Post Steve Jobs – Will Apple’s Innovative Streak Continue ?


For investment bankers and lay people alike, Steven P. Jobs has been the face of Apple Inc. – the company he co-founded in 1976. In the last decade, Apple has come up with a number of iconic and extremely successful products like the Macintosh, iMac, iBook, iPod and the recently launched iPhone. Apple’s ability to recognize and act on consumer trends coupled with some pretty ingenious innovation has seen it emerge as the world’s most valuable technology company surpassing software behemoth Microsoft early last year. Jobs’ latest medical leave announced this Monday has forced analysts to question whether Apple will retain its market leadership once Jobs is gone.

Throughout his longstanding career at Apple, Steve Jobs has been intricately involved with all aspects of product design and development. According to Michael A. Cusumano, professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, “Steve Jobs has this extraordinary ability to see into the future and instinctively see what people want, he’s done that consistently, in a way no one else has.”

Steve Jobs is known to rely on his intuition when it comes to product design. Over the years he has developed a reputation for his uncompromising devotion to quality. All prototypes of Apple products are continuously refined and modified till they meet with Jobs’ approval. Three prototypes were created during iPhone’s development phase. The first two were dumped and the third prototype was finally made into the now popular iPhone. Similarly, Jobs’ insisted on keeping Apple’s newly launched iPad tablet strictly touch-screen as compared to other tablets which come with a stylus. The gamble paid off and Apple’s iPad is now the highest selling tablet computer in the whole world.

Unlike other companies that largely depend on market research for product development, Jobs’ is known to interact with employees at Apple outlets all over America to keep him informed about customer needs and the latest trends in technology.

As Jobs’ takes another medical leave; his third since he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a few years ago, industry analysts point out that his position in the company and the unique talents that he brings to the table are not easily replaceable. While Apple currently maintains a leadership position in almost all product categories, it remains to be seen whether Apple can continue its winning streak if Jobs doesn’t return full-time to the company he helped create.

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