Apple after Steve

Mr. Jobs is taking a well-deserved breather from Apple. We here at CrunchGear hope he gets well soon, and think he’s doing the right thing: few jobs are more important than one’s own health, and certainly not being the CEO of a company that makes computers and portable music devices. And while Steve is taking care of Steve, Apple can take care of Apple. I think Steve’s respite will be a good thing for Apple in the long run.

  1. As mercenary as it may sound, now that Steve’s out of the picture (even if just temporarily), we can all stop wondering what Apple will be like with Steve out of the picture. Just the threat of a Steve-less Apple was enough to cause conniptions in some people. Now we can move past the vague fears and deal with reality. It’s kind of like jumping off the high dive at the local pool for the first time: once you step over that precipice, you stop worrying about all the stuff you previously thought about, and worry about the very real things directly below you.
  2. MacBooks and iPods and iPhones aren’t going anywhere. Certainly Steve left his imprint on many things throughout the company, but his departure doesn’t mean that their current line of wildly successful products is going to simply disappear.
  3. The Apple design aesthetic isn’t doled out in person by Steve, and Steve isn’t the only creative visionary at Cupertino. There are lots of bright, passionate, creative people at Apple. Sexy computers will still be made. A strong focus on quality user interfaces will still prevail.
  4. Competition doesn’t get a leg up as a result of this. Apple is still strongly in the #2 spot when it comes to computers, behind Microsoft but ahead of Linux. Apple will still maintain an enormous lead in the PMP market with iPods. And the iPhone is still a strong member of the smartphone triumvirate, along with Android and the soon-to-be-released Palm Pre.
  5. Jobs is a figurehead and fans have created a cult of personality. To the average computer user, however, Steve Jobs is at best known as “another rich computer CEO” like Bill Gates and, at worst, not known at all. He saved the Apple of the late 1990s but that Apple is strong and well-managed. He isn’t being ousted in a fit of rage: he’s leaving because he’s sick.

    Apple can now focus on the cult of Apple, and not the cult of Steve.

It’s easy to love and respect what he has done for Apple but a confluence of events – the rise of the MP3, a relative economic boom, and a pitch-perfect sense of the cool – put Apple in its current vaunted position. Jobs is instrumental in that but he is not the instrument of that.