In an offhanded comment last week I mentioned that Apple may have already forgotten the legacy left by Steve Jobs, with rumours swirling that the innovative tech company is taking its iPad tablet development in directions Jobs’ never favoured. But that comment aside, it got me wondering what Jobs’ legacy at one of the world’s most popular technology companies will really turn out to be.
Following the release of the iPhone 4S, and the subsequent news of Jobs’ passing, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed, as the culmination of Jobs’ unparalleled tech creativity and his single-minded determination seemed to be a lacklustre upgrade to an already antiquated iPhone 4.
But according to one analyst, the incrementally upgraded iPhone 4S was not Steve Jobs’ last project; in fact, it wasn’t his project at all, and up until shortly before he officially stepped down as Apple CEO he had been pouring his heart and soul into another project…the completely redesigned iPhone 5.
As I’ve written previously, despite our prayers to the technology gods that Apple would deliver its next generation iPhone—which I’ve been calling the iPhone 5—it simply wasn’t to be, with binding carrier contracts and research and development costs making the release of an incremental upgrade the smart course of action for Apple.
Not only does releasing a beefy version of the iPhone 4 not require a full rethink, it allows Apple to attract new customers while enticing its diehard fans to break their current contracts and purchase the new phone.
But disappointment in the iPhone 4S aside—and I will be honest and say that so far that disappointment has not translated into diminished sales for Apple’s newest phone—the phone the world is really waiting is the iPhone 5, the device that could very well be Steve Jobs’ magnum opus.
The much anticipated next generation iPhone, which realistically isn’t expected to be released until the middle of 2012, was apparently, “the last project that Steve Jobs was intimately involved with from concept to final design.” It is for that reason, says Rodman & Renshaw market analyst Ashok Kumar, that the new phone, “will establish the high water mark for iPhone volumes,” quite possibly turning it in to a “cult classic” due to Jobs’ involvement.
In fact, according to a source close to the company, there is no way the legacy of Steve Jobs should be marred by the iPhone 4S, as due to Jobs’ health concerns he had little input into the design of the device, instead focusing all his attention on what analysts are predicting will be a complete design of the iPhone line, producing a phone that will sport a faster processor, a significantly larger screen, and will be LTE compliant (quite possibly the biggest omission in the iPhone 4S).
Of course while many will remember Steve Jobs for how he brought Apple back from the brink and revolutionized the entire mobile industry, in my mind the legacy of Steve Jobs is only partially reflected in the iconic devices that he has introduced—and still may introduce—into our lives. Beyond the iPhones and iPads, Steve Jobs became a symbol of hope for many Americans, illustrating just how far a dream and loads of determination can take you.