Steve Jobs was an iconic figure, and one whose impact on the technology industry and the world at large are hard to measure. In just the last four years, he has reinvented the smartphone and the tablet computer, and previously he had also changed the music industry dramatically with the introduction of the iPod and iTunes. His death will be felt deeply at Apple, the company he founded and recently led for fourteen years, but also throughout the industry.
Yesterday's iPhone 4S launch event was a reminder of the vision and strategy Steve Jobs laid out for Apple during his time as CEO, with iOS the software platform that will drive the company forward, iCloud and the related services the next-generation model for consuming and sharing content among devices, Siri as an indication of a new phone interface, and beautiful, high spec hardware to contain it all. That foundation will serve Apple well in the years to come, and there is little danger of Apple deviating from that successful strategy. The risk - if there is one - is that Apple continues to rely on single 'hero' devices in its two major product lines - iPhone and iPad - with an annual release cycle. If one of those devices ever turns out to be a dud, it will put a huge dent in the company's revenues and margins. However, yesterday's launch should pave the way for at least another year of success in the smartphone business, and future releases are likely to continue that pattern.
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