Is Apple Doomed Without Steve Jobs?

01.18.11 8 years ago

Steve Jobs is taking indefinite medical leave, putting Apple in the hands of Tim Cook. In any other company, this would be a sad, if unremarkable, event worthy of a press release and that’s about it. But it’s Apple, so the entire Internet, the stock market, and probably a few Apple Lisas that have gained sentience and are slowly working towards unmaking humanity are freaking out. So it’s time for a brief consideration of Jobs and Apple, here at Uproxx News.

First, the details: Jobs is still being consulted for overall decisions, but Tim Cook, the COO, will handle the day-to-day operations.  Basically, Jobs just isn’t coming into the office every day.  But Jobs is still involved in the company, so there’s no reason for Apple investors or hipsters to freak out, right? Weee-eeell…

The key thing to remember is that to the stock market, not to mention the general public, Steve Jobs is Apple. It was Jobs who dug the company out of the mire it had sunk into in the late ’90s. It was Jobs who came up with the iPod, and forced the music industry to accept the inevitable future of digital downloads. It was Jobs who came up with and drove the iPhone. And it was Jobs who created the iPad, by some measures the single fastest-selling and most popular consumer electronics device ever conceived. Yes, more popular than DVD players, by a comfortable margin. Sure, he’s a lightning rod due to his hard-charging style, but he’s undeniably done more to drive consumer electronics in the modern era than entire industries have been able to.

It’s also worth remembering that it was Jobs who took products that weren’t really popular and made them must-have. Tablet computers had been around for years before the iPad came along, but nobody cared about them except gadget enthusiasts and disturbingly dedicated Star Trek cosplayers. The iPad comes along and suddenly, they actually are the wave of the future.

On the other hand, Apple’s been here before, and more than once. Jobs first admitted to having pancreatic cancer in 2004, and had to take some time for his health. So the company was run in the interim by…Tim Cook. Then Jobs needed a liver transplant in 2009, so the company was then run by…Tim Cook. In other words, this is the third time Cook has taken over day-to-day for Apple, and somehow, he hasn’t managed to burn the place down or turn it into Wang Computing or whatever the Apple fanboys are convinced is going to happen.

To sum up; the Internet is basically reacting to nothing. We can’t wait for the blog reports about how “Steve Jobs looks all skinny, he must be dying” and “Steve Jobs must now eat the blood of orphans to survive” to start turning up, like they did the last two times. Stay classy, Internet.

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  • Steve Jobs takes a health break, leave store in the hands of competent high-level executive who’s done it twice before. Not so compelling a story written that way, is it? Better to try and handicap who will take over like he died in a car crash or something. (CNET)
  • Meanwhile, Apple’s stock takes a five percent hit for basically no reason. (Washington Post)

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  • In other Apple news, since we may as well stick with a theme, the iPad 2 is supposedly getting a powerful graphics processor and an even-more-absurdly high resolution screen. Needless to say, gamers have forgotten that this is an Apple product and are salivating. Silly gamers! Apple computers have never had games! Seriously, getting “Portal” last year was a big deal. Don’t get your hopes up. (CNET)
  • Meanwhile, after four years of rumors and postulating, the iPhone is coming to Verizon. So what will be the new great white whale for tech bloggers? Arguing over whether or not Verizon will get a white iPhone. A better demonstration of Apple’s ability to manage the press has never been demonstrated. (GizmoCrunch)

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  • How popular is the iPad? For the last three months of the year, analysts are estimating that Apple moved 6.2 million of them. So they’re not really hurting in that area. (MarketWatch)
  • Still not up to granddaddy, though: the iPod has sold at least 220 million units in its lifetime. (World of Apple)

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