The genius of Steve Jobs is not in his creative or technical chops, but in his ability to be the ultimate user. He is able to tap into his own sensibilities to discern what will be great, and what will be a flop. More to the point, however, he is driven by his own own sensibilities, tastes, quirks, and neuroses.
After his return to Apple in the late 90s, when everyone said Apple was dead, he began identifying, supporting, and launching killer products with breathtaking frequency. Yes, there were missteps and mistakes, but overall the product line Apple developed reflects one thing if nothing else: the unique, unwavering sensibility of Steve Jobs.
When you look at what other companies produce, do you see a singular focus, a common aesthetic, a relentless sense of right and wrong, good and bad, or do you just see another product lineup reflecting the flavors du jour? Do you see the thumbprint of a visionary, or the stamp of committee approval?
And now Jobs is retiring. But I’m not too worried about Apple’s future, because there is another thing Steve Jobs did really well: he recognized and cultivated great talent within Apple, and that talent is now taking over the reins.