Without its visionary founder, Apple's done nothing. Apart from new iPhones. And iOS 7. And OS X Mavericks. And a new Mac Pro. And some other stuff too. On the second anniversary of Steve Jobs' death, we present a history of Apple in the post-Jobs era, and look back over the company's many recent achievements.
The late Steve Jobs
Quite a few technology pundits appear to be stuck in some kind of 'delusional stupid' loop, banging on about how Apple is DOOMED and DOOMED and also DOOMED without enigmatic founder Steve Jobs. He was, they argue, a man who, through some kind of visionary tech magic, created at least 17 new devices before breakfast, before disrupting an industry or two over lunch. In the afternoon, he made new operating systems, just for fun.
When pesky reality makes a loud tutting noise and offers a disapproving glance, the true story becomes clearer: Jobs was indeed a visionary, but he happened to be surrounded by brilliant minds; and after the sad death of Apple's founder, those minds have gone on to create brilliant things. As ever with Apple, innovation has been mixed with iteration, leading to major OS overhauls, some big shifts in company policy, a small pile of new products, and many millions of sales.
Here are some of the highlights we'd like to scrawl on certain pundits' heads in marker pen:
1. Three new iPhones (ish)
The iPhone 4s (formerly 4S, because the letter S was bigger in the old days) was the last iPhone Steve Jobs saw announced. Since then, we've had three more: the iPhone 5, the iPhone 5s and the plastic-fantastic iPhone 5c.
For the first time, the line isn't just bumping previous tech down a level when a new model is released: although the 5's guts are similar to the iPhone 5's, the new design represents an attempt by Apple to widen the iPhone's market.
The iPhone 5c (left) and iPhone 5s. Would Jobs have approved of a plastic iPhone?
2. iOS 7
Jobs apparently loved all the textures within iOS, which is presumably why Game Center looked like it had wondered in drunk from a casino and half of Apple's other iOS apps were clad in fake wood. iOS 7 still has a ton of skeuomorphism, despite what some might claim, but it certainly lacks as many textures. Instead, the OS boasts a minimal theme based on spindly type, white space, and careful use of colour. (Game Center, naturally, still sucks.) In use, it doesn't feel like something that sprang from the mind of Jobs.
3. iPad mini
Steve Jobs famously said the company would never sell a seven-inch tablet. Then again, he also argued people were done reading books not long before iBooks appeared, so his outburst should probably be taken with a pinch of salt.
Still, post-Jobs, Apple made a mini-me for the iPad, the tablet that revolutionised an industry. It was far too expensive, argued many pundits; it'd never sell. Except then it did - by the truckload.
Jobs once slammed small tablets. Apple later released the hugely successful iPad mini
4. Mac Pro
With Jobs at Apple's helm, there were question marks over the company's dedication to the pro market. Tim Cook shattered such illusions, responding to a concerned Apple user via an email he knew full well would leak like a garden hose attacked by an army of hedgehogs: Apple was "working on something really great" for pros, and it would arrive in 2013.
At WWDC 2013, the new Mac Pro was revealed, Apple's Phil Schiller grumbling "Can't innovate anymore, my ass" as the futuristic all-black desktop unit elicited gasps and cheers.
5. Charitable donations
Under Steve Jobs's watch, Apple wasn't exactly known for charitable excess, although his widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, earlier this year said the Jobs family gave substantial contributions in secret, to amplify the work of others rather than attaching their names to things. But now Tim Cook's in the CEO hot-seat, things have changed, and Apple now more publicly gives to charity, including matching employee donations of up to $10,000.
6. Personnel changes
Brain-drain is perhaps Apple's biggest threat in a post-Steve Jobs world, along with recognising (or not) talent and using it most appropriately (or not). This has been one of the rockier aspects of Apple over the past two years.
Former Dixons CEO John Browett was hired to head up Apple's retail operation, to the astonishment of anyone who'd ever set foot in a Dixons store. A few months later, he was dispatched in a press statement. Also gone: Scott Forstall, largely responsible for the success of iOS, but reportedly someone who very much rubbed people up the wrong way.
Along with showing a ruthless streak when it came to staff, Cook has been savvy too: tech genius Bob Mansfield was encouraged to stay on, Craig Federighi and his hair were placed in command of both OS X and iOS, and Jony Ive was given leadership over all aspects of Apple's human interface work. In theory, this should make for a less volatile Apple behind the scenes, and more unified output across hardware and software.
Sorry, that should have read Sir Jony Ive
7. And the rest
OK, but apart from three new iPhones, iOS 7, the iPad mini, a revolutionary Mac Pro, a ton of public charitable donations, and major staff changes, what has Apple done since Steve Jobs died? Nothing, that's what!
Well, apart from the Retina iPad, a revamped iMac, iTunes Radio, a new iPod touch, the upcoming OS X Mavericks, the MacBook Pro with Retina display, and regularly making analyst Gene Munster punch a wall by not in fact revealing an Apple television.
[Read about what it was like to work with Steve Jobs here]
See also:The Complete Guide to the iPhone 5s & 5c is on-sale now. Click here for buying information.