New York: From a college dropout to heading an over USD 350 billion Apple empire, Steve Jobs dramatically transformed the worlds of personal computing, music and  mobile phones, ushering in a new digital era.

Jobs, who died at the age of 56 after a seven-year battle with pancreatic cancer, was also the man behind the stupendous success of the computer animation firm Pixar, makers of Toy Story and Finding Nemo.

Though he himself never designed a computer in his life, it was because of him that the Apple products, while largely providing the same services as those from other companies, are perceived to be different.

Born on February 24, 1955 to Joanne Carole Schieble and Abdulfattah Jandali, Steven Paul Jobs was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs. Jandali was a graduate student from Syria who later became a political science professor.

From an early age, Steve Jobs was interested in electronics. As an eighth grader, after discovering that a crucial part was missing from a frequency counter he was assembling, he telephoned William Hewlett, the co-founder of Hewlett-Packard.

Hewlett spoke with the boy for 20 minutes, prepared a bag of parts for him to pick up and offered him a job as a summer intern, according to a newspaper.

Jobs met Stephan Wozniak, with whom he co-founded Apple in 1976, while attending Homestead High School in neighbouring Cupertino.

After enrolling at Reed College in 1972, Jobs left after one semester, but remained in Portland for another 18 months auditing classes. In a commencement address given at Stanford in 2005, Jobs said he had decided to leave college because it was consuming all of his parents' savings.

He returned to Silicon Valley in 1974 and took a job as a technician at Atari, the video game manufacturer. But, he left after several months and travelled to India with a college friend, Daniel Kottke, who would later become an early Apple employee.

Jobs returned to Atari and along with Wozniak, then working as an engineer at HP, began attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club, a hobbyist group that met at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in Menlo Park, California in 1975. Personal computing had been pioneered at research laboratories close to Stanford and was spreading.

Wozniak designed the original Apple I computer simply to show it off to his friends at the Homebrew. It was Jobs who had the inspiration that it could be a commercial product.

In early 1976, he and Wozniak, using their own money, began Apple in the Jobs family garage in Los Altos with an initial investment of USD 1,300 before securing the backing of former Intel executive A C Markkula, who lent them USD 250,000. Wozniak would be the technical half and Jobs the marketing half of the original Apple I Computer.

Shortly thereafter, they moved the company to a small office in Cupertino.

Reacting to Jobs' demise, a Twitter user named Matt Galligan wrote: "R.I.P. Steve Jobs. You touched an ugly world of technology and made it beautiful."