Apple's future without Steve Jobs

Even as Steve Jobs left Apple as its CEO last August, people were wondering what the future held for the tech company. With Jobs' passing on Wednesday, all of the burden of taking Apple into the future will be on the shoulders of Job's CEO successor Tim Cook. ABC News reports that Apple likely had a plan for future products that Jobs helped to set up. That plan will take it through the next few years. But once that time period has passed, Apple will truly be without direction from Jobs.

Back in August, Trip Chowdhry, an analyst with Global Equities Research, stated, "Apple is Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs is Apple, and Steve Jobs is innovation. You can teach people how to be operationally efficient, you can hire consultants to tell you how to do that, but God creates innovation."

Time magazine's web site has an editorial on Apple's future on Steve Jobs. It points out that before Apple, the electronics company that generated innovative products was Sony. It states, "And just like Apple, Sony was propelled forward by personality – well, two personalities, in fact – co-founders Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka. The two of them were behind everything Sony did, much like Jobs at Apple."

While Sony is still one of the biggest technology and consumer electronics companies in the world, Apple took its place as an innovative organization in this area of business years ago. In other words, Sony was never really the same after its two co-founders left the company. It seems like Apple can take some lessons from what happened with Sony and continue to innovate instead of just sticking to what Apple has released in the past. It will be interesting to see if Apple will be held back or will push forward after the passing of Jobs.

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I think they can start by trying to partner with nintendo. They seem to have the samephilospohy when it comes to their business. They can start with the next apple tv also being a nintendo console . I think apple along with nintendo can innovative tv like they did with everything else .

An apple tv with one say nintendo wii controller or something like that with hdmin in and hdmi out. Have nintendo make their games downloadable through itunes for it.

I think if apple does not have somebody like steve jobs in the ranks why not partner with another company that kinda shared his vision?

majortom1981 said,
I think they can start by trying to partner with nintendo. They seem to have the samephilospohy when it comes to their business. They can start with the next apple tv also being a nintendo console . I think apple along with nintendo can innovative tv like they did with everything else .

An apple tv with one say nintendo wii controller or something like that with hdmin in and hdmi out. Have nintendo make their games downloadable through itunes for it.

I think if apple does not have somebody like steve jobs in the ranks why not partner with another company that kinda shared his vision?


LOL.....that thing will be underpowered and pricier than X360 & PS3. it will fail with the RDF.

I think this is the beginning of a long steady decline for Apple. They've had the rise, now they're going to have the fall. What are they going to release in the next few years? More iterations of the iPhone and iPad? People will eventually tire of it. I don't see where they can go except down.

Ricky65 said,
I think this is the beginning of a long steady decline for Apple. They've had the rise, now they're going to have the fall. What are they going to release in the next few years? More iterations of the iPhone and iPad? People will eventually tire of it. I don't see where they can go except down.

They won't go down completely, but they will just reach a state of stagnation and complacency, like where Microsoft is right now. Unfortunately for Apple, it can't rely on cyclical purchases from enterprise customers to keep it afloat - it's a 100% consumer products company. And switching costs are far lower for consumers.

XX55XX said,

They won't go down completely, but they will just reach a state of stagnation and complacency, like where Microsoft is right now. Unfortunately for Apple, it can't rely on cyclical purchases from enterprise customers to keep it afloat - it's a 100% consumer products company. And switching costs are far lower for consumers.

Yeah I can completely agree with that

Yes with Jobs gone, Apple is IMHO at a similar stage as when Gates stepped down as CEO in 2000 - won't collapse overnight but may lose direction and focus like MS once did (ahem Vista). At the same time, once a core market or brand is established, people continue to buy newer iterations of it. There isn't room for another new category of consumer device now, is there? If anything, all devices need to converge into one or two. For Windows, Jim Allchin was the man behind everything (always feel he's under appreciated) and now he's left but Windows is still doing fine. iPod is "dying" because it's converging into phones. iPad will face serious competiton from Windows 8. I believe Windows and Windows tablets will beat the iPad handily and completely dominate the market. For phones, it's a difficult ride for Microsoft and Android is also into the picture besides iPhone. Maybe Apple's personality as a company may also improve for the better? Who knows. More choice and customization in everything, longer lifecycles and less "control" and restrictions over everything. Let's hope so.

