Steve Jobs passed away in 2011, seven years ago. Since then, Steve Jobs’ deputy, Tim Cook, has been in charge of Apple. Before Jobs died, Cook was unsure about taking over Apple and tried to seek advice from Steve. asking how Jobs would have handled each decision. "Just do what is right," Jobs said. It appears Cook has taken this advice to heart.
Cook has been criticized for lack of the 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. Therefore, Cook has focused on the long-term operational side of the company and he handed over the creative lead to talented Jony Ive, a leading design expert at Apple, to find new solutions and to recruit new people. The result of this leadership structure was the 2015 release of the Apple Watch, the most significant new venture since Jobs’ absence.
Years after, we can legitimately ask: was the Apple Watch a failure or a success? We don’t have the exact numbers yet because Apple has yet to release figures on sales of the Watch, but “Kantar Worldpanel Business” reported that only 15.6% of U.S. consumers own a smartwatch comparing to the 77% of Americans who own a smartphone. In general, it could be said that the Apple watch, like many other smartwatches, failed to meet expectations and penetrate the mainstream consumer market. The top reason is that they are either too bulky and expensive or they are too limited in functionality to justify the purchase and use by all but the most dedicated gadget enthusiast.
Instead of launching new innovative products, Apple expanded its horizons through other means. The company has launched several 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. One of the most recent is the acquisition of London-based tech company Shazam with the price of 300 million pounds, which is unofficial information. Shazam is also one of the world's most popular apps; by just turning on the app it can identify nearly any song you that is playing. With this business acquisition, Apple's goal is to release its smart speaker, the HomePod, over the coming months. Therefore, the integration with Shazam's proprietary technology would certainly make sense if it wants to compete with the likes of Google and Amazon. Overall, Apple has purchased between 15 and 20 companies per year in the last four years.
To conclude, Apple has indeed seen a decrease in momentum since the loss of their founder and the 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.
Author: Zoran Pesic