Position: Cofounder, chairman, and CEO, Apple
Location: Palo Alto, Calif.
Steve Jobs has presided over an industry-changing period at Apple. “When you look over the last twelve months or so at Apple, what impresses me is their ability to continue to evolve their existing product lines as they introduce significant new things like the iPhone,” said David Carnevale, vice president of multimedia content and distribution at iSuppli. “If you look across the entire Apple product roadmap, it’s one the most impressive I’ve seen in my twenty-plus years in high tech.”
Carnevale pointed to the iPhone, the MacBook Air, and the continually revised iPod line as evidence of Apple’s prolific creativity. And far more than is typical, Jobs’ leadership is inextricably tied to the culture of risk and innovation that has seen the company change how we perceive mobile technology. “With these creative bold strokes, it’s impossible to separate Apple the company from Steve Jobs the man,” said Carnevale.
The iPhone broke new ground the Apple way: it’s not what it does, but how it does it. “Apple focuses on making things easy,” said Carnevale. “If it’s easy, people will do it more.” In the iPhone’s case, this means realizing the promise of the smart phone as a mobile data device on a wide consumer scale.
Critics have hammered the iPhone for its 3G-lessness, but according to Jobs the iPhone accounts for a whopping 71 percent of U.S. mobile-browser usage. And according to Canalys, the iPhone outsold all Windows Mobile devices combined in the U.S. in the fourth quarter, trailing only RIM’s venerable BlackBerry line. Who knows how much those numbers might go up when the rumored 3G version goes on sale, possibly as early as this summer.
And while some have disparaged the MacBook Air for its lack of an optical drive and removable battery, the notebook’s brilliant display and striking profile is light-years ahead of most other notebook designs. “I can’t think of another company that would have taken a chance on a product like the MacBook Air,” said Carnevale. With Jobs at the helm, we expect the excitement to continue.
Did You Know: One of Jobs’ early projects with Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak was a device to circumvent long-distance telephone charges.