When Steve Jobs, the founder and visionary behind one of the most important technological companies in the modern world died on Wednesday at the age of 56, he left behind a legacy of innovative consumer gadgets for computing, phone and music markets.
Jobs, who started Apple from a California garage 35 years ago, is being remembered today as a visionary by people ranging from President Barack Obama to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who said, "Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world."
Obama called Jobs "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."
"The world has lost a visionary,” he continued, “And there may be no greater tribute to Steve’s success than the fact that much of the world learned of his passing on a device he invented," Obama said in a statement.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates praised Jobs saying, "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."
At the Apple Store at The Mall at Short Hills, the usually white-lighted apple above the entryway was dark in memory of the company’s founder.
Otherwise, it was business as usual, with customers lined up outside the store for appointments before it even opened.
Brett Michel of Randolph, N.J., a longtime Mac user, was looking at iPads because his wife is interested in getting one.
Being at the Apple store the day after Jobs’ death made him consider the contributions Jobs had made to the culture.
“You can see the result of his work right here,” he said, looking around at all the technology in the room. “It’s an amazing legacy to have. I think what makes it so accessible is the simplicity of the design. And it's so easy to use.”
At the tennis club where he works, he said, there’s an old white Apple desktop up on a shelf that his boss won’t part with.
“That thing’s a classic,” he said.
Jobs' legacy was sure to live on—the customers in the store ranged in age from retirees to college students to mothers with children in strollers.
As Karen Rooney waited for service while her 3-year-old daughter navigated her way around a Dora the Explorer program set up for kids in the service area.
“Believe it or not, she’s even better on a iPad,” Rooney said.
She said hers is definitely an Apple household—they have three iPods, a Macbook and an iPhone.
“It’s just a way of life now,” she said, adding that she thought about that and about Steve Jobs’ impact on her way to the mall from her home in New Providence.
“It’s really something,” she said.