Steve Jobs

There will be plenty of time for analysis of what now happens at Apple and whether the company can retain is extraordinary leadership of the world of technology, but my first reaction to the resignation of Steve Jobs as its chief executive is sadness.

Mr Jobs, at the age of only 56, stands as one of the great business leaders – arguably the greatest – of the postwar era. For the past 30 years, he has not only led the wave of technological change emanating from Silicon Valley – the personal computer, the internet, the tablet – but stamped his aesthetic on the world.

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Every year, Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference turns into “Apple week”. The tech world holds its collective breath for the company’s latest list of announcements.

But this year had an extra twist: a spaceship spotted in Cupertino.

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Tech news from around the web:

  • Apple chief executive Steve Jobs has agreed to participate in a book about his life, ABC reports. Simon & Schuster announced on Sunday that Walter Isaacson’s “iSteve: The Book of Jobs” will be published in early 2012.

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David Gelles

Apple is returning to its favourite venue for product launches on March 2, hosting an event at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the Arts where it is expected to unveil the iPad 2, according to people familiar with the plans.

The company has reserved the main stage at the multifunction venue for next Wednesday, marking a return to the site where it last year launched the original iPad and the iPhone 4Read more

Tech news from around the web:

  • Facebook has booked $1.86bn in worldwide advertising revenue for 2010 – an 86 per cent  increase over the estimated 2009 advertising revenue of $740m, according to Advertising Age. The majority of these bookings come from outside the US and from small and medium-sized companies.
  • Gizmodo claims it has a basic sketch of the next-generation iPad. New features include cameras on the front and back of the tablet, which points to a FaceTime facility; a high-resolution Retina display; and a slot for SD memory cards.

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Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, told employees on Monday that the company has granted him a medical leave of absence but said that he would continue as chief executive and remain involved in major strategic decisions. Read more

Joseph Menn

Apple just called to invite the FT to a press conference “about iPhone 4″ to be held at its Cupertino headquarters on Friday morning at 10 a.m.

The company wouldn’t say anything else, but given the events of the past week, it’s hard to imagine that Apple would be having such a rare audience to announce, say, an upgrade to the FaceTime video calling feature.

No, in the present climate, “about the iPhone 4″ means that Apple finally has something more concrete to say about the reception issues that have been frustrating many buyers of Apple’s latest mobile phone. Read more

Joseph Menn

Apple’s decision in the past 24 hours to ban links from its customer-support discussion forums to a Consumer Reports post calling for Apple to fix the reception issues in the iPhone 4 predictably backfired today, leading to increased pressure on the company.

With the stock falling 2 per cent on an otherwise buoyant day for the sector, many tech observers and Wall Street analysts said dropped calls in areas of weak reception had been established as an antenna hardware issue and that the easiest solution was to offer the company’s $29 bumpers for free.

That would cost Apple about 1 per cent of its operating profit, estimated Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray. Read more

Joseph Menn

Apple CEO Steve Jobs said on Tuesday night that personal computers running rival Microsoft’s Windows operating system are in a permanent decline and that only a fraction of current users will still rely on them in the future.

In a rare onstage interview at the D: All Things Digital conference, Mr Jobs compared the fate of the PC to trucks in agrarian America. The dominant vehicle when farming was the way most people earned a living, they were vastly outnumbered by cars when the country became more urbanised. Read more

David Gelles

To the critics, fanboys and sceptics who have been waiting for Apple iPad for months, today’s first impressions ranged from elation to exasperation.

Writing at Slate.com, Farhad Manjoo said the iPad is the second computer he’s been looking for. “I wanted a flat, portable, easy-to-use machine that I could use for e-mail and reading the Web,” he writes. “The iPad is that device. Jobs described it as the perfect hybrid of a laptop and a phone, and I agree. Everything about it—its size, shape, weight, and fantastically intuitive user interface—feels just right.” Read more