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Goodbye Steve?

So Steve Jobs, Apple’s maestro, has supposedly retired due to ill health. We shall see. I reckon he will still be very involved behind the scenes, rather than out front for some time to come. He has presided over some of the most ground breaking designs in the personal computer/mobile device market in ways that have changed all our lives to some extent. And made several fortunes doing it!

The original iMac was ahead of it’s time in many ways and ushered in features that have since become normal, like getting rid of the floppy drive — remember them? — that seemed revolutionary but became the norm. The iPhone did the same for smart phones and the iPod invented a whole new device and changed our listening habits forever along with the music revolution that is the iTunes Store, now the biggest seller of music in the world. Next to be a multi-million seller was the iPad which pundits claimed would fail but has created a new way of being online.

What’s next for a Steve-less Apple? Of course they aren’t saying anything, but there is plenty of gossip about a new iPhone 5 and a smaller, cheaper iPhone to take on the likes of Nokia in the cheaper mobile phone markets that are so big in global terms. Think China… This would replay the strategy that Apple used with the iPod: establishing themselves as leaders of the market for a few years and then introducing smaller, cheaper varieties like the Nano and Shuffle. There is also talk of an Apple television with built-in internet which is also being attempted by various companies who don’t have the user interface skills that keeps Apple as the dominant player in the modern must-have-devices world.

They are also moving us and the computer industry towards download-only software which began with Lion 10.7 the new operating system and continued with the new Final Cut X. They are certainly cheaper without packaging or physical DVDs to make and post.

All in all there is plenty that will be happening in the world of Apple who, despite the global economic crisis are getting bigger and bigger.

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