Leonick said,
You call Vista losing direction?
Vista was a first step in a direction the company is still walking in...

There can be an endless debate and discussion over this but Jim Allchin's internal email to Bill Gates itself admitted they lost direction. Given the way Vista was received by the whole world, it definitely lost direction although fanboys continue to argue there was nothing wrong with Vista.

xpclient said,

There can be an endless debate and discussion over this but Jim Allchin's internal email to Bill Gates itself admitted they lost direction. Given the way Vista was received by the whole world, it definitely lost direction although fanboys continue to argue there was nothing wrong with Vista.


But Bill Gates was Chief Software Architect when Vista released. Not to mention, most of the under the hood changes from XP to Vista are found in the successful Windows 7. Windows Vista was necessary for Windows 7 to succeed from a technical standpoint.

DClark said,

But Bill Gates was Chief Software Architect when Vista released. Not to mention, most of the under the hood changes from XP to Vista are found in the successful Windows 7. Windows Vista was necessary for Windows 7 to succeed from a technical standpoint.

Exactly. If it wasn't for Vista, personally I had no problems with it, laying the groundwork with the new networking and audio stacks and Aero Windows 7 wouldn't be the OS it is today.

Say what you like about Vista but it played a major part in making Windows 7 what it is today.

neo158 said,

Exactly. If it wasn't for Vista, personally I had no problems with it, laying the groundwork with the new networking and audio stacks and Aero Windows 7 wouldn't be the OS it is today.

Say what you like about Vista but it played a major part in making Windows 7 what it is today.

Sure enough but then Vista could have been an internal build and Windows 7 the version sold without time delays to XP customers. The fact that it took so long for Microsoft to create an OS the world accepted after XP shows they lost their way for a while.

Apple will continue to survive just fine without Jobs.

App Store and iTunes have created a huge residual stream for the company. Being that millions of people have invested thousands in the platform(s), Apple have a captive consumer base at this point.

The only thing that could derail Apple at this point is another company offering buy-in incentives that would allow the consumer to bring existing app licenses to the new platform.

We will miss Steve, but he created something with long-term longevity. His passing will be a dark day in tech, but tech moves on.

dotf said,
Apple will continue to survive just fine without Jobs.

App Store and iTunes have created a huge residual stream for the company. Being that millions of people have invested thousands in the platform(s), Apple have a captive consumer base at this point.

The only thing that could derail Apple at this point is another company offering buy-in incentives that would allow the consumer to bring existing app licenses to the new platform.

We will miss Steve, but he created something with long-term longevity. His passing will be a dark day in tech, but tech moves on.

No one is saying Apple will not survive, the general consensus is that Apple is now just another tech company.

Apple's decline begins now. Though the company will continue to post healthy numbers well into the future, this company won't ever be the same as Jobs left it. The iPhone 4S announcement was a sign of that. Tim Cook is a great man, I'm sure, but his background in operations doesn't really ground him for the innate innovation that Jobs possessed.

XX55XX said,
Apple's decline begins now. Though the company will continue to post healthy numbers well into the future, this company won't ever be the same as Jobs left it. The iPhone 4S announcement was a sign of that. Tim Cook is a great man, I'm sure, but his background in operations doesn't really ground him for the innate innovation that Jobs possessed.

Unbeleivable. You honestly think this? The iPhone 4S, like everything Apple was does was planned. There would not have been a 5 otherwise. It was always going to be a 4S. You don't think Apple has been running on autopilot since the first iPhone release? All Steve did there was conceptualize the idea of wanting to change the mobile phone scene forever. He didnt design it, he didn't choose the hardware, he didn't market it aside from his keynotes, which market themselves. He has industry leading achievers for that.

Pioneering geniuses like Jony Ive that since 1997 have been responsible for what we've know to be on the outside. Scott Forstal makes it what we know on the inside along with Bob Mansfield the sole proprietor of apples hardware selection and engineering.

I mean come on man. Really?

