“Are investors losing faith in Apple because there’s no visionary spark at the helm?” Ernie Varitimos writes for The Street. “I think that’s a significant part of Apple’s stock performance of late. There was a grace period after Jobs’ passing, but as time wore on, the absence of a true, charismatic visionary at the top has hurt Apple.”

“There’s no problem from an operational aspect — things are running like a top,” Varitimos writes.

MacDailyNews Take: Uh, “like a top?” 2-months late iMacs that blow the quarter and therefore aid the fomenters in sending the stock tumbling some 40%? A mismanaged Maps debacle that taints “Apple Maps” forever, regardless of how much they improve? John Browett? Shall we continue?

Varitimos writes, “Yet there is a huge deficit in the passion the iMaker once exuded. Maybe it’s just perception, but it is clear that the reality distortion field has dimmed and people who were once devotees of the Apple aura are now being swayed by number of features rather than the balance between form and function.”

MacDailyNews Take: “It is clear?” Prove it or don’t write it, straw man.

Varitimos writes, “Cook is a smart man, a highly effective operations executive, and perhaps history will prove him to be the best. I think he knows not to upset what works. The problem is that he may not know what to do when the landscape changes, and he’s forced to innovate. If he’s truly inherited the vision thing, and if Jobs did his job well enough to surround Cook with people who can collectively carry on in a Jobs-like way, then all is good… Apple needs a charismatic leader… I think [Jony] Ive can do it. He’s already mastered simplicity, the balance of form and function, and aesthetics. He’s tempered and well-liked.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote on March 5th:

Nowhere is it more obvious that Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs than on stage. Jony Ive needs to be convinced to take his passion live onto the stage. We saw him do it with extraordinary aplomb at Steve Jobs’ memorial. We see him do it in each new major product’s marketing video. Cook needs to cede the stage to the guy at Apple who is closest to having Steve’s vision, passion and presentation skills. Cook doesn’t strike us as having an overblown ego. He should step back. If Jony is reticent, he needs to be convinced. There is no rule that the CEO has to be the one presenting at Apple events. It is a total waste for Cook to keep trying so obviously hard to do something that is not his forte when Jony exists and is sitting right there backstage. We don’t hang on Cook’s every word (we just wonder why he’s overemphasizing some of them so much). We hung on Steve’s every word. We hang on Jony’s every word. It’s that simple. At the very least, have Tim MC the events, but make sure Jony is the one out there doing the reveals and gushing about the products. If Jony really loves Apple, and we’re sure he does, then he should demand the job. Step back, Tim, and focus on doing what you’re good at.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David E.” for the heads up.]