Apple co-founder, CEO and icon Steve Jobs died a year ago today, on 5 October 2011.
When he died, from a rare form of pancreatic cancer, the company was finding unprecedented success, posting massive earnings, releasing hugely successful products and redefining three industries within a decade.
But depending on who you ask, under new CEO Tim Cook Apple has struggled to keep up the same momentum. The company's profits and value remain at record highs, but matching Jobs' famed 'reality distortion field' is another task altogether.
So how well has Apple really done under Cook - and what are the signs that the further from Jobs' influence they go, the harder it will become?
Here's our choice of the 6 biggest mistakes Apple has made under Cook - and 6 reasons why it's far too soon to panic.
As ever, let us know if you agree or disagree in the comments.
Apple's Five Biggest-Mistakes In The Post-Jobs Era
Apple Maps. The recent release of Apple's own mapping application in iOS 6 was typical of the company, in that it was bold, aggressive and risky. But this time, the risk didn't pay off. Famously buggy and incomplete, the app was so bad that Cook was forced to offer a written apology - and suggest users try Microsoft's maps instead. The impact of this on iPhone sales is yet to be seen - but in PR value alone, this was a killer.
Letting Samsung Catch Up. The new iPhone 5 is a beautiful and well-made device - but the lack of true upgrades over its biggest competitors, most notably the Samsung Galaxy S3, is notable too. In screen quality, data connectivity, cameras and processors, the S3 is still more than a match for the iPhone even six months after its launch. At this point it seems that Apple is playing catch-up on hardware, not the other way around. Letting Samsung get the jump was a big mistake.
*Those* Genius Ads. Apple used to be known for its witty and ironic advertising. So when it released a series of smug commercials featuring a blue-shirted Apple 'genius' giving basic advice to users it was slammed - and probably rightly so. The ads were canned after a single weekend and never seen again.
Allowing iOS to stagnate. Aside from the Maps issue, iOS 6 was a solid operating system. Why? Because it's the same as iOS 5 in all important respects. And that's a problem. Apple just hasn't been as aggressive with iOS development as it used to be, and whether because they're saving new features for a future release, sticking with what they know (and consumers love) or they've just run out of ideas, its starting to get stuck in the past.
Dithering on environmental issues. In July Apple said it was withdrawing from the EPEAT environmental ratings system because its own standards were higher. But after a massive backlash it was forced to make a U-turn, issue a full apology and put its products back on EPEAT. "This was a mistake," said Apple SCP Bob Mansfield at the time.
Cutting retail staff. In August, fresh from hiring the former head of Dixons, John Browett, to run its retail business, Apple was forced yet again to apologise after it emerged it had cut staff at its stores. Apple said this was not done to boost profits, but were forced to reverse the policy anyway. Spokesperson Kristin Huguet said at the time: "Our employees are our most important asset and the ones who provide the world-class service our customers deserve."
Above: Apple CEO Tim Cook
Six Reasons Apple Doesn't Have To Panic Just Yet:
- Apple's market cap is now625 billion, whereas on 30 September 2011 it was almost half that - $353bn.
- Apple's share price has almost doubled in twelve months -378 to666.
- The company posted record profits in the last quarter -8.8 billion up from7.3 billion.
- Apple sold 17 million iPads in the last quarter - up 84% on 2011.
- The iPhone 5 sold 5 million units in 48 hours - a record number.
- Apple still has tricks up its sleeve. The suspected release of the iPad Mini will surely be another boost.
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