Jobs 'lived his life on his own terms'
Intensely private, he spent final weeks mostly with wife and kids
NEW YORK: Over the past few months, a steady stream of visitors to Palo Alto, California, called an old friend's home number and asked if he was well enough to see them, perhaps for the last time.
In February, Mr Steve Jobs had learnt that, after years of fighting cancer, his time was becoming shorter. He quietly told a few acquaintances, and they, in turn, whispered to others. And so a pilgrimage began.
The calls trickled in at first. Just a few, then dozens, and in recent weeks, a nearly endless stream of people who wanted a few moments to say goodbye, according to people close to Mr Jobs.
Most were intercepted by his wife Laurene, who would apologetically explain that he was too tired to receive many visitors. Some asked if they might try again the next day. Sorry, she replied. He had only so much energy for farewells.
The man who valued his privacy almost as much as his ability to leave his mark on the world had decided whom he most needed to see before he left.
Mr Jobs spent his final weeks - as he had spent most of his life - in tight control of his choices. He invited a close friend, the physician Dean Ornish, a preventive health advocate, to join him for sushi at one of his favourite restaurants, Jin Sho, in Palo Alto.
He said goodbye to long-time colleagues including venture capitalist John Doerr, Apple board member Bill Campbell and Disney's chief executive Robert Iger. He offered Apple's executives advice on unveiling the iPhone 4S, which took place on Tuesday. He spoke to his biographer Walter Isaacson. He also started a new drug regime.
But, mostly, he spent time with his wife and children - who will now oversee a fortune of at least US$6.5 billion (S$8.4 billion), and take on responsibility for tending to the Jobs legacy. The couple have two daughters, Eve and Erin, and a son, Reed. There is also Lisa, his daughter from a previous relationship.
'Steve made choices,' Dr Ornish said. 'I once asked him if he was glad that he had kids, and he said, 'It's 10,000 times better than anything I've ever done'.
'But for Steve, it was all about living life on his own terms and not wasting a moment with things he didn't think were important.'
Mr Jobs' biographer, whose book will be published in two weeks, asked Mr Jobs why so private a man had consented to the questions of someone writing a book.
'I wanted my kids to know me,' Mr Jobs replied, Mr Isaacson wrote on Thursday in an essay on Time.com.
'I wasn't always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.'
Because of that privacy, little is known yet of what his heirs will do with his wealth. Unlike many prominent business people, Mr Jobs never disclosed plans to give large amounts to charity. His shares in Disney, which he acquired when the entertainment company bought his animated film company Pixar, are worth about US$4.4 billion. That is double the US$2.1 billion value of his shares in Apple, perhaps surprising given he is best known for the computer company he founded.
Mr Jobs' emphasis on secrecy, say acquaintances, led him to shy away from large public donations. At one point, he was asked by Microsoft founder Bill Gates to give a majority of his wealth to philanthropy alongside a number of prominent executives like Mr Gates and Mr Warren Buffett. But Mr Jobs declined, according to a person with direct knowledge of his decision.
Now that he is gone, many people expect that attention will focus on his wife, who has largely avoided the spotlight but is expected to oversee his fortune. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, she worked in investment banking before founding a natural foods company.
She then founded College Track, a programme that pairs disadvantaged students with mentors who help them earn college degrees. That has led to some speculation in the philanthropic community that any large charitable contributions might go to education, although no one outside Mr Jobs' inner circle is thought to know of the plans.
'Steve's concerns these last few weeks were for people who depended on him: the people who worked for him at Apple and his four children and his wife,' said his sister Mona. 'His tone was tenderly apologetic at the end. He felt terrible that he would have to leave us.'
He turned down offers to attend farewell dinners and accept various awards. On the days he was well enough to go to Apple's offices, all he wanted afterwards was to return home and have dinner with his family.
'He was very human,' Dr Ornish said. 'He was so much more of a real person than most people know. That's what made him so great.'
NEW YORK TIMES
Jobs' charity record queried
Low philanthropic profile of late Apple guru gives rise to speculation about his estate
WASHINGTON: For one of the nation's most famous billionaires, Mr Steve Jobs kept a low profile as a charitable donor.
Unlike fellow technology leaders Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, he did not sign the Giving Pledge, the effort under which the richest individuals in the United States commit to giving at least half of their wealth to philanthropy.
