“As Apple’s reputation for execution falters in the post-Jobs years, Samsung’s ruthless pace could put it ahead, even if customers would ultimately suffer,” Rob Enderle writes for DigitalTrends.

“Apple has excelled by taking Microsoft ideas and improving on them. The problem hasn’t been that Microsoft didn’t innovate; the company just didn’t execute. Microsoft manufactured smartphones and even had the idea for the iPhone before Apple did,” Enderle writes. “Microsoft produced MP3 players before Apple had an Apple iPod Touch-like product on the market. They played music and did most of what the iPod Touch did years before the Touch came to market. Even though Microsoft wasn’t the first with tablets, Microsoft tablets were on the market years before the iPad.”

Enderle writes, “The consumer electronics market is speeding up. Smartphones in particular have moved quickly to 4G along with larger screens and faster processors. Apple, which once led this market in technology, always had issues, with the latest radios being late to both 3G and 4G. More recently, Apple has fallen behind in screen size. Even if the iPhone is 4 inches, the market appears to have already moved to 4.5 inches, placing Apple behind.”

MacDailyNews Take: While the off-his-meds Enderle clearly ought to change his name to Old Man Jenkins, his disinformative ramblings do raise a central question:

What have we really seen from Apple since Steve Jobs passed?

• A “new” iPhone (4S) that looks exactly like the previous iPhone and whose claim to fame is a beta feature (Siri) that Apple purchased and which even Apple’s co-founder lampoons with regularity.

• Expected, predictable evolutions of the MacBook Pro and Air model lines.

• A new iPad that looks exactly like the previous iPad, but with a better screen and a faster chip. In other words: another totally predictable evolution.

• A new OS X, drop the “Mac” please; another predictable evolution.

• A new iOS, about which we can barely imagine muster the interest to bother installing. Oh, yeah, we get the promise of “Facebook” integration – coming “later this fall.” Thrilling. On the positive side: Maybe Siri will actually finally work more than 20% of the time.

• Ron Johnson, the guy who built the most profitable retailer in the world, exited Apple and was replaced by Cook with some random dunce from Dixons who obviously doesn’t understand the Apple way and who is already “fixing” what isn’t broken, but instead is the public face of the company and one of the main engines for its success.

• Bob Mansfield, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering, retires. Replaced by someone from inside Apple, at least (Dan Riccio, Apple’s vice president of iPad Hardware Engineering). We’ll see. Fingers crossed.

• Apple continuing to do billions of dollars of business with Samsung, a company which is stealing Apple’s intellectual property left and right, outselling Apple by tens of millions of handset units in the process.

• A Mac Pro flagship that is, for now, the ultimate symbol of the post-Jobs Apple: Stagnant, slow, old, neglected and rapidly becoming a sad joke.

Bottom line: We haven’t seen much to get excited about yet, but we have seen much about which to be concerned.

As we wrote in a response to a reader yesterday: [The success you see from Apple thus far has been the result of] Steve Jobs’ massive momentum. [Virtually anyone with a brain could have been Apple’s CEO and experienced the same degree of success – or more – so far (and they likely wouldn’t have hired John Browett, either)].

Until we see something insanely great created under Tim Cook’s leadership, with no prior input from Jobs, the jury remains out on Cook as CEO.

Is Cook a visionary CEO or a mere caretaker? We’ll know soon enough.

Yes, we know Steve Jobs personally handpicked Tim Cook. He also handpicked John Sculley.

Enderle writes, “Samsung is cycling its products quicker and thus improving them faster than Apple does, which should result in a sustainable execution advantage. Given this is how Samsung beat Sony, one can easily conclude that, using the same strategy, Samsung may be poised to beat Apple.”

“Besides Samsung’s speed advantages, there are early indications that Apple is getting weaker. I’m seeing reports out of the Apple stores that satisfaction is dropping as Jobs’ policies of focusing staff on customer satisfaction are replaced by policies focusing staff on sales (and Apple has had a history of underpaying staff),” Enderle writes.

“On the product side, the product-refresh cycle has clearly slowed down. The expected iPhone launch (traditionally in June) has apparently slipped until September, the Mac refresh was very late, and unless something happens quickly, even the fourth-quarter refresh of the iPods (generally in August) will be late,” Enderle writes. “Word out of Apple suggests postponed decisions, missed deadlines, and an increase in secrets leaking out of the company, all of which points to Apple having difficulty executing. With Samsung increasing its level of execution and Apple falling off, one has the potential to replace the other, but the customer gets screwed.”

Enderle writes, “I’ve personally bought a number of Samsung products, and the company’s service and support organization is truly horrid, particularly compared to Apple’s… Unless Samsung improves the way it treats customers, I can’t support that company replacing Apple at the top of the pile.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Here’s hoping Apple’s malaise on the product side so far in the post-Jobs era is not because the magic died with Steve Jobs, but because Tim Cook, Jony Ive, Scott Forstall et al. have been working just as hard as they did with Jobs there to push them and are just about ready to stun us with some real envelope-pushing again!