Five years after Steve Jobs left us too soon, are Apple’s best days behind it?

“One of the most important succession plans in corporate history will hit a milestone this week,” Steven Russolillo writes for The Wall Street Journal. “Five years ago, Apple Inc.’s iconic and visionary co-founder Steve Jobs passed the torch to his handpicked successor, Tim Cook. The official transition took place six weeks before Mr. Jobs passed away.”

“Now Apple is the world’s largest company by market value and remains one of the most influential. Its $53 billion in net income last year was greater than the combined earnings of technology behemoths Facebook Inc., Google’s parent Alphabet Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp.,” Russolillo writes. “At the same time, though, Apple’s growth is slowing, its stock is stagnating and it is facing more concerns than ever about its future. Underscoring all of this is one key question that Mr. Cook will likely never escape: Are Apple’s best days behind it?”

“Its valuation is cheap, but it has been cheap for years,” Russolillo writes. “The worry that Apple doesn’t have another truly revolutionary product up its sleeve is what weighs on the stock.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Those who are worried that Apple after Steve Jobs doesn’t have revolutionary products up its collective sleeve do not understand Apple Inc. nor do they wear an Apple Watch.

24 Comments

  1. I think they still have insanely great people at Apple and they still have passion.

    ‘best days’ can be defined a number of ways. I think the company still has the chops to take Apple to new heights, now if that translates to a high stock price is hard to say but I expect the company will still make great products regardless of what the vultures on Wall Street think.

      1. It is not a “homophobic”comment. It is just reality check. Cook is not a visionary, not allowing any visionary to come into the light. He controls the company with strong grip, milking away profits from past products, but get real, iPhone is the only thing that keeps Apple floating. I myself cannot wear any kind of watch (it causes me some sort of skin reaction), so I am not a consumer of watches (as many people that I know, though they do not have any kind of issueswith it like me).

        Apple needs (badly) the next great thing. As Jobs once said, who cares about iPhone (Apple ][)? It will be dead in a few years from now.

        No, let me say that again: Apple needs to recreate mobile industry again. We are stuck with expensive plans, limite data plans, poor network coverage (try to travel from Boston to Phil watching movies on Youtube), and lame apps. We need something better, we deserve something, than Tim Cook.

    1. Who’re you trying to convince moron? Yourself? You have Apple Bashing Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. A seriously sick dude. And you were NEVER an Apple fanboy troll. Nothing you say is remotely constructive, only the spew of a jackass.

  2. Looking at their R&D spending, you know for sure Apple has dozens of significant products in the works.

    Maybe half of them don’t reach the market and a lot are BT earbuds and mice and such, but we all know they have a handful of game changers in the works.

    With sales at the levels Apple has, they have to be very prepared from the standpoint of reliability, component quality, supply levels & total assurance that they don’t have “early failures.” Hence, I fully understand why it takes so long to make a major introduction.

    This fall is going to be very interesting!

  3. Apple is no longer the company it was under Jobs–no matter how we all wish it was the same, it can never be. Apple is in maintain mode–like what Steve referred to ‘when the salesmen takeover’. We are not completely there yet, but the train is leaving the station. Cook is not an idea man which is what Apple needs at the top to BE Apple. IMO Apple will always continue to be a huge revenue generator but they are largely living off the fuel of the former greatness. It brings me no pleasure saying that. I wish very much that i could say differently.

    1. Easy to say since we really have no idea how Steve Jobs would have done in this same time period, facing many of the same challenges. Even Steve Jobs could not wish paradigm busting disruptive technology out of thin air and there were long periods between real Jobs innovation and new devices. *Sigh* – how quickly we forget.

      iPods, iPhones and iPads follow a logical line of introduction and similarity overlap. It’s when you get out of those “easy pickings” technology areas it becomes harder. Not to mention when a form factor becomes mature.

      And Tim is not dependent only on himself for future trends and ideas – he has his Apple crew to depend on, just as Jobs did. Jobs didn’t dream up the technology on his own, only saw what was then existing and how it could be put together in the most appealing and useful way. Or challenging his team to make it even better.

      Personally one of the few complaints I have is the misguided 2013 Mac Pro, which certainly was not designed for all pro users chewing satisfaction needs. One size (or model) does not fit all. Let’s hope for a real re-focus on the Mac, in all it’s flavors.

      1. @ Peterblood.
        You are mistaken and forgetful.
        When Steve returned to Apple and forward and up to his death, we had a LOT of new innovations.
        The iMac (many different versions of which were groundbreaking and innovative. Remember the lamp/snowball iMac?)
        The ”G” line of Mac, especially the G5 lineup.
        The BIG SWITCH to Intel from PowerPC Macs.
        All of the iPod lineups of which I really miss the last classic 256 GB iPod.
        The iPhone and then the introduction of the iPad just before his death.
        Apple was plenty busy with great innovations from 2000-2010.
        The only thing that Tim Cook has contributed to Apple, on his watch, is a watch which is not a “must have” device, like an iPhone/iPad or Mac, and an expensive and, initially, underpowered Mac Pro which looks great, but needs lots of expensive and cluttering add-ons to make a real Pro machine.
        Apple needs to rethink to Mac Pro and the desktop Mac lineup.
        Apple really needs to go back to offering a mid-grade/mid-priced Mac for pro use, OTHER THAN AN iMac!