His name is absent from the list of gifts of US$1 million (S$1.3 million) or more maintained by Indiana University's Centre on Philanthropy.
And it was not until after an unflattering media report about Mr Jobs on the subject that Apple last month initiated a 'matching gifts' programme, under which donations to philanthropic organisations made by employees are matched by the company.
Now what will happen to Mr Jobs' fortune - estimated at US$8.3 billion by Forbes - is a matter of speculation that is provoking discussion about him and the societal obligations of the very rich.
The most recent round of debate began after The New York Times published an unflattering piece in August, saying 'there is no public record of Mr Jobs giving money to charity... Nor is there a hospital wing or an academic building with his name on it'.
Moreover, Mr Jobs had closed Apple's philanthropic programmes when he returned to the firm in 1997 and never reinstated them despite a profit of US$14 billion last year, the Times reported.
'Many other innovative companies have found ways to apply their ingenuity and resources to helping society,' Mr Vincent Stehle, a long-time grant-maker in non-profit technology circles, said on Thursday. 'It was a little disappointing not to see Apple at the table.'
But Mr Jobs' supporters said the bulk of his contributions to society may reside in the quality of and innovation in Apple products. They also pointed out ways that he and Apple have been charitable.
U2 lead singer Bono quickly responded to the Times article, saying: 'Apple's contribution to our fight against Aids in Africa has been invaluable.'
The company had given 'tens of millions of dollars that have transformed the lives of more than two million Africans through HIV testing, treatment and counselling. And Apple's involvement has encouraged other companies to step up,' he wrote.
Mr Jobs' supporters said it also may be impossible to know from public records what he gave away because he could have requested anonymity.
The fact that he does not appear on lists of public giving 'doesn't necessarily mean that he's not giving generously', said Centre on Philanthropy spokesman Adriene Davis.
Mr Jobs' most direct effort at philanthropy was when he set up the Steven P. Jobs Foundation, shortly after he was forced out of Apple in 1985.
To run that, he hired Mr Mark Vermilion to head Apple's community efforts. He wanted the foundation to focus on nutrition and vegetarianism but was tied up building another firm and it shut down.
'He's received a lot of criticism for not giving away tonnes of money,' Mr Vermilion said.
'But I think it's a bum rap. There are only so many hours in a week, and he created so many incredible products. He really contributed to culture and society.'
Apple tribute snags creator offers
HONG KONG: A Hong Kong design student said yesterday that he was overwhelmed and 'flattered' after his sombre logo in tribute to Apple founder Steve Jobs became a worldwide Internet sensation.
The design, featuring Mr Jobs' silhouette incorporated into the bite of a white Apple logo on a black background, has gone viral on the Internet since news of his death on Wednesday.
'I feel so unreal,' Mr Jonathan Mak, a second-year graphic design student at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, told Agence France-Presse, after he was inundated by hundreds of e-mail and messages on his Twitter account.
'I will consider using any proceeds I make from the copyright for cancer research.'
Hong Kong design student Jonathan Mak
The 19-year-old said he had received queries from newspapers in the United States and Germany about buying the copyright to use his logo and had been offered jobs after it spread like wildfire on the Internet.
'I am flattered by the attention but I would like to focus on my study before taking on any full-time job,' said the bespectacled student, adding that he was trying to cope with his new-found fame.
'I'm quite busy now actually as I'm trying to finish a school project,' he said.
When asked about whether he would be targeting commercial opportunities, Mr Mak said he was considering contacting Apple on copyright issues because his design is based on Apple's own logo.
Some merchandisers have reportedly used his logo for commemorative memorabilia for Mr Jobs such as T-shirts and caps that are being sold on the Internet.
'I will consider using any proceeds I make from the copyright for cancer research, as suggested by some people to me on the Internet,' he said. Mr Jobs died at 56 of pancreatic cancer.
Mr Mak said he first came up with the design after Mr Jobs announced his resignation in late August, but the logo received little attention at the time.
The teenager said the Apple founder had inspired him in his design.
'He was a minimalist, which is the way I would like to emphasise in my design - fewer elements but a powerful message.'
'Steve Jobs strongly believed in his own ideas and continued with his beliefs no matter how people criticised him. He was courageous,' said Mr Mak.