As the formal executive and figurehead of Apple, Steve Jobs defined the company, and made it what it is today. With his passing came doubts that Apple might not be able to innovate to the extent that it did under his leadership. After all, Jobs was responsible for making Apple a serious competitor in the personal computing market, and taking a risk on smart phones during a time when they were rare and quite expensive. Shortly after Jobs’ death, Tim Cook was appointed as the CEO of Apple, and stocks dropped significantly as investors worried about Apple’s fate without their creative leader.
Thankfully, Apple is no longer in such a precarious position, and recent reports indicate that the company remains the powerhouse it became toward the end of Jobs’ tenure. Popular products such as the iPhone and iPad are still flying off of the shelves, and more experimental products like the iPad mini and Apple TV are being welcomed with open arms by Apple users across the world. Though doubts once filled the minds of investors immediately after Jobs’ demise, Apple has regained its strength as a corporation, and Apple’s future appears bright. Still, there are some lingering questions that remain in a post-Jobs world.
Apple has been able to continue selling new versions of popular products that were introduced when Jobs was CEO. However, it is unclear whether Tim Cook has the same broad vision for easy-to-use, consumer technology that Steve Jobs possessed during the end of his career. Jobs was noted to be incredibly particular about his products, especially their functionality. This explains why Apple products quickly garnered the perception of being aesthetically and ergonomically pure, perfect even. Such a high level of meticulousness is rare and it would be incredibly unlikely for Apple to find two CEOs with similar visions for the company.
Steve Jobs was able to prove to the world that he could make a better product, and Apple’s success as a company will depend on whether Tim Cook can do the same thing. Rehashing or haphazardly combining old ideas will not suffice if Apple is to continue being viewed as an innovator. They will have to innovate. This means looking toward the future, and predicting what the next iPhone will be. This means building a product that serves users all the way from Africa to Silicon Valley. This means not living in Jobs’ shadow.