Inside iPhone creator Steve Jobs’ life – all-fruit diet and tragic early death

It feels like smartphones have been around forever, but as Apple marks the sixteenth anniversary of the first iPhone, it's easy to forget how far technology has come since 2007.

The world has undeniably transformed since Steve Jobs took to the stage to announce 'one more thing': the first smartphone with a full gesture-based touchscreen and many of the features that would go on to define every device used by people today.

But the iPhone nearly never happened. Before the visionary Apple co-founder returned to the helm, the company was on the brink of financial ruin. Steve Jobs swooped in, turned things around, and gave the world the Apple iPod and the iPhone.

Fondly remembered as the 'billion dollar hippy', Steve Jobs led a truly remarkable life before his untimely death at age 63 of pancreatic cancer. Famously, he was a Buddhist and lived mostly off of fruit as a pioneer of 'fruitarianism'. But things weren't always easy.

From dropping out of school to getting divorced and going bankrupt, here's the incredible true story of Steve Jobs' life 16 years after the birth of the iPhone revolution.

Why did Steve Jobs drop out of college?

Apple was famously founded by Jobs and his friend, Steve 'Woz' Wozniak, who both dropped out of university in the 1970s to focus on building computers.

The pair are famously held up as examples of why not everyone needs to go to university to become a success, but it hasn't always been clear why Jobs left school prematurely.

At a Stanford University graduation ceremony in 2005, Jobs made a speech where he explained why he left school early.

Telling the students it was the closest he had ever come to a graduation, Jobs said: "All of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out.

"And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made."

In 1976, Jobs and 'Woz' founded Apple in their parents' garage at just 20 years old. Within 10 years, Apple grew into a £1.5 billion company with 4000 employees and had released the first ever PC, the Macintosh computer.

But within a year, Jobs was fired from the company he had started.

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Steve Jobs got fired from Apple – and said he 'needed it'

Many people wonder how Steve Jobs could be fired from a company he founded, but as Apple grew bigger and bigger, office politics set in.

Apple had hired a businessman, Michael Scott, as its CEO. While this initially gave Jobs more time to be creative and focus on new products, a disagreement in strategy between the two eventually led to a boardroom bust-up that forced Jobs out.

Looking back on this period, Jobs said: "What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating."

"I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith."

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From unemployment to founding Pixar and meeting the love of his life

After some soul-searching, Jobs founded a new computer company called NeXT, as well as a small digital animation studio called Pixar—the world's most successful animation studio which created Toy Story, Monsters Inc, and Up.

Around the same time, he met Laurene Powell shortly after the debut of the NeXT computer. While he was giving a lecture at a university, Laurene arrived late and got a front-row seat. At the time, she didn't know who Jobs was and thought he was Bill Gates.

Eventually, Jobs asked Powell out and proposed to her on January 1st, 1990.

They had a Zen Buddhist wedding in 1991 and ate a vegan wedding cake. Happily married for 25 years, the couple gave birth to three children, Erin, Sienna, and Eve.

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Return to Apple and changing the world with 'limited time'

Six years after marrying Laurene, Jobs' computer company NeXT was bought out by Apple, which at the time had fired around a third of its staff and was reportedly '90 days' from bankruptcy.

Jobs took up the mantle of CEO at the company he founded and spent the next ten years laser-focused on building the Apple gadgets that would change the world: the iPod and the iPhone.

Part of what drove him to deliver these innovations was an early pancreatic cancer diagnosis in 2003. Jobs was given six months to live and told to get his affairs in order.

In a speech, Jobs explained the profound effect the cancer diagnosis had on him: "Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.

"Because almost everything all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important."

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life."

Steve Jobs died eight years after his diagnosis at the age of 56. In those eight years, Apple released the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, iTunes, and the Macbook—technology that would change the course of human history.

Jobs ultimately proved that, even in the face of premature death, it was possible to live by his mantra: "Stay hungry, stay foolish."

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