        1. Hardly. I am not forgetful, you are compressing the time frame. I was there for all of it since the beginning. And you miss the interpretation of some of those events. Merely switching from IBM to Intel chips wasn’t an innovation, it was necessary since PowerPC chips weren’t going anywhere, and ran too hot. (I am taking a dead G5 Power PC Mac Pro to Apple for recycling tonight.) IBM essentially lied to Job as to their roadmap, which was a dead end for Apple. Some would look at even using Power PC chip as Jobs folly, finally having to capitulate and go to Intel like the Dark Side’s preference.

          My point is it wasn’t one massive innovation after another under Job’s watch but a steady progression of smaller ones, and today the standard is placed much higher, people are jaded. Higher than probably anyone in the Apple CEO job can probably ever hope to satisfy. Make no mistake Jobs had his moments but the bigger question is where could he have taken it? Or would he face the same problem Tim Cook has today of over-expectations? It will be interesting to see what will come out of all the R&D Apple has been doing.

          I agree there are plenty of basic areas Apple could and should do better at. As discussed many times on this site the Mac Pro debacle and upgrading of Macs and different form factors for the Mac. As the article said it really is the next 3-5 years that will see if Tim Cook has what it takes. I hope good things are coming and not something wicked this way comes.

          1. peterblood71
            Not really compressing anything.
            When SJ came back to Apple, we had, first, the iMac and a few years and two designs, next the iPods, next the newer G3 and new G4, G5 lineup, the introduction of the MacMini, next gen Intel Macs and various new iMac/MacBook/MacMini designs, then the iPhone and then the iPads.
            Have I missed anything?
            I am a 20+ year Apple veteran (survived the Amelio/Spindler death days of Apple). Been through all of this, too!

            1. I still respectfully disagree. Iterations of existing Mac products is not big “innovation.” The 1984 Mac WAS innovative. (With the possible exception of the fruity iMacs I guess.) (Jobs should be given credit for his non-Apple developments as well in NeXT which of course became OS X.) We’re talking about the main innovation events with new products. By today’s standard mere upgrades are not the innovation people expect to see. They’re already bored with real upgrade improvements in the iPhone and iPad line even though solid. I guess we’re entitled to see things a little “differently.”

          2. Apple simply IS NOT innovating like they did when Jobs was still alive.
            Jobs pushed his employees to get things done whether they like this approach or not.
            He was a visionary, but he was a task master, as well.
            He wanted results and postive results!
            I do not see any of this drive or passion for Apple and its products in Tim Cook!
            His presentations at Keynote events puts me to sleep.
            Cook really needs to make someone else the spokesperson for Apple.
            Like maybe Craig Federighi or Phill Schiller (if he lost a little more weight).
            I see no “spark” in Tim Cook!
            I just see someone who choosen as a someone competent enough to run a Fortune 500 company that is running a company, not his own, and just going through the motions and just keeping Apple making money by just offering derivative products, that are just incrementally (not entirely) new and innovative products!
            It’s five years, now
            This is the usual time when Apple has something entirely new and groundbreaking to offer by now.

            1. You say they are not innovating but are you privy to what’s going on inside Apple right now? Innovation along the lines of what Steve Jobs did have continued apace. Spectacular innovation has not, but is rare. Perhaps that 5 year window you talk about waiting for the SPECTACULAR INNOVATION EVENT is about to happen. Is an Apple Car enough to satisfy this? What device areas in technology has Apple yet to compete that consumers would crave? To be innovative in something you need a goal, a future product in mind. Macs, iPods, iPhones and iPads, even Apple Watch’s are all computers of varying flavors. What is left? Personally I’d like Apple to use some of their cash on space projects as Elon Musk has done with SpaceX.

  4. Tim is an increadibly capable CEO……

    Stop this bogus comparisons and Apple is doomed bs…
    Apple now and Apple at Steves time are two massively different Animals….

  5. Another Betteridge’s law of headlines. Get smart MDN. Oh, I see.You cant’. Not with 2014 and Bottvnik in your stable.Don’t
    you tire of switching identities in the quest for click bait?

  6. It doesn’t seem as though Apple or Tim Cook is respected by anyone and that’s definitely a bad sign. While the rest of the tech companies are soaring, Apple looks as though it’s sputtering. That 800 lb. gorilla in the room is no more. It’s more like a wind-up monkey with the cymbals. As a shareholder it really disappoints me why Apple isn’t ripping off the arms of their rivals or at least attempting to. Apple is always said to be on the bottom of the totem pole and I can’t tell exactly why that is so. Apple has become so passive it’s sickening.

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