The death of Apple Inc. founder Steve Jobs has dominated the news in a way that the passing of a celebrity rarely does. Jobs, who died just about month after he resigned as chief executive officer of Apple, has left behind a massive, perhaps incalculable legacy.
Tributes to the late Steve Jobs are left outside the Apple Store in London October 6, 2011. Technology and design admirers flocked to Apple stores worldwide on Thursday to express their sorrow at the death of Steve Jobs, the visionary who transformed the daily lives of millions. The Apple co-founder who inspired the Macintosh computer, iPod, iPhone and iPad died on Wednesday at the age of 56 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He stepped down as Apple chief executive in August.
Now there are some questions about the future of the company he founded and nurtured.
International Business Times spoke to Professor Lance Strate, Professor of Communication and Media Studies at Fordham University in The Bronx, N.Y. about Jobs' death and its potential impact on Apple.
IBTIMES: Does Jobs' death put more pressure on Apple to keep trotting out more successful products?
STRATE: Absolutely. To most of us, Steve Jobs was Apple. It was his brainchild, his vision, his personality that made the company what it was. When he was forced out in 1985, the company floundered and all but foundered, and when he returned in 1996, he put Apple back on track and took it from a niche, boutique market to the dominant force that it is today. While it is a vast oversimplification to say that the company is nothing more than an extension of the individual, everyone will now be looking to see if Apple can continue to be innovative and, simply put, “cool,” without its guiding light, or will it go into decline, much as Disney did after Walt Disney died, and before Michael Eisner came along to revive the corporation?
IBTIMES: If iPhone 4S is less than successful, will the new chief executive officer Tim Cook be blamed?
STRATE: It's not so much that Tim Cook will be held personally responsible for the failure to live up to expectations, as it will be attributed to the absence of Steve Jobs, and the inspiration and genius he brought to Apple.
IBTIMES: Can Apple keep growing, despite a worsening global economy?
STRATE : Yes. In every tide, there are cross-currents and counter-currents. The computer and new media sector remains vital, and will continue to grow. People will cut back on gasoline before they cut back on connectivity via computers and mobile devices.
IBTIMES: Does it seem odd that his death was announced one day after the release of latest iPhone?
STRATE: Yes it is odd that his death came a day after the release. It seemed as if Tim Cook wanted to say something, and didn't when he presented the new iPhone. And while Jobs was known for his sense of timing, there will no doubt be conspiracy theories popping up, claiming, for example, that he actually died the day before but that [the news] was withheld so as to allow for the launch of the new product. But life is full of strange coincidences, and perhaps this is no stranger than the synchronicity that brought a couple of young computer hobbyists together in a garage in a way that would change the way the whole world communicates.