Steve Jobs, innovator, pioneer with profound impact on autos, dead at 56

Steve Jobs, founder and former CEO of Apple, has passed away at the age of 56.

While we here at Leftlane may not normally cover news pertaining to tech-based companies or their personnel, we unanimously concluded that a man of Steve Jobs' stature and with his level of contributions deserved nothing less than a tribute for all he has given us.

Apple announced this evening that Jobs, 56, the man that arguably had more influence on technology in today's cars than any other single man in recent times, passed peacefully after a seven-year battle with cancer.

While many of us may not stop to think just how profound of an influence Jobs has had on the auto industry, it takes the mention of just a single product to remind us: iPod. Launched in 2001, the iPod has likely become the most ubiquitous device in the industry, and arguably the single most important catalyst for the current push for advanced infotainment systems.

Think about it. A man that has never spent a day actually employed by a single company in the auto industry invented something that resulted in a feature found on close to 100 percent of vehicles produced today.

Jobs' contributions to the auto industry and the world alike were so profound that they have invoked words of praise and respect from Apple's biggest competitors, like Sony chairman and CEO Sir Howard Stringer, who said, "The digital age has lost its leading light, but Steve's innovation and creativity will inspire dreamers and thinkers for generations."

Or his biggest competitor, Microsoft's Bill Gates, who said, "Steve and I first met nearly 30 years ago, and have been colleagues, competitors and friends over the course of more than half our lives. 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. For those of us lucky enough to get to work with him, it's been an insanely great honor. I will miss Steve immensely."

Although most will likely remember Jobs for contributions in the forms of gadgets and gizmos that make our lives easier and more enjoyable, it will be his soul, his passion, his generosity, kind heart and profound statements that will forever withstand the test of time.

Likely no truer now than ever before, Jobs once commented in May of 1993, that "Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me... Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful-that's what matters me."

Few can argue that you did something wonderful, Mr. Jobs. Rest in peace - you will be missed everywhere.