Loss of Steve Jobs Still Felt, in Culture and in Cupertino
By Adam Dickter / CIO Today. Updated October 05, 2012.
If you visited Apple.com Friday, you were greeted with a montage of Steve Jobs images accompanied by soundbites from the company's visionary co-founder and longtime CEO.
"It's an iPod, a phone and an Internet communicator," says Jobs, holding up the first-generation iPhone in 2007. The 105-minute video also includes audio of him using it to make a prank phone call. "I'd like 4,000 lattes to go, please."
'Our Values Originated with Steve'
In another golden nugget from the man who arguably spearheaded the mobile device revolution and launched Apple's trajectory toward the single-highest private capitalization in the world, Jobs said: "It's in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough. It's technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our hearts sing."
It was perhaps the most moving and fitting of tributes to Jobs on the first anniversary of his death. Jobs was born on Feb. 24, 1955.
"Our values originated with Steve and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple," wrote Jobs' successor, Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a message.
His absence was widely felt across the country in the past year as commentators and analysts assessed the progress of Apple in his wake. At the Emmy Awards ceremony Sept. 23, Jobs was included in a montage of entertainment figures who died during the past year because of his work launching Pixar, the innovative animation studio responsible for Toy Story, Cars, Finding Nemo and other films.
And on Friday, his name was a top-trending topic on Twitter. Tech Web sites and columnists posted tributes rehashing his impact. A group of fundraisers, dubbing themselves iCancer, started a Twitter campaign to raise $3.2 million to get companies to test a possible cancer treatment from Sweden. (Jobs died of pancreatic cancer.) On the online donor site Indiegogo, however, only $27,328 had been raised toward a $1 million goal.
Jobs will continue to be an almost mythical figure inspiring the imagination of current and future innovators and inventors, as well as a pop culture figure. In addition to the best-selling authorized biography "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson, St. Martin's Press expects to publish a memoir next year by Jobs' high school girlfriend, Chrisann Brennan, with whom he had a daughter.
The anniversary follows the successful launch of new versions of the iPhone and iPad tablet in the past year. Jobs was intimately involved in the development of those devices and reportedly micromanaged the design teams until the finished product met his tough standards.
Tough Road Ahead
But the embarrassing release of a substandard mapping application pre-installed in the iPhone 5 last month has led to questions about whether standards, or imagination, may be slipping in his wake.
"You can't remove a powerful micro-manager from a successful company and expect it to continue on as successfully as it did while they were there," said technology consultant Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group.
"Jobs instituted himself into every major process from procurement to quality control, and with him gone, folks are now having trouble filling the void," Enderle told us.
He noted that the iPhone 5 was released later than its predecessors and that an expected smaller version of the iPad is overdue, considering that rivals have variable sizes. Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple also doesn't seem to run the same tight ship as it did in the past, Enderle said.
"We knew everything about the iPhone 5 and appear to know everything but the name of the iPad Mini," he said. "Apple is still doing very well on the momentum that Steve Jobs drove but that won't last indefinitely, and we saw that with Apple the last time Steve left.
"Cook needs to fix this because if Apple doesn't get back on its game, eventually it will slide and litigation won't make up the difference, no matter how well it is executed."