VII said,

Unbeleivable. You honestly think this? The iPhone 4S, like everything Apple was does was planned. There would not have been a 5 otherwise. It was always going to be a 4S. You don't think Apple has been running on autopilot since the first iPhone release? All Steve did there was conceptualize the idea of wanting to change the mobile phone scene forever. He didnt design it, he didn't choose the hardware, he didn't market it aside from his keynotes, which market themselves. He has industry leading achievers for that.

Pioneering geniuses like Jony Ive that since 1997 have been responsible for what we've know to be on the outside. Scott Forstal makes it what we know on the inside along with Bob Mansfield the sole proprietor of apples hardware selection and engineering.

I mean come on man. Really?

Yes, but coming up with that concept was the most difficult part. Everything was just a lot of hard work. Before the iPhone, could you imagine that phones could become stand-alone computers, with touch screens and app stores? No. Neither you nor I saw that coming. But Steve did.

Apple will remain a successful company and will post healthy numbers well into the future. But, I don't think it's likely that there is anyone there at Apple who possesses the immense foresight and creativity that Steve had.

You understate Steven's significance at Apple.

VII said,

Unbeleivable. You honestly think this? The iPhone 4S, like everything Apple was does was planned. There would not have been a 5 otherwise. It was always going to be a 4S. You don't think Apple has been running on autopilot since the first iPhone release? All Steve did there was conceptualize the idea of wanting to change the mobile phone scene forever. He didnt design it, he didn't choose the hardware, he didn't market it aside from his keynotes, which market themselves. He has industry leading achievers for that.

Pioneering geniuses like Jony Ive that since 1997 have been responsible for what we've know to be on the outside. Scott Forstal makes it what we know on the inside along with Bob Mansfield the sole proprietor of apples hardware selection and engineering.

I mean come on man. Really?

These people only do what they do because of stellar direction. Without Jobs direction and creativity they are just experts on one particular field with no one with the right mind to bring them together.

If you are going to take on an article regarding the state of Apple and the future of Apple without Jobs, please make it a worthwhile and comprehensive read instead of 4 paragraphs of opinion.

ccoltmanm said,
If you are going to take on an article regarding the state of Apple and the future of Apple without Jobs, please make it a worthwhile and comprehensive read instead of 4 paragraphs of opinion.

Considering no-one has a crystal ball, EVERYTHING is opinion.

Hidr0 said,
to worry about the future is plain stupid!

Uh, what? You should always be looking towards the future. Its the past that you shouldn't worry about. Respect and acknowledge the past, sure. But not worry about it. The future should be a major thing to plan for, however.

Not much will change for the next couple years but beyond that, we'll probably see the stream of innovation and blockbusters plateau or even drop. It will not be the same Apple in 3-5 years.

dmbandfan22 said,
Not much will change for the next couple years but beyond that, we'll probably see the stream of innovation and blockbusters plateau or even drop. It will not be the same Apple in 3-5 years.

It's ridiculous to think that Steve Jobs was the only person in the world who could be innovative. We don't know what will happen in the future; it depends on the people who will be working there.

TRC said,

It's ridiculous to think that Steve Jobs was the only person in the world who could be innovative. We don't know what will happen in the future; it depends on the people who will be working there.

But it isn't just about innovation...without Steve Jobs telling people NO, be it employees, share holders, and even customers from time to time, it won't be the same company.

Just wait until the stockholders have someone who will not stand up to them like jobs did. Like him or hate him, he drove/pushed/pulled his company in the direction he saw...and it worked great.

TRC said,

It's ridiculous to think that Steve Jobs was the only person in the world who could be innovative. We don't know what will happen in the future; it depends on the people who will be working there.

Of course we do not know what the future holds but the past is a really good indicator.

Rooster69 said,

Of course we do not know what the future holds but the past is a really good indicator.


You cannot always make predictions based on the past. It is a very weak argument by itself.

I think iPhone 5 MUST have 4G LTE support and since that speed is still spottily found in most cities, and Apple being Apple, wanting users to have a seamless, full solution, fully covered experience, they may be wanting to wait until all three carriers have good enough coverage. Verizon has the most, AT&T is really behind, Sprint just got started. But all three are probably able to cover more than half of the current 3g coverage by Q3 2012, so it's more likely then iPhone 5 appears.

It's not like we don't have a precedent: Steve Jobs already left Apple back in 1986. By 1996, Apple was close to bankruptcy, and Jobs had to return to revive it.

