Jobs never designed a computer in his life, but it was because of him that Apple products, even when they do largely what other products do, are perceived to be different and infinitely more cool.
The Macintosh introduced the world to the computer mouse; the i Pod became famous for its click wheel, and the i Phone for its "user-interface" – a sophisticated touch-screen that responds to the flick of a finger.
Jobs emphasised the difference between Macs and the PCs that ran Microsoft software, managing to preserve Apple's image as a plucky, creative, insurgent against the bland Microsoft behemoth even as Apple itself became the biggest company on the planet. "I only wish that at some time in his life he had dropped acid or spent time at an ashram." It was a marketing trick that Jobs worked on consumers too, convincing them that purchasing Apple products somehow conferred membership of an exclusive and visionary club, even when it was transparently obvious that the company's devices were utterly ubiquitous.
"I skate to where the puck is going to be," he explained, using an ice hockey metaphor, "not where it has been." This inspired almost evangelical devotion among techno-geeks.
Jobs was not just the brains behind Apple, he was high-priest of the "Mac" religion.
His eagerly anticipated "Mac World" shows were adulatory affairs akin to revivalist rallies, with Jobs, in black turtleneck, jeans and trainers, preaching the message that salvation lay in Apple's latest gadget.
The Jobs story – humble birth, rise and fall, miraculous comeback – was even likened by Apple fanatics to the life of Christ.
For the less blasphemously-inclined it proved that the American Dream is alive and well.