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

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Local

MAP: New York City Street Closures August 29,…

The Department of Transportation and NYPD said there may be residual delays near all of the street closures on August 29, 31 and 31. Several streets and avenues will be…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…