Like everyone else across the tech universe, I am saddened by the untimely passing of Apple chairman Steve Jobs. My concern for Apple the company is whether or not there is the brainpower, will and chutzpah in Cupertino to finish the revolution Jobs led with the iPhone — the complete destruction of the cellular telephone industry as we knew it.
While we all know the conception, building and launching of the iPhone — and perhaps even more importantly the AppStore — was a team effort at Apple, the complete and radical shift the iPhone and Apple’s open apps strategy brought forth was pure Jobs, a seismic business and lifestyle shift whose aftershocks are still knocking down walls. Witness Sprint’s reported recent capitulation, its decision to “bet the company” on a ginormous cash commitment to Apple — simply to get access to Steve’s wonderful toy.
If you can remember that far back, before the iPhone cellular carriers were in complete control of the on-phone experience — and your inability to remember anything innovative before the BlackBerry should be a sign that the folks who build the networks shouldn’t necessarily be in the business of determing what should run atop them. If you leave aside for a moment the allure of the spectacular device, the bigger power shift that Jobs and Apple brought with the iPhone was the democratization of the mobile app, the idea that anyone could try to build something fun or useful and that there would be a place to give it a try without having to convince a bunch of suits in some telecom-company conference room beforehand.