Ten years after Jobs’ death, has Apple traded magic for profit?


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San Francisco (AFP)

Ten years after the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs, the company has grown into a device and service colossus that is the world’s most valuable business, but die-hard fans of the tech legend lament its aura of lost revolution.

“Apple no longer innovates” or “Steve Jobs is turning in his grave” are the kind of disillusioned tweets that arise especially during product launches led by Tim Cook, who took the reins of Apple in August 2011.

On the surface, Jobs – who died on October 5, 2011 after a battle with pancreatic cancer – left the company’s DNA steeped in his demanding intensity.

With every launch, Cook offers the same hyperbolic turns of phrase Jobs once did to unveil even incremental changes to the cameras or chips in his line of phones, tablets and other devices.

But are these innovations a game-changer in the post-job era?

“Apple has lost the ability to offer products that could revolutionize a market,” said Rob Enderle, technology industry analyst, Enderle Group.

“They have become a very financially efficient company to milk their loyal users,” he added.

The company has impacted hundreds of millions of lives since it was founded in 1976 in a garage, with devices like the iPod launched in 2011 and the release of the iPhone in 2007 that have put the internet in people’s pockets. people.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveils 2007 iPhone TONY AVELAR AFP

Since then, Apple has released an internet-connected watch, the Apple Watch.

“Apple’s measure is always innovation, that’s what people focus on … another aspect of a company’s success is its ability to change,” noted analyst Carolina Milanesi.

Apple has indeed diversified by adding many carefully integrated services to its devices: music, payments, videos and games.

The company had to learn a world outside of the hardware industry, a strategy Milanesi described as “more ropes that bring people to Apple… and keep them here.”

It’s a direction that probably wouldn’t have been dismissed by Jobs, who always tried to control the experience of his customers from start to finish, according to the biography written by Walter Isaacson.

In any case, Cook’s company has delighted Wall Street: the Apple brand was worth around $ 350 billion ten years ago, and it is now worth $ 2,358 billion.

“In our opinion (Apple will) reach $ 3 trillion in the next six to nine months,” predicted analyst Dan Ives.

Like many observers of the Californian juggernaut, and unlike some fans of Jobs, he believes that Apple has never stopped inventing.

He notably cites the development of the M1 chip, which replaces Intel in some new devices.

“I think Apple has evolved over time, as has Cook, and I think the one thing Jobs really believed in was organic innovation,” Ives said.

The face of co-founder and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs is created with sticky notes on the window of an Apple Store in Munich on October 18, 2011
The face of co-founder and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs is created with sticky notes on the window of an Apple Store in Munich on October 18, 2011 CHRISTOF STACHE AFP

He noted that the iPhone would continue to be the “heart and lungs” of Apple’s growth story for years to come, but he sees a virtual reality headset and even an Apple car from here. 2024.

It’s hard for nostalgic detractors to deny that Cook and his teams have been navigating contrary currents in recent years.

The global chip shortage does not appear to have affected the company’s ability to meet demand much.

His political compromises to keep the Chinese market, contrary to his commitments on confidentiality, have been limited to upset his detractors.

Apple has also been relatively unscathed so far on the antitrust front compared to other giants Google and Facebook, despite having been forced to loosen control of its App Store.

But it is in the crosshairs of European and American regulators who view the giant’s domination and its global reach with extreme suspicion.

There are also thorny issues like the recent emergency software patch to protect against a breach by the powerful spyware Pegasus, and Apple’s sudden decision to delay a child abuse measure that has sparked complaints. criticism of privacy advocates.

Some observers say Jobs’ tumultuous manner would not have been suited to handling such delicate cases.

Apple CEO Tim Cook holds the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Apple Watch Series 7 during a special event at Apple Park in Cupertino, California.
Apple CEO Tim Cook holds the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Apple Watch Series 7 during a special event at Apple Park in Cupertino, California. Apple Inc./AFP document

“Over the past ten years, I don’t think Jobs’ style would have survived,” Milanesi said, referring to his famous volcanic figure.

“In my opinion, Cook is a better leader where we are in the market environment and as a company,” she added.


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