So, Steve Jobs has finally stepped down as Apple CEO, and while it may not have come as a massive surprise, the announcement has still had a profound effect on the world of technology - not least, Apple's own share price.

But, that's in the short term; what is more interesting, perhaps, is how it will affect the consumer electronics industry going forward. At the time that Bill Gates stepped down from the helm of Microsoft, that particular company was considered, if not the number one technology firm globally, definitely there or thereabouts.

However, after Gates' resignation, other companies, such as Intel, Google and, of course, Apple overtook Microsoft in valuation and, for many, innovation.

Could we see the same happen to Apple, now that its creative and charismatic figurehead is no longer steering the ship?

We asked several industry experts for their opinions on the imminent and far flung future of Apple, or even just their thoughts on Steve Jobs himself, and this is what they said...

"It's hard to imagine a post-Jobs Apple, but Tim Cook is clearly hugely capable and effective - the last eight months of Jobs's absence have shown that. We haven't seen enough of Cook (anything of him) to know yet how charismatic he may be, or whether he will inspire like Jobs did. And every little thing that goes wrong will be labelled as something that wouldn't have happened under Steve Jobs. But it's the products that matter and they're still being designed by that other Apple genius, Jonathan Ive.

"Ive and a safe pair of hands in Tim Cook is still a pretty compelling combination."

"The changes within the company are likely to be minimal, having been quietly put into place over the last few years as Jobs' health faltered. In the short and medium term, it's very much business as usual, although questions do remain over where the next long term 'visionary' products such as the iPad will come from.

"It's difficult to imagine Apple without Jobs, but he is leaving behind a team moulded in his own image, and crucially, a team that now has something to prove. It is the end of an era for Apple, and for computing in general, but also the beginning of a new, post-Jobs Apple that can now move forward in earnest without the constant questions over Steve Jobs' health."

"I think everyone who watches Apple was expecting this day to come soon. That didn't take away from the shock of the news, however.

"Jobs isn't gone, though reading around the web makes it feel that way. In reality, nothing will have changed in the short term. Tim Cook will continue doing what he's been doing. Jobs will too. I noticed operations guy Jeff Williams was promoted to Bios page a few months ago. I imagine that when the COO-CEO shift really happened.

"I'm glad he's slowing down and easing himself out of Apple. I know he loves the company, but it would also be good for him to get a healthy retirement and get some 'me' time.

"Apple will be fine."

"It’s a sad day for Apple, but it’s by no means the end. Steve Jobs played a pivotal role in Apple’s wild success over the past 15 years, and his legendary keynote product announcements made him tech’s biggest celebrity, but Apple’s product triumphs have always been a team effort. As long as the Apple team maintains the path Steve trod, we’ll keep seeing envelope-pushing products.

"I don’t think Steve Jobs’ resignation will have too great an impact on the wider industry. For those outside of tech’s inner sanctum it’s Apple’s products that have done the talking. People aren’t going to stop buying iPhones just because the man who introduced them to the world has taken a new role at the company that makes them, and if Apple can continue to innovate, it’ll remain the thought leader of the gadget world."

"While Jobs’ resignation as CEO will be a momentous loss for Apple, there’s no question that the brand will continue to wow consumers and the industry. Roadmaps detailing product and service launches for the next decade (at least) will have been cemented and Tim Cook will be fully primed to run the ship as Steve sees fit.

"The big question, though, is whether Jobs’ attention to detail, creativity and vision for the future - the elements that have made Apple what it is today - will still be part of the corporation’s ethic in years to come?"

"Steve Jobs was a phenomenal CEO for Apple and has made a lasting impression not just on the company and its employees but with Apple fanboys around the world. We, along with many others, are sad to see him leave his post.

"That said, I firmly believe that Apple's drive towards ground-breaking technology will continue live on and someone at Apple will pay as close attention to every little detail as Steve Jobs."

"Steve Jobs has been an incredible force in putting Apple where it is today and we're sure he will be sorely missed. His health and wellbeing has to be the greater priority though and although, in the short term, the markets may well react negatively to his moving, I'm sure that his legacy is not only in the products and software that he's created, but also in the people who will step up and carry on his great work."

"No matter if you are one of the Apple faithful or not, it's beyond any question that this man has done more than anyone else for consumer electronic users worldwide. The brand has raised the bar for what users can expect from products in terms ease-of-use, design and function.

"Without Steve Jobs, I think we would have been fighting with consumer electronics products that were at a far lower standard then we have now. Apple design is a way of thinking that has been adapted by many brands and designers, including myself. That will stay the same no matter what title Jobs has in the organisation."

"The timing of Steve Jobs standing down as CEO seems to be carefully orchestrated to nicely stoke up enthusiasm for Apple just before a big iPhone 5 announcement. The clues have been there all year that Jobs isn't very well - his biography release date being moved around, as an indicator. So, I think that Apple has held back this announcement and timed this to perfection for publicity. It has a trick up its sleeves.

"However, Apple hasn't made the most of his resignation letter (which has been quoted in full worldwide) to alleviate shareholders fears. What a great opportunity to talk up (and more properly) introduce Tim Cook to the media. Apple could have problems moving forwards without Jobs as it has built its brand around him and needs to more fully get the media warmed up to Tim Cook being the new Apple CEO. He's hardly a household name yet.

"Jobs' legacy is clear and I think the comparisons with Thomas Edison and Benjamin Franklin are apt. Any pro-Apple comments on Pocket-lint, the BBC or Guardian usually get met by a slew of Apple-hating spam, so to them I would say this - you have lived in an era with a complete genius who has changed the way you interact with the very computer you're tapping away at - appreciate that fact!"

"What effect will Steve Jobs leaving his CEO role at Apple have? In the short term, none. Apple will have been planning for this day for a very long time and his DNA will have been imprinted on the company, its employees and the way they think for years to come. 

"Jobs’ greatest achievement at Apple wasn’t the attention to detail in its products, but the attention to detail in creating a team that can continue his legacy. Disney is no less Disney now that Walt isn’t there. Why? Because it continues to run on the principles he envisioned from the beginning. 

"The doubt will come, however, if Apple as a company allows those plans to run dry, the people to leave, or the Jobs magic to fade."

Tweet by @stephenfry: "Terribly upset at the thought of Steve Jobs not feeling well enough to be CEO. Wishing him all the very very best…

"I post this again without apology: just one example of this extraordinary man's enduring qualities:".

"I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it."

So that's what the experts think, how about you? Do you think Steve Jobs resignation as Apple CEO will have wide reaching impact on the rest of the industry or Apple's own products and practices? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below...