When the tech world recently got wind of the fact that Steve Jobs was no longer capable of running Apple to his fullest capacity and would instead step down as CEO of the company, many, understandably, reacted with sadness. Fears that the once ubiquitous tech entrepreneur and brilliant creative mind was leaving the company due to his declining health became paramount.
But there were also many other questions, like who, exactly, would become that driven, supremely talented creative force behind Apple? Who will step up to the plate and carry Apple off into the sunset? What does the future of Apple behold? And, most importantly, is Apple screwed?
Well, in short, no. Apple is not screwed. Yes, Steve Jobs becoming a mere ‘employee’ of Apple will stand as a huge blow to the company. Often considered to be one of the best and most capable CEOs in the world, he will be sorely missed in Cupertino.
But the future of Apple isn’t about Steve Jobs.
Regardless of how many people claim that Jobs is the lifeblood of Apple, there are still tons of other exceptional leaders who are currently an active part of the company, including the current CEO Tim Cook and Senior VP of Industrial Design Tim Cook, to name a few.
With that said, the future of Apple isn’t even in its leaders. Sure, having an organized and talented board of directors is important in ensuring that a particular company doesn’t go under.
But Apple doesn’t sell people. Apple sells products. And the future of Apple hinges upon just that: developing and marketing products.
So starting now, their goal should be in attempting to build that next niche market: The iPhone essentially became the go-to product for consumers within the smartphone market; the iTunes music store proved that consumers still don’t mind purchasing music, especially if you make it extremely convenient; the iPad, on the other hand, is carving out success and a massive chunk of the tablet market everywhere else.
Their job is to now find out where that next area of opportunity lies. Is it in cloud computing? Is it in TV? Is it in robots?
That, ultimately, is for them to discover. They have found phenomenal success in many of their current ventures simply by making wonderful products. That philosophy, ‘design good stuff’, has been the underpinning of their business model seemingly ever since Steve Jobs rejoined Apple in 1997. Now is the time for them to continue carving out products for niche markets, and turning those once-niche markets into multi-billion dollar ventures.
But for these next brief moments, as the dust settles over Cupertino, Apple should take some time to suck in the fresh, new air that resides over their headquarters.
Then, they should start to seriously consider where their biggest opportunities lie in the consumer market. Right now, the future may be cloudy for Apple, but it’s not necessarily a gloomy one just yet.
What do you think the future will behold for a Steve Jobs-less Apple?