So, Apple has ten years - maximum. The speed of innovation has increased since the 1980s, so it's likely to be much shorter.

In that light, it makes sense that Apple recently tried to get competition forbidden in courtrooms, in an attempt to make Steve's legacy last them as long as possible...

robert_s said,
It's not like we don't have a precedent: Steve Jobs already left Apple back in 1986. By 1996, Apple was close to bankruptcy, and Jobs had to return to revive it.

So, Apple has ten years - maximum. The speed of innovation has increased since the 1980s, so it's likely to be much shorter.

In that light, it makes sense that Apple recently tried to get competition forbidden in courtrooms, in an attempt to make Steve's legacy last them as long as possible...

The computer market was very different at that time, and so was the company (they only did computers back then). It is not a valid comparison at all and there is no way you can use that to predict what will happen now.

TRC said,

The computer market was very different at that time, and so was the company (they only did computers back then). It is not a valid comparison at all and there is no way you can use that to predict what will happen now.


But but....Steve Jobs!!!!!!!!!! Don't you know that Apple consists of one employee.

TRC said,

The computer market was very different at that time, and so was the company (they only did computers back then). It is not a valid comparison at all and there is no way you can use that to predict what will happen now.

It is a perfect comparison. The computer market was then what the smartphone/tablet market is right now. Apple in 1986 had a niche but revolutionary product but without Jobs the company stilled failed. When he came back in the heat of the computer battle he resurrected Apple using only home computers.

Rooster69 said,

It is a perfect comparison. The computer market was then what the smartphone/tablet market is right now. Apple in 1986 had a niche but revolutionary product but without Jobs the company stilled failed. When he came back in the heat of the computer battle he resurrected Apple using only home computers.

Rubbish, it isn't the same situation at all. Apple basically owns the smart phone and tablet market right now, in 1986 they didn't have squat. More importantly they had a useless CEO who had no clue what he was doing. Today they have Tim Cook, big difference. Steve Jobs was great at business, but he's not irreplaceable and he didn't run Apple all these years all by himself.

Rooster69 said,

It is a perfect comparison. The computer market was then what the smartphone/tablet market is right now. Apple in 1986 had a niche but revolutionary product but without Jobs the company stilled failed. When he came back in the heat of the computer battle he resurrected Apple using only home computers.


You are using the fallacy of weak analogy. The computer industry is very different than what it was then. Things advance very differently. Sure the company innovated because of Jobs' genius. But the company will survive, even though it will be different than it was before.

Dead'Soul said,
Apple is nothing more than Steve Jobs, really?

Yes. Last time he left it nearly went under. He is innovation. I do not see Apple closing its doors but I do not see Apple churning out anything earth shattering again.

Rooster69 said,

Yes. Last time he left it nearly went under. He is innovation. I do not see Apple closing its doors but I do not see Apple churning out anything earth shattering again.

Maybe not, but they can continue to update and improve the existing product lines. The iPhone and iPad are so ingrained now that the yearly upgrades should be enough.

Dead'Soul said,
Apple is nothing more than Steve Jobs, really?
Indeed. He was involved in every product, and in every aspect of that product.
He looked into EVERYTHING. Every thing, or statement, that went out of Apple's Cupertino Headquarters, had to go through Steve Scan!
This dictator, and 'control-freak-way', was "Steve-Jobs-Way". And that's the Apple-way.

episode said,

Maybe not, but they can continue to update and improve the existing product lines. The iPhone and iPad are so ingrained now that the yearly upgrades should be enough.

For how long though. The 4S has already gotten a lukewarm reception... I just can't picture them continuing to have the market presence they have without being able to move these industries forward...

Rooster69 said,

Yes. Last time he left it nearly went under. He is innovation. I do not see Apple closing its doors but I do not see Apple churning out anything earth shattering again.

Last time he left it was on some braindead CEO's terms. This time he left on his own terms. The corporate culture left behind this time is completely different.

Back then suits were running the show, now his own hand-picked team is running the show.

There will be hiccups, but as long as they follow the path he set out (he thought over a decade in advance), they should be OK.

episode said,

Maybe not, but they can continue to update and improve the existing product lines. The iPhone and iPad are so ingrained now that the yearly upgrades should be enough.

