7. The Death of Steve Jobs
In many of Steve Jobs's obituaries, the word "genius" seemed to follow within 20 letters of his name. Although some of the coverage bordered on hagiography, the accounts also provided an opportunity for an extended meditation on the nature of technological innovation. In an age of open systems, Apple under Jobs had put in place a culture that tried to strive for unyielding control over the location and positioning of every screw and solder joint in its products.
Jobs's death came at a new peak of success for the company. After many earlier ups and downs, the company had brought to market during the 2000s an array of stunning new offerings: sleek desktop and notebook computers; the iPod, iTunes, the iPhone, the iPad and glass retail stores that seem to serve as magnets for technophiles of every age.
Jobs was infamous for his overbearing management style and sometimes poor treatment of employees. But Apple's achievements may not have resulted from such controlling behavior: James Surowiecki of The New Yorker[commented that this unparalleled success came as Jobs decided to ease up slightly on the compulsiveness button. In an earlier incarnation, Jobs would have never allowed "apps" written by outsiders to run on his machines. Yet the ubiquity of the app has also helped Apple flourish, creating as Surowiecki put it, "market ecosystems" that brought the company to new levels of power and profits.—Gary Stix
See our In-Depth Report, "Steve Jobs: A Technology Visionary Leaves a Huge Legacy"
Image: Courtesy of Spaceageboy/Flickr
8. Gene Therapy Makes a Comeback
6. The End of the Space Shuttle Program