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Smartphone war pauses as world mourns Steve Jobs

October 08, 2011

An ipad 2 is displayed on October 5, 2011 in Los Angeles, showing the changed Apple website paying homage to the company's visionary leader Steve Jobs who died from cancer aged just 56. Jobs revolutionized modern culture and changed forever the world's relationship to technology through inventions such as the iPad and iPhone. - AFP Photo

SAN FRANCISCO: The launch of a hot new Google smartphone was delayed on Friday as the world mourned the loss of legendary Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and sales began of the latest iPhone.

Unconfirmed word also spread that a private funeral was taking place for Jobs, who died Wednesday at the age of 56 after battling cancer. Apple has indicated that no public memorial is planned.

People touched by the death of the Apple co-founder have made pilgrimages to Apple stores, the company's Cupertino headquarters, and even his family's two-story brick home in an old section of the Silicon Valley city of Palo Alto.

Apple security and local police have discretely ringed the house, clearing the way for dark vehicles bearing flowers or friends to get through the barricaded intersection and into a driveway of the corner property.

On the far side of the slate-roofed house is an apricot orchard.

Jobs bought the neighboring property a long time back and knocked down the house there to put in a swing set for his children and an apricot orchard because he so loved the fruit, according to neighbors.

People, some with children, came to pay tribute to Jobs and a collection of orchids, roses and other flowers grew.

“I just wanted to know I could do something,” Judith Sallot said of how she and others around the world sought ways to express their sense of loss since no public event is expected. “People just want to do something,” she explained.

Sallot, who recently turned 65 years old, confided that she was computer illiterate until she got an iPhone.

“I am computer savvy now,” she said with a smile. “I feel so much better about myself, and it's because he made it easy.”Grim-faced people came and went, pausing to gaze thoughtfully at a growing shrine that included a classic white iPod with the words “Stay hungry” and “Stay foolish” written on it in black marker.

A pile of apples, each with one bite taken out in tribute to Apple's famous logo, was growing and heartfelt messages written in colored chalk coated the sidewalk.

On the other side of a low wooden-post fence lining the front yard, a small apple orchard laden with fruit stood in a sea of orange poppies.

Pictures of Jobs were tacked to the fence, along with messages including “Often imitated, never duplicated.””It is sad, especially for the family,” said a neighbor who asked only to be identified by her first name, Karelle. “He was part of the neighborhood.”As was the case with many of the others who stopped to leave notes, flowers, or other tributes to Jobs, Karelle snapped pictures with her iPhone.

Samsung and Google on Friday postponed a “Mobile Unpacked” press event planned for next week at an international wireless telecommunications industry conference in Southern California.

“Under the current circumstances, both parties have agreed that this is not the appropriate time for the announcement of a new product,” Samsung said in a statement at its official blog.

“We will announce a new date and venue in due course,” the South Korean consumer electronics titan promised.

Samsung was expected to unveil a Galaxy Nexus smartphone powered by a yet-to-be released version of Google-backed Android software and designed to challenge market-leading iPhone.

Postponing the launch was seen as a temporary truce of sorts in honor of Jobs, who died Wednesday at the age of 56 after battling cancer.

Apple on Friday began taking online pre-orders for an updated iPhone 4S that is to be available on October 14 in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Britain.

The iPhone 4S features a speedier processor, a “personal assistant” that responds to voice commands and a more powerful camera.

It remained to be seen whether the legions of people from around the world touched by the death of Jobs would buy the iPhone 4S in tribute to the man who altered lives with iPods, iPhones, iPads, and Macintosh computers.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment on Friday.