Seven years later: Apple after Steve Jobs

A look at how the tech company has changed since the loss of its founder

Image supplied by: Photo illustration by Josh Granovsky
Steve Jobs (left) and Tim Cook (right)

Since its establishment on Apr. 1, 1976, Apple has seen an exceptional rise. As one of the most prominent technological powerhouses of the past few decades, the company is recognizable across the globe, with consumers on every continent and in every kind of community. 

The corporation’s most recognizable founder is Steve Jobs, who passed away from cancer on Oct. 5, 2011. An innovator and incredibly revered figurehead, Jobs was known for taking a hands-on approach to the company — oftentimes, corporate decisions were made as a result of his personal stances on the subject at hand. 

Apple lacked acquisitions and mergers largely due to Jobs’ disinterest in doing so, and the company’s closing of its charitable organization in 1997 was largely driven by him. With his acclaimed black turtleneck and glasses, Jobs was a staple part of major company meetings and presentations regarding new merchandise and often took it upon himself to facilitate the creation of innovative new products. 

Since his death, the company has turned to a new leader in the form of current CEO Tim Cook. Cook previously served as Apple’s COO, and maintained a close relationship with Jobs during his time at the forefront of the corporation. 

Cook has been criticized for lacking the same kind of technological vision and design knowledge of his predecessor. Apple, in turn, has suffered from a creative stagnancy that has led to fewer new product categories in comparison to the Jobs era of the company’s history. 

Cook instead focuses on the long-term operational side of the company and has passed the creative lead to Jony Ive, a leading design expert at Apple. The result of this leadership structure was the 2015 release of the Apple Watch, the most significant new venture since Jobs’ absence. 

Apple has instead expanded its horizons through other means. The company has launched several charitable ventures that arguably might not have occurred under Jobs’ reign. Most notable was Apple’s $3-billion acquisition of Beats by Dre in 2014, though it has since been allowed to run as an independent subsidiary. 

Apple’s products throughout this decade have since primarily undergone upgrades rather than the introduction of any new product designs. These updates have been met with both positive and critical responses, with some accusing Apple of intentionally pushing updates that force users to buy new phones. 

All in all, Apple has indeed seen a decrease in momentum since the loss of their founder and chief creative visionary. Despite this, their popularity has only increased; whether they pick up the pace in the future is a question that remains to be answered.



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