A new Apple?

August 25th, 2011

56-year-old Steve Jobs’ resignation is not shocking. Most of the financial world (even the competition) has been expecting it for years now. Although Apple’s stock is feeling the effects, most analysts aren’t overly concerned.

Reputed analyst like Michael Gartenberg from research firm, Gartner has billed Jobs’ resignation “the end of an era in many ways,” but adds that this won’t shake up the company since Jobs has primed his management team and the board for this transition. “At the end of the day there’s much more to Apple than any one individual,” Gartenberg states. “It’s likely to be business as usual in Cupertino tomorrow.”

I disagree.

Everyone knows how anticipated his keynote speeches were when he would mesmerizingly unveil his latest creation, dressed in turtle neck black tee and blue jeans (iconic). He was also known for being a ruthless manager, always demanding perfection. He reportedly ordered designers at Apple to give customers a magical experience when opening a box – which should explain the simple yet elegant packaging that welcomes Apple owners when they lift the lid off their devices.

Jobs would be missed. While Tim Cook, the ex-COO and now the CEO of Apple is seen as a competent replacement, he doesn’t bring the charisma that Jobs did. But he does bring efficiency to table. Cook is credited with pulling Apple out of manufacturing by closing factories and warehouses around the world. This has helped the company reduce inventory levels and streamline its supply chain, dramatically increasing margins. In fact, it would be obvious to race back to 2009 (when Jobs went away for a medical emergency) and see Apple’s performance with Cook at the helm. The stock had rallied from $80 to $200 a share range without Jobs.

Speaking purely as an Apple fan and an ardent follower of “everything that comes with Steve Jobs tag,” it’s going to be hard to sit through a new Apple device launch without Jobs giving the keynote speech (for which I have logged in to web telecasts at late nights and early mornings, seen a zillion re-runs later and marveled every time Jobs unveiled a new feature). Cook simply doesn’t have the power to hold me glued.

Statistically speaking, in the quarter until the end of June, Apple posted a profit of $7.3 billion from revenues of $28.6 billion. That’s a great number. The company even sold 20 million iPhones in the period, as well as 9.25 million iPad –a feat that competition hopes to replicate in its sales books some day. There’s another thing that competition strives to achieve – Apple’s positioning of its devices as a status symbol of social standing. The fact that Apple believes in charging a premium for its well-designed products, only adds to its brand.

While there’s no denying that Apple’s forthcoming product-line has been already well-conceived and approved by Steve Jobs but he would be missed. Meanwhile, I believe we are going to have a period where anything that goes wrong with the company/products will be quickly attributed to the lack of Steve Jobs.

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