Apple's iPhone event on Tuesday, at which the highly anticipated iPhone5 could be launched, is as important a strategic move for the California-based technology giant as it is a product launch. This will be the first time that Tim Cook, Apple's new CEO, will take center stage after Steve Jobs' resignation.
This also could be the first time in Apple's history that Jobs misses an iPhone event. Cook has already proven his excellence in running the company. He held down the fort at Apple for two months in 2004, when Jobs battled cancer and again for five-and-a-half months in 2009, when Jobs received a liver transplant. Now he will need to prove that he can fill Jobs' role as Apple's brand ambassador.
Within Apple, Cook has experience in fine-tuning the processes on the manufacturing side. He has often been the champion in sorting out issues related to supply-chain processes. He also has experience in sorting out issues related to product delays. But the issue here is that he has usually remained in the background. On Tuesday, perhaps for the first time, he will suddenly be in the limelight. It will, therefore, be interesting to see how well he fulfills the space left by Jobs.
It is a question many have asked: Can Apple continue to compete without Steve Jobs as its creative and driving force, particularly as rivals such as Samsung continue to gain ground?
However, it isn't as if Jobs is completely out of the picture. He is now Apple's executive chairman and he did emerge from medical leave, twice this year, to present product and innovations, particularly in June to show off its new mobile software and iCloud content storage service. It is not known if he will make an appearance at the event on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, it is probably no secret that both investors and consumers would prefer that Jobs continues to be involved with Apple.