocean, Charanis Chiu, walked in front of the Apple store in Hong Kong to place a sunflower, the logo of the photo-viewing application on the iPhone.

“A lot of companies such as Microsoft and Nokia are following in his direction,” said Chiu, a vendor of photographic equipment. “Apple will continue to grow as long as they are going in the right direction.”

‘Insanely Great Honor’

At the store in Shanghai’s Lujiazui district, an area of about three square meters was set aside at the front for people to pay tribute to Jobs.

Microsoft’s Gates praised the man who for decades was both a rival and a partner in the personal-computer industry.

“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,” Gates 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.”

Stephen Elop, chief executive officer of Nokia Oyj, said the world lost a “true visionary” in Jobs’s passing.

Sachio Kitagawa, 45, was on her way with her son to the Apple store in the Ginza shopping district of Tokyo when she heard the news of Jobs’s passing.

“He should receive the Nobel prize,” said Kitagawa, who’s used Apple products for 20 years. “I have a second child who is disabled and even he can use the Macintosh. It shows you how user-friendly Apple products are.”

‘Thank You’

Outside the Apple store a short walk from Frankfurt’s financial institutions, sunflowers, gerbera daisies and roses were laid alongside a burning candle.

“He forged designs which appealed to the mass market and developed technology which you can now find in museums -- not because of its age, but because it was groundbreaking,” said Guenther Uttecht, a 60-year-old artist who uses Apple products to work on abstract photos as he left the shop.

At the entrance of the store on Regents Street in London lay a white rose with a hand-written note saying “Rip Steve Jobs. With love from Instagramers London and all Instagramers around the world. You gave us life. Thank you x”. Next to it a passerby had left an apple with a bite out of it, imitating the brand’s iconic logo, alongside a bouquet of lillies.

On Rue Halevy, just behind Opera Garnier in central Paris, flowers were tucked into the doors of the Apple store. One bouquet had a card from Mario Baluci, the creative artist at Carre Senart, that said, “Thank you, Steve.”

In Singapore, Georgina Koh, 30, recalled the man who inspired her to open her own accessory shop.

“The world should remember Steve Jobs’s famous quote ‘Stay Hungry, Stay foolish,’” said Koh, a former Apple worker, in reference to Jobs’s Stanford University commencement speech in 2005. “It’s an honor to have been associated with Apple. It is a company built by a man relentless about creating beautiful products that have changed our lives.”

--With assistance from Devin Banerjee in New York, Daniel Petrie in Sydney, Tim Culpan in Taipei, Weiyi Lim in Singapore, Michelle Yun and Mark Lee in Hong Kong, Cheng Herng Shinn, Makoto Miyazaki and Terje Langeland in Tokyo, Vidya Root in Paris, Alex Webb in Frankfurt, Katie Linsell in London and Bloomberg News in Shanghai. Editors: Young-Sam Cho, Kenneth Wong.

To contact the reporters on this story: Dina Bass in Seattle at dbass2@bloomberg.net; Douglas Macmillan in New York at dmacmillan3@bloomberg.net; Danielle Kucera in New York at dkucera6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net


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