Steve Jobs was grieved around the world Thursday through the very devices he conceived: People held up pictures of candles on their iPads, reviewed his life on Macintosh computers and tapped out tributes on iPhones.
One day after his death, two days after Apple introduced the latest incarnation of a touch-screen phone that touched pop culture, sadness and admiration poured out — not for a rock star, not for a religious figure, but for an American corporate executive.
“He was a genius,” Rosario Hidalgo said outside an Apple Store on the Upper West Side of Manhattan while her daughter, 21-month-old Carlotta, used an iPhone to play an app that teaches children to match animal sounds to animal pictures.
By people who have grown up in a world where iPod headphones are as ubiquitous as wristwatches were to a previous generation, Jobs was remembered as their Elvis Presley or John Lennon. Perhaps even their Thomas Edison.
“It’s like the end of the innovators,” said Scott Robbins, 34, who described himself as an Apple fan of 20 years and who rushed to an Apple Store in San Francisco when he heard the news.
Apple announced Jobs’ death Wednesday night and remembered him as a “visionary and creative genius.” The company announced no cause of death, but Jobs had been diagnosed with a rare pancreatic cancer seven years ago and had a liver transplant in 2009. He was 56.
On Thursday, the Apple website, which usually features slick presentations of multicolored iPods and ever-thinner MacBook laptop computers, simply displayed a black-and-white photo of Jobs, thumb and finger to his beard as if in contemplation.
Around the world, tributes sprang up of the highest and lowest technology.
In the Ginza shopping district of Tokyo, people held up iPhones and iPads, their screens facing outward and displaying sharply defined, touchable graphics of flickering candles.
At an Apple Store in Hong Kong, old and new means of grief came together: People scribbled “RIP” and “We miss Steve” and longer notes of condolence on Post-It notes, and stuck them to an iPad display.
And at the 24-hour Apple Store in midtown Manhattan, the remembrances were more traditional. Passersby left flowers and candles, actual ones. Even there, people snapped pictures of the memorial with their iPhones.
“I was so saddened. For me it was like Michael Jackson or Princess Diana — that magnitude,” Stephen Jarjoura said at the Apple Store in Sydney. His said Jobs left a legacy to rival Edison and Albert Einstein.
Philippe Meunier, a senior partner of a Canadian ad agency who was visiting New York from Montreal, reflected on how weird it was to receive the news of Jobs’ death on the phone he invented.
Apple has sold 129 million iPhones and 29 million iPads. And in the decade since it revolutionized the music industry by offering “1,000 songs in your pocket,” it has sold 300 million iPods, or roughly enough to outfit every person in the United States.
His death came two days after Tim Cook, who took over as Apple CEO when Jobs stepped down in August, introduced the iPhone 4S. It was the first time in years Apple had launched a major product without Jobs to preside over the release in his trademark jeans.
In a measure of his impact on personal technology, Jobs was venerated by his fiercest competitors in the hours after his death.
Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, a company that Apple once treated as Goliath to its David, then blew past in market value, said it was “an insanely great honor” to have known Jobs. A statement of grief came from Sony, whose Walkman and Discman were buried by the iPod.
Google added a link to the Apple site on its famously minimalist search page. Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, thanked him for changing the world.
To the extent that there is an online version of the old-time public square, it was overrun Thursday by remembrances of Jobs.
On Twitter, where the most popular “trending” topics change by the hour, “ThankYouSteve” and “iSad” were still high on the list a day after his death.
On Facebook, people posted revisions of the Apple logo, a stylized apple with a detached leaf and a half-moon bite taken out. One added a frown and tears to the apple. Another replaced the bite with a silhouette of Jobs himself.
Heads of state around the world added their thoughts. President Barack Obama said Jobs exemplified American ingenuity. Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon bemoaned the loss of “one of the most visionary minds of our times.” India’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, said he was “deeply saddened.”