That is the same mentality RIM, Microsoft and another host of companies had. Then the iPhone hit the scene. They will get by for the time being but they will not be the company to release anything that is a game changing device, someone else will and Apple will be like everyone else trying to play catch up.

It's a interesting turn of events, actually. I wonder how will the company do, that their biggest visionary is out of the game. Well... Only time will tell.

HopeForP7Update said,
"Apple's future without Steve Jobs" every person is replaceable.
The company won't die because of Jobs -.-

It damn nearly did last time they lost him

Sraf said,

It damn nearly did last time they lost him

+1 and would have had he not come back and saved it. He can't do that this time...

M_Lyons10 said,

+1 and would have had he not come back and saved it. He can't do that this time...

He won't have to do (and it would scare the sh*t out of me if he did), there will be someone else who "saves" them...

HopeForP7Update said,
He won't have to do (and it would scare the sh*t out of me if he did), there will be someone else who "saves" them...
Steve Wozniak?

HopeForP7Update said,
"Apple's future without Steve Jobs" every person is replaceable.
The company won't die because of Jobs -.-
No, I would disagree.

"Apple is Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs is Apple, and Steve Jobs is innovation. You can teach people how to be operationally efficient, you can hire consultants to tell you how to do that, but God creates innovation."

HopeForP7Update said,

He won't have to do (and it would scare the sh*t out of me if he did), there will be someone else who "saves" them...

Though for Apple's sake I hope they continue to function as they have, in all honesty, Apple WAS Steve Jobs. It will have an impact on the company, and likelihood is that it will be negative. And the last time Apple needed "Saving", there were other options, sure, but none of them benefited Apple as much as his return could / did. An acquisition by another company would technically be "saving" the company, but wouldn't have really been the same now would it?

HopeForP7Update said,
"Apple's future without Steve Jobs" every person is replaceable.

I disagree. Especially being in the software industry myself. The product I develop which is used all over the world, has parts of me in it. If I were to pass, no one could step into what I do. Would the company survive? Probably. Would it be the same? Absolutley not. There are things in my head, ideas, that just can't be duplicated. Not by my competitors, not by a successor, because they are me.

I wonder whether the launch of iPhone 4S without the iPhone 5 is Cook's idea. We always had Apple over-achieving people's expectations, so maybe Steve wouldn't allow the conference to happen last time unless if they introduced iPhone 5..what do u think?

I think everyone around Jobs knew what was going on, the man was simply brilliant. I'd be shocked to discover the 4S announce (minus the 5) was not his idea knowing his death was imminent and to save Apple. He loved the company and it would not surprise me to find out he has the next 6-12 months of announcements scripted to keep Apple rolling.

Neobond said,
I think if he wasn't sick, and the Japan earthquake didn't happen then we would have seen the iPhone 5 in July.

Come on. If it wasn't ready it wasn't ready. No amount of magic can change that.

Neobond said,
I think if he wasn't sick, and the Japan earthquake didn't happen then we would have seen the iPhone 5 in July.
I would say, no. John Gruber makes a good point about it, when he says that internally, iPhone 4S is the same device we wanted or expected iPhone 5 to be.
So this is turning out to be another strategy for maximizing profits(by giving twice the orders for most of the phone's components), and also to keep their competitors on their toes.
Apple has created another uncertainty around their products for consumers and competitors alike.

:: Lyon :: said,
I wonder whether the launch of iPhone 4S without the iPhone 5 is Cook's idea. We always had Apple over-achieving people's expectations, so maybe Steve wouldn't allow the conference to happen last time unless if they introduced iPhone 5..what do u think?

I heard someone suggest it was named 4S (for steve), might be just a nice reading into the name and not truly why it was named it.

ghos said,

I heard someone suggest it was named 4S (for steve), might be just a nice reading into the name and not truly why it was named it.

Well, of course it isn't. But now I think it should be changed to it, since there was a difference of only one day, between those two events.

ghos said,

I heard someone suggest it was named 4S (for steve), might be just a nice reading into the name and not truly why it was named it.

Going all conspiracy theory, the iPhone4S, iPhone 4 Steve, there was also an reserved empty chair on the first row rumord to be for steve at the keynote