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8/25/2011
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Apple's Past And Future: Analysis Around The Web

As Steve Jobs resigns, we all wonder what the next chapter will be for the technology company like no other. Here's a look at historic moments and pending questions.

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Like so many of you, my experience with Apple started with my first-ever computer: an Apple IIc. It was an amazing little machine for a high school student and writer-in-training, with an indignant little dot matrix printer sitting next to it, a printer that was as cranky as the computer was solid. Decades later, as I watched Pixar movies with my child, I again felt privileged to be able to enjoy a tiny sliver of what came from Jobs' imagination.

As Steve Jobs resigns, the truth is that no one will ever fill his shoes at Apple, not even his carefully-chosen successor as CEO, Tim Cook. There is only one Steve Jobs. There is only one Steve Jobs imagination. Yet he leaves the company stronger than ever. The next chapter in technology history centers around mobile and the cloud. And Apple, benefitting from Jobs' imagination, wrote much of the first half of that chapter itself--with the iPhone, iPad and iTunes.

The farewells to Jobs as CEO have been elegant and intriguing--as have the predictions for what's next.

InformationWeek.com's Fritz Nelson has a dream version of a Jobs resignation speech.

Our colleagues at BYTE share a video retrospective of great Jobs moments, including his triumphant 1997 announcement that he'd return to Apple.

Macworld's Jason Snell, one of the best Apple-watchers around, writes that for all the focus on Jobs the man, we should remember that Jobs worked mightily to ensure that his team was not all about him. In "Life After Jobs: Why Apple Isn't Doomed," Snell notes, "the most important thing about what Steve Jobs has done in the past 14 years at Apple is this: It’s not all about Steve Jobs. Jobs has built this company in his own image. The executives are people who he trusts, people who have worked with him closely and understand his product philosophy."

Or, as Technologizer's Harry McCracken wisely puts it in his Time.com column,"The Beginning Of The Post-Steve Jobs Era": "Thank heavens that there are people inside Apple who understand how Jobs does what he does, because the rest of us have a lousy track record on the subject. The iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, the Apple Store--all were greeted by people who were only too happy to explain why they were bad ideas that were doomed to flop."

The New York Times has an interesting graphical look at Apple's 313 patents that list Jobs, and what they show about his penchant for detail.

Also consider Macworld's take on one big question of the moment: Who is Tim Cook?

Apple shares opened lower Thursday morning, but not markedly so, notes CNET. Wall Street agrees with the many tech pundits who say the product line is well in place and the succession plan has been carefully crafted.

One more thing: Having conquered mobile, where will Apple strike big next? Think television, says The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg. You didn't think it would be enterprise-minded, did you?

Finally, Wired has a great collection of the best Jobs quotes. Because, as the article notes, "one of the things the world will miss most about Steve Jobs, now that he’s officially retired for a second time as Apple’s CEO, is his mouth." I'm really glad Wired didn’t try to rank the quotes. They're all worth enjoying again.

Laurianne McLaughlin is editor-in-chief for InformationWeek.com. Follow her on Twitter at @lmclaughlin.

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