Since that date, plenty of people have discussed this matter, and many stated boldly that the only possible successor was Tim Cook. And indeed, Tim Cook is the current CEO of Apple. So it was with a certain positive surprise that I've read a recent article dealing with the forthcoming biography of Steve Jobs, where Jobs is quoted by saying this:
He called Jonathan Ive, Apple's design chief, his "spiritual partner" at Apple. He told Isaacson that Ive had "more operation power" at Apple than anyone besides Jobs himself -- that there's no one at the company who can tell Ive what to do. That, says Jobs, is "the way I set it up."And I'm surprised because this comment, atributted to Jobs himself, completely reflects my own feelings.
I've watched many times product introductions where Jony appeared describing some design features, and it was completely obvious that he was fully immersed in the Apple design philosophy: powerful, delicate, simple, clear, bold, astonishing. Apple products are the best example of their "Think different" theme, and Jony is the uberdefinition of such a designer.
Possibly Apple gurus are right and the influence in the company of Cook or Schiller, or others, might be bigger at this time.
But the Apple spirit, the thing that always made Apple special, the thing that left Apple with Jobs and returned to Apple with Jobs... that thing lives within Jony Ive, and nobody else. He incarnates all the features that allow a designer to draw an Apple product. And he's consistently delivered the very best: you just need to look at the list of Apple products in the last years.
So comin back ot my initial reflection: Cook might be the perfect CEO; Schiller might be the perfect marketer; Forshall might be the perfect supervisor for iOS; Mansfield might be the perfect hardware supervisor... and on and on.
But all of that stuff can be found in other companies.
The soul of Apple, what makes them different from any other computer company (or any other products company, for that matter) is elsewhere.
The soul of Apple died with Steve Jobs.
And now it lives in Jony Ive.
Long life Jony.