A year after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs’ death, the company has changed, analysts said today. Oh, no it hasn’t, said others.
There’s no question that in the 12 months since Jobs’ death on Oct. 5, 2011, Apple has remained a powerhouse — some would hazard thepowerhouse — in technology.
Yesterday, Apple’s share price closed at $666.80, 79% above its price one year ago today. Revenue for the second quarter — the most recent earnings reported by Apple — was $35 billion, up 23% from the same quarter in 2011. And in the quarter ending June 30, 2012, Apple sold a record 17 million iPads, the tablet that Jobs himself introduced in January 2010.
Steve Jobs never had much tolerance for employees who leaked the company’s plans, but on one occasion, it was actually Jobs who came close to blowing the lid off a product, according to a former employee we spoke with. Shortly before Jobs and Apple unveiled the original iPhone at MacWorld in 2007, a group of engineers from the iPhone team went to Jobs’ home to debug a problem with the phone’s WiFi.
At one point while the team was working, a FedEx employee buzzed outside the house to deliver a package to Jobs. ”Steve goes out to meet him because he has to sign for this package, but he’s got the iPhone in one of his hands,” said a former Apple employee was with the iPhone team at the time. “Steve just walks out casually, [hides] the phone behind his back, signs the package, and the FedEx dude marches off.”
SAN FRANCISCO — In a presentation heavy on upgrades to software and its laptops, Apple Inc. on Monday showed off new mapping functions and more integration with Facebook for iPhones and iPads. The announcements at the annual Worldwide Developers Conference were in line with most analysts’ expectations. Apple shares closed trading down about 1.6% to $571.17 on Monday. Despite the drop on Monday, Apple (AAPL, US) shares are still up more than 40% year to date.
Chief Executive Tim Cook took the stage to deliver the keynote address — which came one year after the late Steve Jobs headlined the same event, in what would be is final public appearance before dying of cancer four months later. On Monday, most of the company’s focus was on the software platforms that power its Mac computers as well as its popular iPhone and iPad devices. Apple plans to release iOS 6, the next version of its mobile operating system, sometime this fall, though no specific release date was given.
The main event of interest at the conference was the newest version of iOS, the operating system that powers the iPhone and iPad. Apple gave a preview several new features, including tighter integration with Facebook Inc. (FB, US) and a new mapping tool that will include turn-by-turn navigation. Previous iOS versions have used a mapping developed by Google Inc. (GOOG, US).
Nothing was said at the event of the next version of the iPhone, which most analysts expect to also launch sometime in early fall. That a new iPhone wasn’t shown off wasn’t a concern for Francisco Jeronimo, a mobile-device analyst with IDC. Jernonimo said that compared with Apple, its competitors “haven’t understood the importance of focusing on users capabilities rather than phone capabilities.”
“Apple already understood that applications or features per se are not enough to drive stickiness and loyalty,” Jeronimo said. “Apple is focused on providing the right experience to users that makes their lives easier.”
Steve Jobs was fond of hyperbole. But two years ago, when he declared that “mobile ads suck,” the industry didn’t exactly come back with a flood of counterarguments. How far have they come in that short time? The easy, if incomplete, answer: not far enough. As marketers focus on data targeting and the tactical aspects of mobile advertising, they continue to give short shrift to creative. For all the potential of always-on, Internet-enabled, multimedia devices, mobile ads—both on smartphones and, often, tablets—are still seen as too difficult to make out, bland or just plain ugly.
AT&T-T-Mobile, HP boardroom drama redux, earthquake aftershocks, Egypt going offline also make top headlines
In 2011, the increasingly mobile and socially networked world of technology became more intertwined than ever with politics and the law. Patent wars shaped competition in tablets and smartphones, hacktivists attacked a widening array of political and corporate targets, repressive regimes unplugged citizens from the Internet, and the U.S. government moved to block the giant merger of AT&T and T-Mobile USA. With the passing of Steve Jobs, the world lost a technology icon who redefined the computer, entertainment and consumer electronics industries. These are the IDG News Service’s picks for the top 10 technology stories of the year:
Apple today introduced a dramatically smaller and less expensive Apple TV that streams rented movies and TV programs to high-definition television sets, making good on rumors that the company would push what CEO Steve Jobs has long called a “hobby” part of the business.
Jobs also laid out a completely revamped iPod music player lineup, talked up a pair of upgrades to its iOS mobile operating system and touted changes to the company’s iTunes music software and store that add some social networking-like features.