If you haven't heard already, Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs has officially stepped down as the chief executive and recommended acting CEO Tim Cook to fully replace him.
Naturally, many investors, analysts and Macheads are wondering what this might mean for the future of Apple. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has been on such a roll lately that has seen it become the only major competitor in the tablet market and one of the only tech companies to actually be turning a profit off of consumer technology this year.
A lot of this can be attributed to the popularity of Jobs. Who else can garner as much applause and a standing ovation every time he steps out in public onto the keynote stage dressed in a now-signature black turtleneck?
However, to assume that Jobs' resignation will lead to a downturn for Apple is unfounded. It will be a shift in the company's history, certainly. But it has already been proven this year that Apple's momentum can continue as Jobs steps back from the company. (And, FYI, he's not completely gone from Apple as he'll still be serving as chairman of the board if approved, which will undoubtedly happen.)
For example, Cook actually stepped up to the plate as acting CEO earlier this year when Jobs went on medical leave in January. Apple has since turned out blowout earnings the last two quarters. Although iPad shipments were slightly lower in April than expected (which were still nothing to cry about), the company propelled to outstanding earnings and shipment numbers in the third fiscal quarter, propelled by the new tablet and a smartphone that is over one year old already.
As for Jobs, well this almost makes look like a hero for sticking it out this long given his well-known health problems that have plagued him for almost a decade. That is sure to stick in the minds of consumers and investors alike as to how committed Apple's employees are to its company.
Although the blog is known for its tongue-in-cheek humor, Gizmodo goes so far as to praise Jobs as "greatest businessman, CEO and product developer of our era," adding that he has become "an icon and idol who has made this world we live in a better place." Maybe that's a bit over the top, but it doesn't change the sentiment shared by many.
Of course, it would be wrong to hold Cook up to these kinds of standards from the get-go. Even more famous tech bigwigs like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg can't compete with the aura around Jobs. Thus, the more that anyone tries to compare Cook to Jobs' image, that in itself would tarnish Apple's brand more than anything else.
Plus, just because Jobs is leaving does not mean that Apple doesn't have any talent left. Just look at iPod-designer Jonathan Ive, Apple's senior vice president of industrial design for one example.
The simplest thing to do for anyone who wants to see Apple's continued success is let Cook have his own persona and image, and then watch Apple continue to sell millions of iPads and iPhones galore.