A year after Steve Jobs’ death, how high can Apple fly?

“Imagine Tom Brady leaving the New England Patriots and the team putting together, by some measures, its best season ever the following year,” Jon Swartz reports for USA Today.

“That’s what Apple has done in the year since Steve Jobs died Oct. 5, 2011. The company he co-founded, was banished from and ultimately saved has been on a magic carpet ride of outsized market value, revenue and sales projections. Much of the success goes to Jobs, who put his beloved creation on the path to glory, and whose fingerprints are all over its current and future plans,” Swartz reports. “‘Apple had a better 12 months than many firms have in 12 years,’ says Michael Gartenberg, an analyst who follows Apple for market research firm Gartner.”

Swartz reports, “But without Jobs to look over Apple, how long can the magic ride last, asks Vivek Wadhwa, vice president of academics and innovation at Singularity University… The forceful visionary — considered one of the greatest business and marketing geniuses ever — set such impossibly high expectations at the company that with each passing day, maintaining Jobs’ standard becomes more difficult, Apple watchers contend. Jobs’ name is synonymous with the Apple brand not only in terms of innovation but in culture: He was its public face, as Walt Disney was with his company, says Paul Saffo, a technology futurist who teaches at Stanford University. ‘Apple just had one of the most extraordinary 15-year runs’ in business history, says Adam Lashinsky, a Fortune writer and author of Inside Apple. ‘It is unreasonable to duplicate that, even if Jobs were still alive.'”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

27 Comments

  1. The hardware pinnacle has been reached. They next big thing needs to be software and not hardware as iOS is getting tired and OSX appears to also be getting stale.

    1. @Gary J

      “They next big thing needs to be software and not hardware as iOS is getting tired and OSX appears to also be getting stale.”

      Even if your statement were true, the “hardware plateau” and “software fatigue” are having no effect whatsoever on sales. Read Andy Zaky’s brilliant post at Bullish Cross. Apple has the most popular products in the largest emerging technology markets. The comments about the company falling behind the curve and/or losing its way are just noise.

      1. Go easy, GJ suffers from TADD or tech ADD. This condition makes for a self-deluded individual who thinks tech should change every other week, just to entertain them and alleviate their non-existent life boredom in that van down by the river.

    2. The hardware we have today are sometimes more evolutionary than revolutionary. (yes, I did not make that up myself but it is a goed way to say it) For example the beautiful MBP retina is largely what was to be expected from Apple. HP still has trouble creating an evolutionary version of its Elitebook so even at an evolutionary level Apple is outperforming.

      The iPhone 5 is also evolutionary. It is beautiful, a great update but it is not more than that. However, none of the other smartphone makers have created anything that is more than evolutionary, at best.

      We need to see things the way they are. You can not expect Apple to create revolutionary products in all product lines every year. That is crazy! The iPhone born 5 years ago was so big, it is hard to beat that.The “regular” MBP (not the retina one) is already so much ahead of the others, that there simply is no real need for a revolution.

      I am not a shareholder. I wish I had bought in the times some of the MDN frequenters bought but I did not. I do not care that much about how Apple is doing as a share. I am sure it will grow and I hope for many more “Apple now worth xx times etc”.

      I am a stakeholder. I am a stakeholder because I do not ever want to be forced back to MS or forced into the arms of Google. By forced I mean that Apple has stopped producing “trucks”. I care for OS. OSX is great. I enjoy working with ML. Sure, there are things I dislike, but it is very very usable. No. It rocks! I am just hoping that there will be OS after ML. And after the sequel to ML. I hope there will be an OS XI. Be it in 3 years, in 5 or in 10. I hate what MS has done to Windows with Windows 8. Windows 7 is useable as a “truck”. Not great, not likeable, not cool or anything, but workable. Windows 8 is just the iPad done badly on top of Windows 7.

      I can see how Apple’s strategy differs from MS. I like that and I prefer that. But I am also so very concerned that eventually my Mac will be an iOS type of device.

      I see it when I open Appstore. You see what you bought. You see how to get. You see how to update. Nowhere do you see how to uninstall. Sure, just delete the program from the Applications folder. But it should be on the Appstore too. Uninstall. It is installed, now uninstall.

