Is Apple finally starting to feel the Post-Steve Era?

Steve Jobs while presenting the iPad in San Fr...

Steve Jobs while presenting the iPad in San Francisco 27th January 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today brought some bad news for Apple: iPhone sales on Verizon‘s network plunged 33% in the past quarter.  With the advent of the new iPhone 5, this is a shocking revelation that even *I* was’t expecting to see.

It brought me back to the journal entry a few weeks ago that I wrote regarding Apple’s future now that Steve Jobs is gone, and can’t come back this time.  The last time Apple found itself without Steve, it found itself having innovation problems, and found itself with an image it couldn’t shake — without welcoming Steve back.

Are smartphone companies like Samsung or HTC [seemingly?] out-innovating Apple?  To their own admission, Apple hasn’t had a benchmark product since the iPad (and to a lesser point, Siri); while products like the Samsung Galaxy S III and the Note II have shown what Smartphones can do when given drastically different dimensions, systems-on-a-chip and the proper innovation.

Where will the future go for Apple?  Will they be able to tread water while their next bench-breaker product is being developed?  Or is this the signal of something else for Apple — long term?

Is Apple losing its “Cool” without Steve?

English: Apple iPad Event

English: Apple iPad Event (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Steve Jobs was the very heart of Apple’s “cool.”  His drive for absolute product perfection to the point where he drove people around him to anger paid off every time for Apple.  It’s innovative products from the first consumer-friendly computer, to his latest innovation we know he was involved with, the iPad — all paid off huge for everyone at Apple… even the stockholders!

However, there is one indisputable fact: While Apple is still very popular with those who value the premium computer product, such as myself — Apple’s [outward] innovation has apparently slammed into a brick wall.  I say [outward] because none of us are privy to what goes on in the R&D Labs at 1 Infinite Loop, but it no doubt continues.  Since the iPad, while Apple has produced new upgrades and models of its lines, there’s been nothing particularly innovative since Steve Jobs passed away.

While Apple stocks remain overall very strong and positive — it’s obvious investor confidence in Apple remains just as strong and positive.  However, not much has been done to bolster the consumer confidence that is now missing with the passing of Steve.

Steve demanded to be the official final signoff on any product that Apple marketed.  If EVERYONE else liked it, but Steve didn’t, it didn’t make it out.  He’d either nix the product, or demand changes.  I think this is why Steve and Apple were so successful.  The finished product didn’t make it out onto the floor without Steve’s OK… and his OK took a lot of work to make happen.  He settled for nothing less than his view of absolute perfection.  Smooth lines, nice edges, perfect glass.

chart-of-the-day-apple-stock-since-steve-jobs-passing-oct-2012While Apple has obviously done well with itself and it’s market capitalization since Steve’s unfortunate demise, the chart to the right shows that overall, Apple stock has remained strong, and remained on an upward trajectory… showing that the market and the people who own it continue to have the utmost confidence in Apple’s future.

Like any other Geek, particularly Apple Geek, I mourned the face of geek culture when Steve passed away — I suppose like anyone else would have.  Indeed, my sister lead a large movement that took off HUGE on Facebook, that had us all wearing black for Steve the day after he died.  Without his innovation, will Silicon Valley and the Technology sector be able to recover what was lost — both the face of the culture, and the innovation of it?

However, will that change if Apple can’t soon release a product that shows it can think without Steve — and that those products will be of the same quality he demanded?  Will Apple continue to innovate and be the premier, premium product purveyor (lol, I didn’t do that on purpose, I swear…) that the guy in the blue jeans and black mock-turtleneck was known for delivering — every time?