Tech wrap: Apple without Jobs

October 6, 2011

As people around the world flocked to the nearest Apple store and to social networks to express their grief and appreciation after the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, others turned their attention to the future prospects of the company he helped turn into an innovative tech juggernaut.

Under the leadership of Jobs, Apple’s board of directors took a backseat role in charting the tech giant’s course and keeping tabs on its executive team, but that’s all about to change, writes Lucy Marcus in a piece for Reuters.com. Marcus takes a closer look at what Apple’s CEO Tim Cook and the company’s board need to do to ensure the company continues to grow and innovate in the wake of Jobs’s death, from promptly choosing a new chair to diversifying its members as the company seeks further growth abroad.

“The greatest service the Apple board can give is to ask the tough questions of the executive team and of one another,” writes Marcus. “Asking questions in the relative safety of the board room, and judging the veracity of answers there, is a lot better than staying silent and finding out that things are not right in the cold hard world.”

Tech analysts have already begun battling it out over Apple’s future prospects. There are those experts such as Tony Berkman, CEO of ITG Investment Research, who see a bright future for Apple despite the loss of its creative leader. “Steve Jobs imprinted his culture within the company, so even though he’s not there people who have been around him and who have worked with him know what’s important,” remarked Berkman in an interview with Reuters Insider.  Rob Enderle, principal analyst at Enderle Group, takes a less optimistic view, arguing that Apple is likely to suffer a gradual decline similar to other tech firms that have lost iconic leaders.

Reuters correspondents Mark Bendeich and Astrid Wendlandt glance back at Steve Jobs the designer, whose iPod has now gained its place on the wall of fame of global consumer icons, alongside the Volkswagen Beetle, the Coca-Cola bottle, the Swiss Army pocket knife or the Olivetti portable typewriter.

Walt Mossberg, the Wall Street Journal’s lead technology columnist, shares a few of his more personal memories of Steve Jobs in his latest column. In it Mossberg recounts a three-hour visit he had with Jobs shortly after the Apple CEO’s liver transplant back in 2009. He also recalls some of his marathon phone calls with Jobs. “He’d sometimes call to complain about some reviews, or parts of reviews . . . I knew he would be complaining because he’d start every call by saying ‘Hi, Walt. I’m not calling to complain about today’s column, but I have some comments if that’s OK.’”

The Apple II, The Macintosh, iPod and iTunes, the iPhone or the iPad: each of these Apple products made its own mark in the world of personal technology and computing. The New York Times has asked readers to rate which one had the greatest impact on their lives. The iPod seems to be the clear front-runner with 6,751 votes at time of this posting. The iPad was trailing along in last place with 948 votes.

The Telegraph’s Emma Barnett takes a closer look at Jobs’s role in creating a market for digital music. “Before iTunes, music executives had failed to be convinced about the success of an online music market. But coupled with Apple’s hugely-successful iPod – launched just two years earlier – Steve Jobs proved it was a market worth exploring,” she writes.

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