Brian Ahier pointed to this Smithsonian interview with Steve Jobs. from 1995. One section stood out for me given yesterday's sad news of Steve's passing:
"I've always felt that death is the greatest invention of life. I'm sure that life evolved without death at first and found that without death, life didn't work very well because it didn't make room for the young. It didn't know how the world was fifty years ago. It didn't know how the world was twenty years ago. It saw it as it is today, without any preconceptions, and dreamed how it could be based on that. We're not satisfied based on the accomplishment of the last thirty years. We're dissatisfied because the current state didn't live up to their ideals. Without death there would be very little progress."
While Steve Jobs was busy building great products he also set about building a great company. He seems to have followed his beliefs and by leaving Apple he has avoided the risk of Apple slipping in to stasis.
He would not have wanted to be a figurehead chairman. Instead he has got out of the way and given Apple the opportunity to create more great products and services.