Apple and Steve Jobs: How important was he?

50cab9106510de8c21c6958571e7f335

Steve Jobs’ last words, famously, were “Oh, wow. Oh, wow. Oh, wow.”
 
He might have been speaking about the immediate future of Apple.
 
In the few months since his death, the most important businessperson in the world suddenly looks less so. While Jobs’ death triggered an onslaught of agonized predictions about the prospects for Apple, at least this seem they could seem overblown. To say the least.
 
After all, its stock price is soaring. The “New iPad” has provoked the same frenzied lines and consumer demand we’ve come to expect. (True, this is a product that had Jobsian fingerprints all over it.) The rumors about a breakthrough television are flying. And the company is sitting on a billion dollars in cash that has analysts falling over themselves to recommend how best to deploy it.
 
So was the irreplaceable stature of the legendary CEO exaggerated? I don’t think so. Even if it appears that Apple didn’t skip a beat, it would be a rush to judgment to conclude that everything will continue to be copasetic in Cupertino. Here are the worms in the Apple that are likely to present themselves:
 
1. Post-Dictator Tribalism: For all his genius, Jobs ran the company with an oligarch’s heavy hand. Since his death, the emotionalism of the situation has kept everyone together. But as the mourning dissipates, the natural fractiousness of organizations will eventually appear – and it’s unlikely that Tim Cook will be able to keep his band of talented, strong-willed individuals from internal strife. Jobs talked about leaving a powerful culture behind him, but cultures are composed of complex, shifting valences. Parents tell the kids not to fight after they die, too.
 
2. The Public Can’t Love You Forever: In Wall Street, they say trees don’t grow to the sky. Neither does loyalty. Apple’s remarkable run will eventually be threatened by a perfect storm of the working conditions at Foxconn and its other factories, and its zealously guarded walled garden that’s beautiful but imprisoning for users. (And punishing for content providers.)
 
There are other huge issues. The need for Apple TV to succeed; even a slight hiccup will bring back the “There’s no real Apple without Steve” naysayers. And in the future, the need for paradigm innovation like the iPod, iPhone and iPad – as opposed to incremental innovation, which is all we’ve seen thus far. (Admittedly, a short window.)
 
So my answer to the question about Steve Jobs’ criticality is exactly the same as the answer the Chinese communist leader Zhou Enlai gave when asked about his reaction to the French Revolution: “Too soon to tell.”




News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.