|Apple CEO Steve Jobs|
Since returning to Apple in 1996, Jobs has pushed the company to achieve one of his long-held goals—to turn computers into mainstream appliances as ubiquitous and easy-to-use as televisions, toasters, and food processors. He has been stunningly successful in achieving that vision. And now he's probably done. The tech world, today, looks more or less exactly like what Steve Jobs has always said the tech world should look like, and Apple is one of the most valuable companies in that universe. What more is there left for Jobs to do?
Manjoo gets it exactly right. From Jobs’ point of view, he’s summited all the tech mountains worth climbing. Without question, the shape of today’s tech world is the shape Jobs imagined it back in 1976. So in a very real sense, Jobs doesn’t need Apple anymore.
As for Apple, it doesn’t really need Jobs.
Remember the 2007 launch of the iPhone: Though the unveiling of the product was done by Jobs, the actual development of the product was during a time when retrospectively, Job was having obvious and severe health concerns—culminating in April 2009 with his liver transplant.
In the short run, clearly Apple’s stock might take a hit—but in the medium to long run? Considering how successful Apple currently is—what with devices, the App Store, the brick-and-mortar store, all of them fabulously successful by any metric—and considering that each of these areas of Apple’s still have room for galloping growth—with nary a single serious competitor on the horizon, not even Google—Apple is going to continue doing very well for many years to come.
The only ominous note is that, unlike Jobs’ last health break, he has not announced how long he will be out of Apple.