Apple will never be the same again

It was a sad day for the IT industry and Apple fans alike when it was announced that Steve Jobs was to step down as Apple’s CEO. Apple will never be the same again.

Jobs was the driving force behind the giant’s brand and products; you could even say that he is Apple, the company which everyone knows and loves. Jobs became so deeply involved in everything that Apple did and particularly focused on improving the customer’s experience.

This attitude is what currently sets Apple apart from their competitors, in addition to the creation of innovative touches such as the magnetic power cord and the ‘breathing’ sleep light.

He quickly became Apple’s public face at almost every major product launch during the past ten years. As a result, Jobs has enabled the company to become more personable. The combination of the enigmatic Jobs and industry leading technology – namely the iPod, iPhone and iPad – meant that the company was destined to appeal to the public. It was clear however, that one day we would sadly hear of his resignation, and that day was possibly brought closer due to his ailing health.

The good news for Apple is that new CEO Tim Cook has been in this position before. When Jobs has been ill in the past, Cook was the stand-in Apple CEO. He has a similar drive and fondness for ‘gut feelings’, which helps to drive decisions forward to such an extent that he has often been called the ‘genius behind Steve’.

Great profit margins are usually driven by high prices or reduced costs; Apple offers both to its customers, which has been moulded by both men. Jobs created the desirable, expensive product, but it was Cook who hammered down Apple’s operating costs and made this stylish technology so profitable. This demonstrates that Jobs has left the company in safe hands with someone who knows how to maintain revenue streams.

However, while Cook might be knowledgeable about streamlining the business, he doesn’t know as much about creating the marketing buzz that has been Apple’s trademark for many years now; the concern is that the creativity we love will be replaced with more logical number crunching.

At the launch of the iPad 2, Jobs said of the company: “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with the liberal arts, married with the humanities that yields the results that make our hearts sing.” Apple’s DNA has fundamentally changed and the man who added the passion to their products has gone – replaced with someone who is much more focused on the bottom line.

The positive for Apple-lovers, however, is that Jobs has created a culture in his image and hasn’t entirely washed his hands of the company, as he will still be involved as Chairman. He is truly an icon and will always be remembered for his contribution to the growth and success of Apple, which is now the world’s biggest company and one of the most sought after brands.

The ‘i’ prefix has become part of our everyday language and a common sight in millions of households and offices across the world; a remarkable achievement for someone who returned to the company only 14 years ago to introduce the vibrant iMac computer to the world and activate our addiction to Apple’s orchard of products.

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Peter Gradwell is recognised as one of the UK’s leading young Internet and telecoms entrepreneurs, and was recently named by the Daily Telegraph as one of the Changing Faces of IT. Having established Gradwell in his second year of University, in 1998, Peter has delivered a staggering year-on-year organic growth to grow the company. Peter is an active industry shaper, having sponsored the establishment of voip.org.uk, being a founder member of the Internet Telephony Service Providers Association, a Director of the UK ENUM Consortium and is a respected industry lobbyist having worked on domain name policy, VoIP regulation and 999 issues. Has previously a Non-Exec Director of Newnet and Chaired Nominet UK’s Policy Advisory Board for 2 years. In Summer 2009, Peter completed a Phd in Computer Science at the University of Bath titled "Economic Algorithms for the Management of Resources in Computer Systems". He now devotes his spare time to teaching Kayaking and exploring the coast and rivers of the UK.