Why Apple would do just fine without Steve
There is a lot of talk about the future of Apple and how they can possibly survive without Steve. For one, I think they would do just fine. Of course, Steve has amazing drive and vision but you have to look a bit deeper to see what he has achieved; above and beyond all the amazing products they have done.
If you ever had the chance to work with anyone at Apple, there is a deep and well-defined culture over there. Everybody marches with the same level of discipline and engagement. For example, try to get confidential information from any employee (I think that most leaks have come from 3rd parties) and you will get the same textbook answer that you usually get from any Apple employee. There is a deep sense of culture and following within the company; this is very deep and would require major changes for years to come before this changes.
Ultimate User Persona
Whether Steve is there or not, he personifies the ultimate user persona; I am convinced that anyone involved in any decision-making instantly has a thought of “what would Steve say or do” before doing something. It has already been proven that market driven companies thrive upon the use of a user/buyer persona. Apple has probably implicitly created with Steve the uber persona.
If you were ever involved in any off-sites or product brainstorming, you know that Apple has most likely a bunch of new product ideas and well-defined roadmaps for years to come. The genius behind ofthe past decade has most likely written down what to do for at least 3 or 4 generations of upcoming product releases and updates.
Most of the key players around Steve have been working with him for more than 12 years: Jonathan Ive (Head of design, since 1997), Scott Forstall (Head of iOS software, worked with Steve at NeXT and followed him in 1997), Tim Cook (COO at Apple for 13 years), and Philip Schiller (SVP of Worldwide Product Marketing, rejoined Apple in 1997). When you have been working with the same team for so long, there is no doubt that they know a lot about the man and his vision. And most likely they know how to continue this going forward.
In short, unless the Company changes all these key executives, run out of what’s on the multi-year roadmap and change the overall company culture and finally stop using Steve as the uber persona, you can expect great things from Apple for many many years to come.