Apple Will Keep Winning Without Jobs

CUPERTINO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Steve Jobs' death may have cast a pall over Apple, but investors and analysts are still confident of the gadget maker's long-term success.

"If Apple's 50,000 employees in total can contribute even 75% of what he brought to the company, Apple will have a very bright future even without him," explained Chad Brand, president of Peridot Capital Management and author of the Peridot Capitalist blog, in an email.
Steve Jobs

While Apple's past achievements owed much to Jobs' vision and hard-charging personality, its future success rests on the shoulders of executives, such as new CEO Tim Cook.

"We believe Steve Jobs' presence will always be felt at Apple, and inspire employees to continue to innovate for many years to come," added Brian White, an analyst at Ticonderoga Securities, in a note. "Steve Jobs' acceptance of nothing but the highest quality work has been thoroughly ingrained in the Apple culture."

Cook's first product launch as CEO, however, underwhelmed some observers this week, although few doubt the former COO's abilities.

A logistics guru deputized during Jobs' three medical leaves of absence, Cook was an obvious choice to succeed his boss, and he heads a team packed with talent. Analysts are confident Cook can keep Apple on the right path.

"We believe Tim Cook is well qualified for his new role as CEO and has at his disposal a deep and talented executive management team in the areas of supply chain management, hardware/software design and product marketing," explained Michael Walkley, an analyst at Canaccord Genuity, in a note released on Wednesday.

Bill Kreher, senior technology analyst at Edward Jones, is also confident that Cook and his cohort can deliver, but notes that Jobs' absence will be felt. "Apple has a strong roadmap for the next two years, but, in the markets that Apple participates in, innovation is critical," he told TheStreet. "We believe that Apple has a talented bench, but, at some point, there will be a 'moment of truth' when Steve isn't there to help."

Cue design master Jonathan "Jony" Ive, Apple's senior vice president of industrial design, who now looks set to become Apple's innovator-in-chief.

Investors should also note that Apple, despite the success of its products, has barely scratched the surface of the consumer technology market.

"If you look at the combined personal computing market for tablets and traditional PCs, we expect Apple's share to increase from 8% to 16% in 2015," explained Kreher of Edward Jones. " And as successful as the iPhone has been, Apple only has a modest 5% market share of all these handsets."

Apple set a new quarterly record for iPhone sales during its recent third-quarter results, and should continue its momentum with the new iPhone 4S, unveiled earlier this week. The company's new iCloud service, which was formally launched on Tuesday, has been cited as another growth driver, strengthening the company's ties with its customers. Apple is also expected to launch its iPad 3 and iPhone 5 next year, opening up yet more gadget revenue.

It remains to be seen whether Jobs was correct in his prediction that Apple's brightest days are still to come, but there are clearly big opportunities ahead for Tim Cook and his team.

-- Written by James Rogers in New York.

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