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It’s 1am and the temperature has dropped much lower than what it should be for an Autumn night, but that hasn’t stopped people from coming to the flagship Apple store on 5th Avenue in New York, to pay their respects to the man at the heart of it all. The spray-paint on the side of one of the construction walls says it all: iLove Steve.
Steve Jobs is being remembered on Twitter and other social media sites, as people take to the online world he helped to create with his innovative products to express their sadness at his death. But it’s the fact that there are many who will come out in the cold, late night to physically lay down a bouquet of flowers or a red apple with a chunk bitten out of it, that speaks to the kind of legacy Jobs left behind — beyond the inventions and designs.
Outside the store, which is open 24 hours a day even while it’s currently undergoing renovations, a small shrine dedicated to Jobs is being created, as one by one people stop by to pay tribute, from notes quoting Jobs’ famous Stanford speech to a make-shift trademark Apple Mac box. These tributes are physical representations from people who inhabit an online world — with their Macs, iPhones, and iPads. But a common love for these items and what they represent has brought them to this spot where they can connect with others, however briefly, and leave a message of thanks to the spirit of Jobs.
A consultant who was on his way home felt he had to stop by and put his iPad in the middle of the bouquets of flowers that had been laid down, Jobs’ face beaming on it, with the dates 1955-2011 written across. He says he owes so much to Jobs because the iPad has helped him do his job in a way that he never was able to before it was created.
Another man — a graphic designer — came all the way from Queens to be at the store the night he found out Jobs had died. “I’m here simply because I feel that I needed to do something to express how I feel,” he says. “I’ve never met him, but I have followed him for 8 years. Every business decision, every move he’s made, I’ve been there. Whether I’ve agreed or disagreed with those moves, I felt close to every endeavour he’s ever taken on.”
“The last great thing he did, which he re-invented really, the iPad really defines me, who I am now. Being in the creative industry, the products he has created have shaped how I design, and how I look at everything around me. So much of that has been influenced by Apple under Jobs,” he says. As he speaks, a man next to him lays down a handwritten note that begins: To the greatest businessman of all time. He puts a cracked, first edition iPhone 3 on it. “I owe so much to this guy,” he says. “We all do,” he goes on.
“You’ll see, in one, two years’ time people will see just how much this guy meant. So I’m leaving my old phone here. I guarantee it will be here in the morning, even if this is New York City. I’m going to leave it there for him — for Steve Jobs.” It’s a small act but it’s a fitting tribute to a man who’s influence was just as great offline as it was on.