I ask myself this question everyday, and if you’re reading this blog post, you’re likely a hardcore iPhone, iPad or iPod lover. All these have had the “touch” or been graced by Steve Jobs. Would Apple be able to keep going if Steve (we’ll use first name basis when naming people) was unable to return from a medical leave of absence?
I think it all boils down to the fact that Steve is the face of Apple and firmly moulded into what Apple identifies itself as. His image has created a perception of the brand where they put people first, they allow design to lead technology, and having the courage to do things a little differently. Always keeping focused on their vision, even though sales may suffer for a while.
What we have to all remember, is that Steve doesn’t lock himself in a room for weeks/months on end thinking about what people may want, and then emerge with the iPad. There’s a team of many people (even trained by Apple people) that clearly understand what Apple’s mission is. Sure, Steve oversees all talks and demands perfection while developing the next product, but I think it would be outlandish to assume that if Steve didn’t return, Apple’s ‘team’ would all of a sudden forget what they learned from him.
They understand what makes Apple, Apple and would continue to work on products at the same high level we’ve come to not only know, but expect from Apple. About 20 years ago when Steve was forced out of Apple, he wasn’t in firm control, and Apple failed because the brand relied heavily on User Groups not the culture it’s established today.
Failure would be highly unlikely at this point.