When I saw Steve Jobs trending on Twitter, my bubble thought says “uh oh, what’s the cause of death?” To my surprise and possibly a good portion of the planet, Steve Jobs is still alive, but resigns as Apple Inc.’s CEO. The man who popularized New Balance running shoes (and iPods) steps down from his throne, carrying a lifetime’s worth of legacy in his pocket. Filling in the vacated position is Tim Cook, Apple’s current COO and a fan of Nike.
Jobs is a name synonymous to a myriad of terms: innovative, liberator, inventor, leader, trendsetter among others. But for me, I would remember him when I listen to music with my iPod, browse through apps in iPad and iPhone. I would perpetually be grateful to this person for the Apple era: a period where imagination and reality become one. With every farewell comes hellos, and all these exchanges lead to a deep-well of question marks.
Moreover, when someone as great as Steve Jobs leaves, the worry behind his decision becomes immeasurable. Reactions from Apple fans and the stock market are loomed with apprehensions and doubts on the incoming leadership. But, there is no other route for the organization but to move on to another phase. What will happen next will certainly puzzle everyone.
Apple and Mobile
Looks like the undisputed stint of Apple at the top ranks will not be harmed with the departure of Jobs. There are still tons of things to be excited about. These include the reports that iPhone 4 and 5 will be available to Sprint customers, creating a bigger competition that used to be just between AT&T and Verizon. Also, the 3rd quarter’s stellar financial performance of the enterprise was driven by outstanding dominance in mobile space, jumping from $15.7 billion last year to $28.57 billion today. The mobile triumvirate of Apple: iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, have been dictating the pace of the game since their inception.
Apple and Cloud
Jobs built a solid lineage of products that pimped the personal cloud: the iPod works with Mac, iPad with the iPhone, iPad with the iPod and all the vise versas entailed. Being able to create connections between these devices is such a feat, and Apple still has a lot of bullets to fire out in the cloud. They are continuously exploring the potential of iCloud, especially with the launch of a niche competitor (Spotify) in the United States. Apple has recently created a version dedicated for developers. Apple has been consumer-centric and this separated them from opponents like HP, which also focused on enterprise. This strategy obviously paid off for Apple and the other sailed on a different direction.
Apple and PC’s
HP is struggling to hold together the pieces for its PC unit. The enterprise has been losing traction since last year and many have predicted that the end is near for HP’s hardware arm. This is in total contrast to Apple’s situation. In fact, they are already gearing up for the launch of a new line of Macs, along with the release of cheaper iPhones. The development around personal computing in Apple’s soil is not routed towards the demise of PC’s, but more on the continuous innovation and trendsetting aspect. Blame it on Jobs’ love for boldness!
Jobs leaving the premier position at Apple does not necessarily equate to abrupt changes. There will be transition and I think the organization has well prepared for this game-changing move. The public is still in shock, and questions are flowing endlessly. But, the true judgement day for Apple will come when changeover ends, and Cook starts to be Cook, veering away from the colossal shadow of Jobs’ success. Taking over a globally-embraced brand is no easy task, especially at its pinnacle. There is no pre-defined formula to victory, but there will always be quests to learn and pick up from. Cook is inheriting an all-time great brand from a college dropout visionary; he’d better take good care of it.