The Apple homepage today is dominated by a video tribute to Steve Jobs, the pioneering (and notoriously prickly) Apple chief, who died last October, after a long fight with pancreatic cancer. Jobs helped make Apple one of the most valuable companies in history, and certainly one of the most influential – in their own ways, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad each drastically altered the entire tech landscape.
So a year after Jobs's death, where does Apple stand? Well, for one, the Cupertino giant is still raking it in hand over fist. In late August, Apple stock hit $674, an all-time high for the company (it currently hovers around $660); it has approximately $100 billion in cash on hand. That's enough to buy a small country – it's also enough, as others have suggested, to start scooping up scads of smaller tech properties.
Meanwhile, Apple has released a range of new products, including the new iPad (which sold very well) and the iPhone 5 (which sold better than the iPhone 4S, but not as well as many analysts had expected). Interestingly, Apple expanded the size of the iPhone 5, bringing the screen measurements from 3.5 inches corner-to-corner to 4 inches. That went against the famous Steve Jobs dictate that the 3.5-inch screen was the perfect size for consumers.
With the iPhone 5, Apple broke with unofficial Jobs policy in another way: It apologized.
In the wake of a fracas over its botched Apple Maps App, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company was "extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers" – and went so far as to suggest that consumers should download alternative products. By comparison, when the iPhone 4 was slammed for poor reception issues (the so-called "death grip,") Steve Jobs called a press conference, and instead of making amends, he lashed back at his critics.
"This has been blown so out of proportion that it’s incredible," Jobs said at the time.
Recent reports suggest that the next big product for Apple will be a pint-sized tablet called the iPad Mini. The device will reportedly get a 7.85-inch screen and a slimmed-down chassis; analysts expect the Mini to be unveiled this month and launched in November. Remember what Steve Jobs once said about 7-inch tablets? Let us remind you: He said they were dead-on-arrival.
"No tablet can compete with the mobility of a smartphone, its ease of fitting into your pocket or purse, its unobtrusiveness when used in a crowd," Jobs said in 2010. "Given that all tablet users will already have a smartphone in their pockets, giving up precious display area to fit a tablet in our pockets is clearly the wrong trade-off. The 7-inch tablets are tweeners, too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad."
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