June 2009 - Jobs returns to work
Jobs last left Apple in January 2009, a six-month leave of absence that was due to "complex health issues." The last time, as is the case in his current hiatus, Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook was left in charge.
Jobs returned to work in June 2009 after he underwent a liver transplant at Methodist University Hospital in Tennessee.
The Apple co-founder wasted little time to return to the stage for one of his trademark keynotes in September 2009. It was his first public appearance in nearly a year, earning Jobs a standing ovation at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
"I'm very happy to be here today with you all," Jobs said in 2009. "As some of you know, about five months ago I had a liver transplant. I now have the liver of a mid-20s person who died in a car crash and was generous enough to donate their organs."
"I am alive because of their generosity," he added. "I hope we all can be that generous. I'd like to thank everyone in the Apple community for their concern. It means a lot. I'd like to thank Tim Cook, and everyone at Apple who rose to the occasion. Thank you guys."
Jobs' appearance in September 2009 would prove to only be a teaser for the real main event to come.
Steve Jobs was spotted back on Apple's campus in June 2009 by TMZ.
Jan. 2010 - Introducing the iPad
Buzz continued to build for months that Apple was planning to release a touchscreen tablet and spiritual successor to the Newton. That speculation reached a fever pitch in early 2010, when Apple sent out invitations teasing that it would unveil a new product to the masses.
At a keynote on Jan. 27, 2010, Jobs again took the stage to unveil the iPad. One report alleged that Jobs believes the iPad is the most important thing he's ever done in his storied career at Apple.
Jobs would later explain that he believes the iPad and devices like it will bring about the transition to a post-PC era, where new form factors and smaller devices will represent most users' computing needs.
The Apple co-founder recalled that the U.S. automobile industry was previously dominated by larger trucks, which were driven by farmers. But smaller, more compact cars became more popular as cities grew and features like power steering and automatic transmission were added to the cars.
"PCs are going to be like trucks," Jobs said, noting that they will still be around, but will represent a smaller number of people.
Steve Jobs at the Palo Alto Apple Store for the iPad launch. Photo credit Cedric Lignier.
It took little time for the iPad to exceed the Mac in terms of sales. In just its second quarter of availability, the iPad bested the Mac, as Apple sold 4.19 million of its tablet, versus 3.89 million of the Mac.
April 2010 - Jobs slams Adobe Flash
Jobs' disdain for Adobe Flash was no secret, but in April 2010 he laid his opinions bare for all to see in an open letter he published on Apple's website. In it, he slammed the browser plugin as unfit for the modern era of computing.
The comments served to justify why Flash has not been allowed on Apple's mobile devices powered by the iOS operating system, like the iPhone and iPad. Jobs said that Flash is inefficient in consuming system resources, leading to shorter battery life on mobile devices.
He said that the poor performance of Flash on traditional computers has proven that Adobe's application runtime should not be allowed on iOS devices.
"Flash is the number one reason Macs crash," Jobs wrote. "We have been working with Adobe to fix these problems, but they have persisted for several years now."