Mr. Jobs’s negotiation of personal relationships has been, by reputation, fraught and idiosyncratic. But whose isn’t? And whatever his interpersonal challenges, a different kind of warmth is also apparent. An image that will become part of the Jobs lore, inevitably, is his extraordinary determination to cling to life, at least partly for the benefit of the company he created and the customers he accrued. His unpathetic willingness to show his withered self in order to introduce to the world the latest wonders of Apple product development was painful and glorious to watch.
What comes to mind now is a forgotten PBS show in the 1980s that tried to explain what was then known as the “quality revolution” in business. Interviewed was some wise old MIT professor who said, if memory serves, “Quality is love.” Mr. Jobs’s determination to make superb products was, one likes to think, an expression of love for the world, life and possibility.
“I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it,” he said in his announcement this week, perhaps his one concession to ordinary sentimentality, for it seems impossible that Apple, or any company, could anticipate another run like Apple’s in the 10 years since the iPod’s introduction.