      That is not the Apple way. that is not the most elegant way to do things and I am worried about such signs.

      I know, I am afraid Apple will move my cheese…..

  2. The pinnacle is ever out of reach, as mountaineers know: the challenge is ever new, with the great peaks changing, creating their own weather, claiming new lives every year. Simplistic market cliches are fallacies when applied to new market leaders. Apple is far from having peaked. Apple is Mount McKinley to the rapidly eroding foothills of its rivals. Behold—Palm is swampland, Research in Motion is landfill, HP is beleaguered, Nokia is swept into the maelstrom and Microsoft is hoisting a Hail Mary pass into the sun.

    Mixed metaphors. Whatever.

    1. “Microsoft is hoisting a Hail Mary pass into the sun.”

      Well said. It is ironic that while Microsoft is blinded by the sun, the receivers are in the dark i.e. no important specifics regarding pricing, battery life, etc.

  3. I wonder, being that it’s the anniversary of Steve’s passing, if Apple would pay homage on their website homepage for the day in a ‘memoriam’ tribute?

  4. here we go again.
    give iSteve a break, let him rest in peace on the iCloud damn it.

    has the guy not given the world enough, are we that greedy?!

    it is amazing to me how so many humans are sick, neurotic. as a race we seem to love success but take as much Schadenfreude in seeing companies fail shortly after, as if we own shares in the competition. it is as sick as IPOs that dilute all products/services, that we take pleasure in breaking firms apart in jealousy & greed.

    it is especially sad when firms like Apple deserve much better, when it is the only firm in the black america has to show off to the world and the only american firm that is loved by the world.

    not to mention, the irony of wanting to see it fail when apple is the only co. giving the world products they need or want and no matter how innovative it is or not post-steve so far, it still gives us the best examples of craftsmanship, perfection, precision, smoothness etc. their products still work the best and no one matches their ubiquity, seamlessness, integration, ease, service satisfaction, quality etc.

    is it not ironic how apple has to always invent new stuff whilst we accept the competition to sleep and/or produce flimsy products?!

    give apple a break to breathe.
    none of us complainers would ever amount to conceiving, let alone creating a single product worthy of changing society. apple has created 7 life-changing products, not just 1!! and apparently a new such category is coming up this xmas ; ) none of us is successful or rich as apple, yet we all proclaim we know better how to fix apple when it has no problems and we are just big talkers who do not walk?!

    let’s shut up and trust Apple for peep’s sake – is it not the only firm that has proven itself more than any other in human history?! it has risen twice like a phoenix from the brink. both times thanks to steve jobs. since iSteve Forbes let apple fall from 5 to 26th in rank for innovation but who cares, Apple is 100+ times worthier in value than little Forbes who only talks but never walks the talk and Tim Cook did raise apple’s value 79% since iSteve, plus Apple does have new innovative products up its sleeves still.

    we can not expect apple to invent new product or product categories each year. we can expect it realistically to improve products each year.

    let’s be happy with what we have. let’s not be greedy on so many levels. it’s unrealistic and unfair and detrimental and sick.

  5. It seems that the recent increase in the size of the nano means that there is little doubt that Apple is planning something like an iWatch.

    Obvious mail, message, call and Siri benefits aside, how cool would it be to put your phone 3 meters in front of you on a desk, and press a button on your iWatch to take a photo from the phone?

    I look forward to this product. 🙂

  6. The only way to determine a Plateau is in the Rear-View Mirror. It is difficult to make such predictions, but there is an interesting precedent, and it is instructive: what happened to the Walt Disney Company after its visionary founder Walt died in December 1966. The company coasted along on the momentum generated by Walt, for about 5 years, then started a long decline through the 70s, which hit its Nadir in the mid-80s (‘The Black Cauldron’). That slowly changed with the infusion of younger, new talent (“The Great Mouse Detective”), which created a good decade for them in the 90s, and also thanks to Pixar, Steve Jobs’s company.

    Apple will have Plateaued once other companies stop copying them.

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