Love him or hate him, Steve Jobs is one of the most influential figures in technology. He brought Apple back from impending bankruptcy and turned it around into one of the most profitable companies in the planet. His mind alone is credited with the creation of the iPad, iPhone and iPod.
His presence has been so significant that Apple products are often described as ‘Jobsian’, and his departure from the company not only marks the end of a very distinctive creative period, it also marks the end of an Apple brand based on Job’s own cult of personality.
Back in 2004 there were already rumors of his departure from the company after he took a long leave of absence for undisclosed medical issues. It would be some time before the world would know of his pancreatic cancer, but the mystery of his temporary leave alone was enough to drive down Apple’s stock dramatically, taking Nasdaq down with it.
Now that it is official, of course, there is a repeat of history. At the time of this writing, the stock has already lost 2% of its value and is continuing to drop, perhaps as a knee jerk reaction from shocked investors. After all, in the minds of many, Steve Jobs and Apple are synonyms.
Such is the legacy of Jobs that the outcry over the internet is that of ‘the end of an era’, and some simply don’t think Apple will be able to continue producing quality products without him. These are statements that somehow feel exaggerated and a product of the current emotionality left by the announcement. The reality is that Apple will go on, and it will continue to offer products that fall into the well established design philosophy and stylistic choices set forth by its founder; so now all eyes turn to the successor to the throne.
Tim Cook may not be a name that rings familiar to the average Apple user, but for the die-hard fans, it sounds like the next best thing to having Jobs himself at the CEO seat.
Indeed, Cook not only has over 30 years of experience in the industry, he has been Job’s right-hand man since the mid 90’s, when Apple turned back from certain catastrophe to an electronics powerhouse. To the insiders, much of this miraculous recovery is attributed to Tim Cook as much as Steve Jobs.
While Jobs brought the design and products, Cook brought all the business savvy and corporate practices that made Apple what it is. His decisions regarding inventory management versus the release of new models is highly regarded as one of the most efficient manufacturing theories of the technology business and a cornerstone to Apple’s profitability.
Does this mean that Apple will turn more towards the business and manufacturing ends? Not likely. While Cook has been the industrial and corporate half of the Apple leadership, Jobs’ legendary vision is not yet lost. Apple’s creative teams are all familiar with the Jobsian design ethos, and we can surely expect to see new products that look and feel as if they has been handed down from Job’s own drawing board.