Why Apple Can Never Be The Way it was When Steve Jobs was In Charge

Many people have been coming down on Apple lately, calling it a "Haunted Empire" that's doomed in the post Jobs era. We think this is unfair. Tim Cook is a different person with a different management style. He's also inherited a lot of problems left behind by Jobs. Yes, Apple as it is right now is not the hot racecar tearing up the track that it once was, but nothing can keep up that kind of intensity forever. Right now, they're taking a bit of a pit stop, keeping that car idling while developing the next big, huge, awesome idea. Apple is loaded with some of the most brilliant people alive. Something big will happen.

Post Jobs foibles

  • iOS Maps was a disaster:  The guy in charge of that project, Scott Forstall, eventually left his position which is too bad because he was a tremendous talent.
  • Bendable Phones: People sliding their iPhone 6 Plus into their pants pocket are finding that the large, flat phone bends. Not a workable situation for fans of skinny jeans.
  • Marketing is not so hot: The silver and gold phones both have white faces, and the space gray colored phone has a black face. This is fine, but wouldn't you think that in their marketing they'd show each phone front and back? People have had to change their orders because the marketing pieces are not showing the product accurately and folks aren't getting what they expected. So far, this launch hasn't been great.
  • Siri: Siri is still totally unreliable. She misunderstands many things and remains a novelty for most people.
  • Information Leaks: It used to be that nobody had any clue whatsoever what Jobs had up his sleeve. Now, there's plenty of info out there on what's coming up next from Apple. This is no big deal really, but they've lost their "Ta-Daaaaaaa!" moment. It's like finding out the sex of your baby before it's born, giving it a name and telling everyone. What's left to say when they baby is born other than "it's here!"?  It's a lot less thrilling.
  • Falling Behind: We've all seen how Samsung mocks Apple in the iPhone 6 ad attack.

The truth is that Apple is not the same company it used to be, but why should it try to be?  We've all been disappointed lately, and they have done some disappointing things, but nobody can always be a screaming insane racecar.

Part of what's happening is that Jobs had indisputable authority to make big changes. This is something that Tim Cook as his predecessor does not have. This is challenging in the face of rivals like Google and Facebook. They still have their ultimate authorities. What do you do when the guy with the vision and the power dies?  What would happen to Facebook if Zuckerberg met an untimely end? 

Things would be different.

Stuff over at Apple is a little bit more relaxed under Cook's management. For example, Jobs hated it when people took vacation, but Cook allows it. He's just got a different philosophy about how to run the company. He's not as intense and he wants to let his people have a life.

Who does Tim Cook bounce his ideas off? Jobs didn't create stuff all by himself. He had Jonathan Ive, Scott Forstall and Tim Cook as his sidekicks. Forstall has left,  Jobs has passed away, and the dream team is shattered.

How can we possibly expect the same Apple under these circumstances?

Yes, sad things have and continue to happen, but let's give Apple a little bit of a break and wait and see what comes down the road. Maybe that screaming racecar will tear up the track once again. It'll just be doing it differently.

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