Steve Jobs can never be replaced, but Apple still has work to do after they mourn their founder and savior. Jobs had a transition plan in place, and since Tim Cook has already taken over as CEO, there's little chance of the company taking a downturn in the near future. Because companies like Apple take many months or even years to develop new products, there are likely a few still coming along the normal working timeline.
Without Jobs though, Apple no longer has an iconic thinker to point to and use as a guide. Many companies rely on a large group of executives for lots of decisions, but then, not many companies do what Apple has done. Apple will be fine for now, but in 10 to 15 years is totally different. A new generation will have grown up with out Jobs' influence and there's no telling what other companies and technolgies will have sprung up in that time.
Apple can survive without its founder, but in order for it to thrive, it needs to keep its finger on the pulse of tech consumers around the world. In fact, with the iPhone 4S launch, it could be argued that is just what they did. By embracing the less costly versions of their products, more people will be able to afford iPhone and then Apple can cultivate those people like they have with the people who will buy iPhones no matter what.
Jobs was a marketing whiz and it would be unwise to assume Apple hasn't been paying attention to that important side of their company. Of course, the devices themselves are a huge part of Apple, but in a changing technology landscape, that may not always be the case. That's a big assumption, and a business risk, but that's just what Jobs would have been thinking. He understood the business and he excelled. The best part about that for Apple is that it can be taught. Tim Cook may or may not be the right man for Apple in the long term, but Jobs was at the helm for so long, he must have more than one protege. The question then becomes, will those people want to stay at Apple, or start their own company and create their own legacy?
Tell us in the comments, what and when was your first Apple purchase?