Love him or hate him, Steve Jobs was a visionary force who personified Apple’s personality as a technology company; a brash, brusque, hubris filled executive that had an eye for the future of technology.
Alas, life is an unfair endeavor and Jobs is gone; an interesting and influential life cut short by decades. Apple still lumbers along, though, guided by Tim Cook’s steady albeit conservative hand, with a efficiency that wrings profits from every endeavor of substance. But what if Steve Jobs had remained healthy and in charge of Apple to this very day.
Dividends? That’s B#%%$@&T.
First, let me examine a few courses Apple has taken that pretty much every Apple watcher would agree Jobs would not have followed. That includes dividends and stock buybacks. The latter seldom work and, in Apple’s case, definitely have not worked. The former is used to appease stockholders when a stock does not continue to rise forever. They don’t. Dividends appease.
Second, let’s look at Apple’s current line and recognize that Jobs likely would have approved of the product upgrades. MacBook. Mac Pro. iMac with Retina 5k screen. iPad Pro. iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Those products would make Jobs proud.
What about Watch?
As much as I am sure Jobs would approve of Watch, I’m certain that he would have had a hand– a stronger hand– at the Watch interface which is clumsy at best. Apps are not the secret to Watch. It’s Notifications, Complications, and Glances. Opening and navigating apps on Watch is painful. Jobs would not have allowed that clumsy interface to see light.
What about Apple TV?
Siri is made for Apple TV, but unfortunately, the always on ‘Hey Siri…’ works only on iPhone. On Apple TV, generation 4, You’re forced to press a button. From there Siri works well enough and is getting better (Apple TV was a bit anemic at launch) to be almost acceptable, but an ‘always on’ interface is the way to go. Amazon’s Echo with Alexa has that right. Apple does not. Jobs was the no B#%%$@&T master and would have recognized that as a problem to be fixed.
What about Apple Television?
Apple never shipped a television because nobody makes any money in television. Where Jobs would have focused– and devoted billions of dollars– was on making Apple the source for television content on every device. True, there is plenty of content already available on Mac, iPhone, and iPad, but Apple curated major video content would further differentiate the company, to Apple’s advantage.
What about Apple Car?
Jobs loved finely crafted devices, and with a few hundred billion dollars in the bank, and a competitor such as Tesla already producing Apple-like cars (partly designed by ex-Apple engineers), there is little question that Jobs would have green lighted an Apple Car years earlier. Apple and Jobs may have been late to a few parties through the years, but their arrival means the party can begin.
Great leaders imbue a number of similar qualities, including the ever important mix of personal power and position power. Jobs had both at Apple and could get accomplished what his vision could see of the future. If Steve Jobs ruled Apple today it would still be Apple, but the company would have more money and more products that point the way to the future.