10/06/2011 08:53 EDT | Updated 12/06/2011 05:12 EST

Steve Jobs Dead: Canada's Tech Community Remembers Apple's 'Visionary'


TORONTO - A stream of fans and passersby stopped outside Apple stores across the country on Thursday to pay their respects to founder Steve Jobs, with some leaving messages and gifts as part of impromptu memorials.

Jobs, 56, died Wednesday after a battle with cancer, sparking an outpouring of condolences from average Canadians and business leaders alike.

Outside the Apple store in Toronto's Eaton Centre a steady stream of customers paused, many pulling out their iPhones to snap pictures of the growing number of tributes left outside the store's front window.

"SJ, thanks for everything. Your legacy will live on," said one note left in front of the store, signed by Dreamstate Seven.

Several bouquets of flowers were scattered alongside an iPod Classic and a few apples left by the entrance.

Wendy Wang took a bite out of the apple she left behind, making sure it matched the company's logo.

"Even though this person has no relation to us at all, I wanted to be here just to say farewell," she said.

"I'm not a big fan of Apple products, but I do have a few."

Stephanie Loh, an employee at KPMG, owns two iPhones, one for phone calls and another to play games.

"Apple has changed a lot of people's lives," she said.

"You see everyday people with their face to their phones, and most of the time it's an iPhone."

At the downtown store in Montreal, located at one of the city's busiest intersections, several printed black and white pictures of Steve Jobs laid alongside the collections of flowers and apples.

One read: "Remembering Steve Jobs, the genius, the greatest."

Antonia Williams said she has tried RIM's BlackBerry but is sticking with the iPhone.

''I think the attraction is that it's a toy but it's also very usable," Williams, 21, said outside the Apple store on Ste-Catherine Street.

"I'm using it at school all the time. I don't have Internet. It makes my life so much easier. I don't have arguments any more because I have an iPhone."

Anahi Martinez, a 28-year-old Montrealer who owns an iPod Touch, said Jobs "changed the world."

"With his vision, his creativity and his eager mind, he changed so much technology as we know it. And he's among the greatest inventors and innovators in life."

Canada's app developers, who have created software that offers everything from games to recipes and sports scores for the iPhone and iPad, recalled how the Apple founder gave them a livelihood and a purpose.

"At its core, there wouldn't be anything that we're doing without the App Store, without the iPhone, without Steve," Kerry Morrison, CEO of Toronto-based app developer Endloop.

"Every single person in here — their livelihood, the homes that they've bought, the cars that they drive — everything has been paid for by what he has done," Morrison said of Endloop and sister company Massive Damage, which employ 14 people.

Canada has clusters of app developers in cities across the country, including Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and Waterloo, Ont., who have benefited from Apple, which launched its app store in 2008.

Derek van Vliet, co-founder of Toronto-based developer Get Set Games, said it was a "kind of a melancholy day" around his office.

"He really levelled the playing field for app developers and gave people of our size — small startups — a way to get into the industry," he said of Jobs' legacy.

Get Set Games has six employees and has developed five games for iPod, iPhone and iPad. Its game, Mega Jump, has been downloaded 16 million times for the iPhone platform, van Vliet said.

Reaction also came from executives of Canadian companies who have either struggled to compete with Apple's cutting-edge products or benefited from their popularity.

"Steve Jobs was a great visionary and a respected competitor," Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie, co-CEOs of rival Research in Motion (TSX:RIM), said in a statement.

RIM, developer of the BlackBerry smartphone, has arguably suffered the most from the rise of the iPhone, but also helped build an audience for the phone technology that Apple cultivated further.

Nokia chief executive Stephen Elop, a graduate of McMaster University in Hamilton, reacted on his Twitter account.

"Steve's passion for simplicity and elegance leaves a legacy that will endure," said Elop, head of the Finland-based company who was born in Ancaster, Ont.

Nokia Corp., once the world's dominant cellphone maker, has been overtaken by its chief rival Apple whose iPhones sold more than all Nokia smartphone models during the second quarter.

The head of Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B), one of the telecommunication companies that has reaped the benefits of iPhone sales, praised Jobs' legacy.

"Steve Jobs was one of the greatest innovators of our time," said Nadir Mohamed, president and CEO of Rogers.

"He revolutionized how we consume entertainment, access information and stay in touch by making iconic devices that are brilliantly designed, intuitive and easy to use."

The impact was also felt in the political community, with Treasury Board President Tony Clement, an outspoken supporter of Apple products, tweeting about Jobs' death.

"Listening to my iTunes on my MacBook Pro, typing goodbye to Steve Jobs on my iPhone," Clement wrote.

Technology analysts weighed in on the news, as some questioned whether Apple will be able to maintain its status atop the industry without Jobs as a leader.

"While this is not unexpected, it is still a terribly sad and tragic event — end of an era, not just for Apple, not just for investors, but for the entire tech industry and for the world," wrote RBC Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky.

Technology analyst Carmi Levy said the "era of Steve Jobs is over" and it remains to be seen whether new CEO Tim Cook can keep advancing the company.

"I think it's fair to say once the pipeline of Steve Jobs' influence and products runs out whether Apple will be able to sustain that kind of growth and that kind of market attention that it enjoyed under Steve Jobs' leadership," he said from London, Ont.

"There is no answer to that at this point."

Queens University business professor John Pliniussen called Jobs one of the most influential and iconic stars in modern business.

"Jobs was for business what the Beatles were to music: paradigm shifting," Pliniussen said.

"And his legacy and touch will live on just as profoundly."

Canada's music community, where Apple has changed the way music is sold with its digital downloads, and the way music is produced with its GarageBand software, also reacted to the news.

Niagara Falls-born electronic producer Deadmau5 tweeted that Jobs was a "visionary."

Timmins, Ont.-born pop musician Lights also took to her Twitter account to respond.

"My time line is filling up with blessings for the late Steve Jobs," she wrote.

"How much one person can affect so many lives is incredible."

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