The five faces that will create your next Apple gadget

With Steve Jobs resigning his position as CEO of Apple, there's going to be a lot of nervous fanboys out there. Since his return in 1997, the Jobs has brought out wave after wave of top notch technology for the masses to enjoy. They swooned over the iMacs, they sighed after the iPod, they oohed and ahhed at the iPhone and erupted at the iPad. Just about every gadget geek out there has a little piece of Apple somewhere in their collection, even if it's gathering dust at the back of a draw. But. Is this all going to change now that El Jefe has kicked himself upstairs to the quiet climes of the board?

Well, that's largely going to be down to two big things. The first question is just how much Great Uncle Steve is going to dip his oar in when it comes to decision making? That we'll probably never really know the answer to, but the second thing to consider is just who's running the show now and does this famous five have what it takes to keep churning out the award winning products that the punters so love to use? Come with Pocket-lint and we'll introduce you to them.

 

The Boss

Tim Cook - CEO

With Jobs now the chairman of the board, the spotlight falls on 50-year-old Tim Cook as he slips into the biggest pair of boots that one could possibly imagine. If Cook's CV is anything to go by, the man is a machine.

As chief of operations at Apple for the last 5 years, Cook has been responsible for transforming the company from its previous guise as an overweight, unkempt but comfortably wealthy Californian into super-lean, uber-rich, LA jogaholic. Whereas Apple used to take care of much of the manufacturing of its own products, Cook shut down factories all over the world, streamlined out-goings by doing so and got Foxconn et al to do all the assembly and hard graft for them, and at much lower cost too.

The man has overseen the supply chain all the way from the top of one greasy link to the rusty one at the bottom, increasing company profits so dramatically that Apple is now officially the richest business in the world. He's had similar stints at computer companies Compaq and IBM for 12 years before taking up office in Cupertino, and he's a famous workaholic who's even been known to hold Sunday evening meetings with his staff over the phone to plan for the week ahead. A real party animal who'll often be found up at 4.30am...starting his day's work sending e-mails.

On top of his shrewd economic ways and his cast-iron work ethic, if you wanted further confirmation that the iPhone line isn't going to dry up just yet, he's even had experience of running the company before on three separate occasions. It's of very little surprise that Cook is the man Jobs has chosen to take over. The one area he seems to lack is in the creative department but, for that part of the proceedings, there's the next two guys.

 

The Creator

Jonathan Ive - SVP Industrial Design

If you asked someone to name two people at Apple, the second name out of their mouths would almost certainly be Jonathon Ive. Head of what is regarded as one of the finest design teams in the world, Ive has been responsible in no small way for Apple’s latter day success as the man behind the look of the iMac, the PowerBooks, the MacBooks, the iPods, the iPhones, the iPad and just about everything made in either white plastic or brushed aluminium. It’s obviously one of the key focuses of the company that its products are highly desirable, attractive and pleasing to hold and Ive will continue to make that so.

Reporting directly to Steve Jobs since the ex-CEO’s return in 1997, reportedly the only feedback he would get from the big guy was along the lines of "but can we make it even better?". One would hope that Cook's fat trimming and economic expertise wouldn't quash that same ethic - particularly with Jobs not too far over his shoulder - but it's a possibility to consider. All the same, with Ive at the drawing board, your iDevice will always be pretty if nothing else.

 

The Software Guy

Scott Forstall - SVP, iOS software

With iPhone and iPad the most important products in Apple’s current range, Scott Forstall’s position as head of iOS software is of huge significance. At the company since Jobs’ return in 1997, Forstall is one of the original architects of Mac OS X desktop software as well as the man behind the apps, the framework and the user interface of iOS. As much as Rovio might claim it, there would be no Angry Birds without Forstall. 

The look and feel of Apple gadgets has become every bit a product of his creativity as it has Jonathan Ive’s and, between the two execs, so long as they still feel the demanding presence of their former master as they work, then there’s no reason to think that anyone will stop wanting to buy Apple. More to the point, Apple will continue to make idiot-proof and visually pleasing iDevices and there'll be no need to sweat until Forstall decides hed rather go and work for Motorola and Google. 

The Marketeer

Phil Schiller - SVP, Product Marketing

Like many on the executive board, Phil Schiller has been with Apple since 1997 and indeed before, during a previous stint working with the company. With 24 years of experience in marketing, his CV is littered with technology companies including Macromedia where he served as vice president. His other roles at Apple have included looking after developer relationships, but he’s most publicly recognised from his help at the keynote speeches where he often presents a section or two. In 2009 he solely took on the speaking responsibilities at both Macworld and WWDC where he announced the iPhone 3GS.

While perhaps not as instrumental on the same level as those above, his mark on the essence of the brand and what public perception of what the company is all about is clear. Yes, those adverts, the catchy names, the funky tunes and that slight suspicion that your iDevice is actually a better person than you, that's all Schiller and that's going nowhere either.

The Engineer

Bob Mansfield - SVP, Mac Hardware Engineering

With design and software taken care of by Ive and Forstall respectively, it falls to Bob Mansfield to make your kit actually work. Appointed to look after device hardware in 2010 when his former boss, Mark Papermaster, left the company after the iPhone 4 and Antennagate, Mansfield has the least top level experience.

Granted, he’s been at the company since 1999 working on the insides of the the iMacs and MacBook Air range but, with just a year of reporting to Steve Jobs, device hardware management might need a closer eye from Cook than other departments. Although never the highest spec, the reliable hardware/software synergy has been the cornerstone of Apple’s computing success. If the company is to march onwards and upwards there can be no mistakes here.

 

Conclusions

So, one genius megalomaniac aside, it's very much as you were around the table. All the ingredients that make the Apple products great are going nowhere. The only thing that's missing is that single-minded driving force that got them there in the first place. In fact, with so many of this famous five with direct working relationships with Steve Jobs for so very long, with so much experience between them and with the man himself not far away if they really need him, Apple gadgets are still in good hands all the way until they make it yours. The only time you need to start panicking is when one of them leaves.

Think we're wrong? Reckon it's doom and gloom? Think the Jobs effect will dissipate within a few years? Let us know in the comments.



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