The day that many iPhone and Mac users have been dreading for years has come: Steve Jobs is no longer CEO of Apple. Even as I write this, Apple’s share price is dropping, but I see plenty of reason for optimism about this company’s future.
I think it’s important to say at this point that I’m not an Apple hater thrilled by the fall of Jobs. I’m writing this on an iPad, and my first three laptops were Macs. I have a Windows PC and an Android phone now, but Apple still has a warm place in my heart.
Actually, it’s because I’ve used one of the iPhone’s competitors that I’m feeling optimistic. Oddly enough, I’m referring to an operating system that HP all but killed off last week, the webOS. Although this was created at Palm, Inc., it was actually developed almost entirely by former Apple employees. Even though the webOS never found a market, this operating system was amazingly well made. It’s actually easier to use than the iOS and Android OS.
This shows me that the people who work at Apple who aren’t Steve Jobs can create really great products.
The Cult of Steve
Jobs had a major role in developing Apple’s smartphones, tablets, and other products, and he’s often credited with their success, as if he had done all the work himself. There’s no doubt he was the visible face of Apple, and did play a big part in the company’s success, but I’m convinced the other employees will be able to carry on. There will be future generations of the iPhone and iPad, each better than the last.
Keep in mind, it isn’t like Steve Jobs was infallible. He was at the helm of the company when Apple TV was developed. He was there for the iPhone 4’s “death grip” problem too. And does anyone remember the Apple Cube?
Also, Jobs apparently wasn’t an easy man to work for. Admittedly, part of this was his perfectionism, which is a good thing for buyers of Apple products, but some of it was his abrasive personality. He’s a member of Forbes’ Bully Bosses Hall of Fame for his ability to make people cry.
That said, I don’t want to downplay Steve Jobs’ role as a visionary creator of products. He has to rank up there close to Thomas Edison for changing the way we live. In the last decade, he had the vision and courage to release an MP3 player, smartphone, and tablet at times when these were niche products. Thanks in part to his efforts, these devices are now in the hands of hundreds of millions of people.
But institutions survive their founders all the time. There was a time people considered the United States and George Washington inseparable. Nevertheless, our founding father has now been gone for over 200 years, and this country continues on. I’m not sure Apple has another two centuries in its future, but it might.
Ed Hardy has been Site Editor for Brighthand since 2002, and has been covering the mobile industry for over a decade, starting out with PDAs and transitioning to smartphones over the years. He lives in Atlanta with his family and an undetermined number of cats.