Will Apple Survive without Steve Jobs? Apple’s Laughing Straight to the Bank…

Kelli Richards / October 10th, 2012

Just a few days ago, we quietly watched as the first anniversary of the death of Steve Jobs passed by.  As an Apple insider and alum, I always have an ear to the ground for what’s going on in their world.  The big question of whether Apple would continue its meteoric rise (the greatest turn around in history) seems to be answered.

The past few months, for Apple, have been almost as eventful as the company’s first big success back in the late 70’s – early 80’s. With a landmark legal victory over Samsung for copyright infringement, the company not only gets awarded $1.05 billion in damages (which Samsung is appealing, of course), but they will also exclusive rights over certain design and software ideas on which they own patents.

While some have slammed Apple’s case as being too broad or overzealous, the decision will surely shape the mobile software and hardware markets from this point on. For the consumer it means two things: First, Apple’s patented designs and features will most likely be cross-licensed for quite a pretty penny to competing developers and manufacturers. Second, this means that in order to competitively price their technology, companies will have to become innovative once again, rather than copy an already successful formula. So you’ll either see iPhone and iOS-esque features on high-end electronics, or innovative new designs may become the way of the future. That chapter has yet to be written.

With so much focus and attention on these two battling giants, what better time for Amazon to announce its new reader / tablet offering, the Kindle Fire. Strategically placed in the same realm as the competing iPad, Nexus, and Galaxy tablets, the Kindle Fire looks to open the floodgates of revenue for its content delivery platform. The three-way race between Apple, Amazon, and Google’s media stores appears well separated for now, but the competition is certainly heating up as the markets and technology change so rapidly. And the solid winner in ALL of this is the pro-sumer.

One would think that the competitive innovation to come from the lawsuit against Samsung, along with the introduction of the rival Kindle Fire would be cause for concern at the Apple HQ here in Cupertino, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

On September 12th, Apple announced the iPhone 5 in grandiose Apple fashion, after the project had been shrouded in secrecy for almost a year. (An issue I cover at length in my recent bestseller, “The Magic and Moxie of Apple – An Insider’s View”.)  Thinner, lighter, faster, and overall cooler than its predecessor, the iPhone 4s; the iPhone 5 also boasts a number of new features, such as a new charging interface and new operating system (iOS 6).

Consumers are certainly on board for the new and improved iPhone, as evidenced by the 2 million+ pre-orders within the first 24 hours of its announcement. As a result, the cost of Apple’s stock has risen to over $700 for the first time in company history.

So while rival tech giants are out there trying to copy Apple products or create competitive alternatives in hopes of dethroning them, Apple is simply laughing it’s way straight to the bank.

Kelli Richards, President and CEO
The All Access Group

Kelli Richards

Kelli Richards is a recognized thought-leader in digital music and entertainment with deep expertise in digital distribution and branded content, as well as working with a plethora of luminaries and innovators. She drove music and entertainment initiatives at Apple for 10 years, and helped to birth a whole new consumer movement around disruptive technologies & emerging business models. As President of The All Access Group, she has worked closely with a wide range of start-ups, Fortune 100 companies, and established artists and industry leaders alike as a sought-after strategic consultant for the past 15 years. www.allaccessgroup.com.
  • Rich

    I thought the question was not will Apple survive without Steve Jobs (of course they will) but will Apple remain innovative without Steve Jobs. I believe Jobs had input on the iPhone 5 so it doesn’t seem that the question has been answered yet.

    • FalKirk

      “will Apple remain innovative without Steve Jobs…that the question has been answered yet.” – Rich

      True. But the innovation expectations are all out of whack with reality. The Apple II was introduced in 1977. The Mac was introduced in 1984. The iPad was introduced in 2001, the iPhone in 2007 and the iPad in 2010. Are we expecting Apple to introduce ground-breaking, world changing innovations every year? The iPad is only two and a half years old. It’s just starting to change the world. Let’s let that run its course for a few years before we look for Apple to re-invent computing…

      …again.

      • “will Apple remain innovative without Steve Jobs…that the question has been answered yet.” – Rich

        That question will never be answered within the institutional memories of the current tech wanker pundits. As noted by The Angry Drunk, for the next decade, every successful Apple product will be part of Steve Jobs’ road map for Apple, and every failure will be evidence of Apple’s inability to run without Jobs at the helm.

    • pat

      It’s always dangerous when a company depends so much on a single man. It that man is not there anymore, can the company work well without than man in command ? Where the management, engineers really involved or kept out ?

  • mhikl

    I have friends and acquaintances who say Apple hasn’t brought out a new product since the iPad. I remind them that it is just in its third year. I use to explain the few years it took after Steve’s return for Apple to come out with the iMac, followed by iTunes and the iPod and the iPhone. Kelli, I am reframing that according to your outline from Apple ][ to the Mac and then Steven’s return and what has followed. By this reckoning and Apple history we would expect Apple to come out with its next new product in seven years, three years or an averaging of product introduction of five or six years. Looking at the history of Apple’s profits, whereby each new product supersedes the revenue of the previous product or combination of products, can’t we possibly expect the iPad to usurp the profits of even the mighty iPhone sometime in the next few years? Horace Dediu’s graphs seem to suggest the possibility.

    You and others at Techpinions have been very good at pointing out the progress in Apple’s products and profits along the road Apple has been travelling. The fly in the Apple ointment is the game its profit record seems to inspire. It’s up, it’s down, it’s up; there is method in the investor’s madness from which many make their living, but over each year since the iPod took Apple into the public conscious, it’s been gain, gain, gain. The year Apple revenues go flat might be the time to worry. If there is a pattern to Apple’s yearly roller coaster ride, the coming holiday season and just into the new year should see a huge jump in Apple revenue, profit and share value.

    I suspect that under the stewardship of Tim Cook, we can expect the iPhone to continue being profitable and the iPad revenues to follow iPhone’s history. If this is to happen, shouldn’t we expect Apple to continue as the top player for a good time to come? What makes me giddy, since the win over Samsung, is the possibility that the iPhone could streak off on the same trail the iPod took.

    • FalKirk

      “I have friends and acquaintances who say Apple hasn’t brought out a new product since the iPad.”

      The iPad is re-writing computing history as we speak. Asking what Apple has done since the iPad is like asking what the Wright brothers have done since the airplane, what Henry Ford has done since the assembly line, what Eli Whitney has done since the cotton gin, what Fulton has done since the steam engine.

      Do I exaggerate? Perhaps. But the iPad is about to revolutionize computing and it’s only two and a half years on its journey. Let’s allow this revolution to play out a bit before we demand Apple initiate the next revolution.

      • mhikl

        Dang those are good analogies. Thanks for the amo. Wish I’d had those for Thanksgiving supper. I’m a sure shooter now. 🙂

      • diddler

        I also think Apple TV also has the potential to be huge if done right, All the elements are there now it just needs someone to integrate it all with a nice friendly possibly voice activated interface.

  • “Consumers are certainly on board for the new and improved iPhone, as evidenced by the 2 million+ pre-orders within the first 24 hours of its announcement. As a result, the cost of Apple’s stock has risen to over $700 for the first time in company history.
    So while rival tech giants are out there trying to copy Apple products or create competitive alternatives in hopes of dethroning them, Apple is simply laughing it’s way straight to the bank.”
    Very True.

  • My how I love the discussions here.

    I don’t have anything to add, other than to agree that Apple’s TV foray could very well be their “Next big thing”, so to speak. I certainly hope so.

  • All i can say is that apple sucks next to samsung. The only good thing with apple is that its popular.

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