Apple, ten years after the death of Steve Jobs, from magic to the profit machine


Ten years after the death of Steve Jobs, Apple has evolved into a sprawling ecosystem of devices and services, which is worth more than any other company in the world, but which has lost its laboratory aura to “revolutions”. unconditional of the mythical co-founder.

“Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs”, “Apple no longer innovates”, “Steve Jobs is turning in his grave” … Disillusioned comments abound on Twitter, especially during the presentations of new products by Tim Cook, who took the reins in August 2011.

Apparently, the style of Steve Jobs, who died on October 5, 2011, has remained: suspense and emphasis are required.

Every big day, whether it’s technical improvements, a new line of ever more sophisticated iPhones, a brand new new video streaming service or a new case color, Tim Cook and his acolytes display the same enthusiasm and the same hyperbolic overtones.

But without Steve Jobs, “Apple has lost its ability to release products that could revolutionize a market,” says independent analyst Rob Enderle. “They have become a financial firm, a well-oiled machine that knows how to milk its loyal consumers.”

The company launched in a garage in the very young Silicon Valley, in 1976, has changed the daily life of hundreds of millions of people with its computers and accessories like the iPod (2001) and especially the iPhone (2007).

The visionary Steve Jobs has revolutionized computing on two occasions: graphical interfaces were imposed in the 1980s as a method of communication between machines and humans. And the smartphone has put the internet in everyone’s pocket.

– When will the 3rd revolution? –

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Apple has since released a connected watch, the Apple Watch.

“Apple’s measure has always been innovation, and this is important (…) but there are other criteria, such as the ability of a company to reinvent itself”, nuance analyst Carolina Milanesi .

The Cupertino group has indeed diversified by adding many meticulously integrated services to its devices: music, payment, videos, games, sports lessons …

“Apple now has more strings to its bow than ever to attract new users and keep them,” said the expert from Creative Strategies.

A strategy that would probably not have denied Steve Jobs, who sought to simplify and control the experience of consumers from A to Z, according to the biography written by Walter Isaacson.

Neither Apple nor any other company has revolutionized digital in the past decade. But the cult of the apple continues and keeps the pressure on Tim Cook.

Even if, for many analysts, the Californian colossus has never stopped inventing.

“They innovate internally, despite the temptation to make acquisitions. It is at the heart of their DNA and Steve Jobs would be very proud of it,” said Dan Ives, citing in particular the development of the M1 chip, which replaces those of Intel in some new devices.

“The iPhone will continue to be the heart and lungs of Apple’s growth for years to come. (…) But we are going to have Apple glasses, for virtual and augmented realities, and also an Apple car in 2024. “, he says.

– Soon the 3,000 billion? –

The methods of Tim Cook in any case enchant Wall Street: the apple brand was worth around 350 billion dollars ten years ago, against 2.358 billion on October 1, 2021.

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“And they will reach 3 trillion within 6 to 9 months,” predicts Dan Ives, little worried about headwinds.

The global shortage of microchips does not appear to have affected the company’s ability to meet demand too much. Apple’s political compromises on privacy in China trouble only critics.

The group has also been relatively spared so far on the competition law front, compared to its neighbors Google and Facebook, which are crumbling under lawsuits for abuse of dominant position.

An American judge even recently cleared much of the monopoly charges brought by video game publisher Epic Games.

On this file as on that of the tools to fight against child pornography, decried by many NGOs, Tim Cook advances with concessions at the margin, in a style very different from that of his tempestuous predecessor.

“Over the past ten years, I don’t think Steve Jobs ‘style would have survived,” remarks Carolina Milanesi, referring to Steve Jobs’ reputedly difficult character.

“In my opinion, Tim Cook is a better leader for the company today.”

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