Steve Jobs resigned as Apple's Chief Executive on Wednesday and handed over the reins to Tim Cook, who was the company's Chief Operating Officer and had been assuming Jobs' role in his absence.
Though Jobs' resignation was a widely anticipated one, it would deprive Apple of one of its charismatic leaders and an unparalleled creative force in the technology landscape.
Jobs' departure comes as Apple is expected to launch the iPhone 5, the next iteration of the iPhone, this fall. There are also rumors that the next iPhone would come to Sprint along with Verizon and AT&T.
At its developers' conference in June, Apple didn't give a release date or any information with respect to the iPhone 5, which has been subject to rampant speculation.
The development may delay the launch of iPhone 5, as the ongoing management reshuffle could shift its focus from the product development to choosing a successor to Tim Cook's Chief Operating Officer role.
On the other hand, most probably, the departure would not impact the release of the next iPhone and Apple may be looking for an opportune time to launch its flagship device.
Moreover, John Ive, who is the Senior Vice President/Industrial Design and is credited with the iPhone's design, is still working with Apple and Steve Jobs himself is expected to be overseeing the Apple product strategy for the foreseeable future.
In addition, Cook is considered as an able leader and right person to succeed Jobs, who created an incredibly talented team that can lead Apple to continued success for many years to come.
We believe Cook is a highly capable executive and deeply familiar with Apples' business plans, product roadmaps and operations. He has also acted as interim CEO on previous occasions and we see very little near term execution risk, Deutsche Bank analyst Chris Whitmore wrote in a note to clients.
Apple's tight-lipped approach towards its iPhone 5 release has fueled rumors on its release date and specs that will define the next step in the iPhone's evolution.
The iPhone 5 is expected to debut together with the iOS5, the latest upgrade to Apple's operating system for its iPad and iPhone. Aside from an upgraded camera, the iPhone 5 is expected to sport a dual-core A5 processor, the processor for the iPad 2. Other exciting new features for the iPhone 5 are the voice based navigation system and panorama photography capabilities.
The latest one from the rumor mill is that the iPhone 5 with a materially revamped user interface will come out only in 2012, and Apple will launch an iPhone 4S in the fall. The latest rumor goes against the expectations that Apple would be launching iPhone 5 this fall and would link it to Sprint along with Verizon and AT&T.
Of note, we see an iPhone 4S this fall, an iPad 3, and an iPhone 5 with a materially revamped user interface and 4G early next year. We also believe Apple will move more materially into the 'connected TV' space, Wedbush Morgan analyst Scott Sutherland wrote in a note to clients.
Analysts expect that iPhone 4S would be low-cost, targeted at prepaid and emerging markets. But iPhone 4S is expected to run iOS 5, which will be necessary to run the new cloud-based services. This will maintain the unity of the Apple iOS code base, and likely increase low-cost iPhone shipments, but there could be greater cannibalization of higher-end iPhones as differentiation is lessened.
Based upon our checks and public comments by Verizon and others, we are in the camp that expects only an incremental iPhone upgrade (iPhone 4S) this September, which includes a dual-core processor and improved imaging, said Sutherland in a recent note.