I bet that the true reason Steve Jobs "slipped" his tongue before iPad's official release and said that it would be his "most important thing he has ever done" is because he now really knows his days are numbered. Liver transplant is a serious issue and we shouldn't have a high hope for the new decade, probably even a quiet retirement for him. I think he knew iPad would be his last big job. How could it NOT be his most important work?
Switching the topics (I admire Steve Jobs but do not feel empathy for him), who would take the throne after he is gone? The iPad launch video holds a clue. I guess it is Apple's way of introducing the next leader(s).
Four executives are introduced in this video. One of them will be the CEO, and the rest will be promoted to CXO, whatever that X is. Here are the four, in the introduced order:
- Jonathan Ive, Senior Vice President Industrial Design
- Phillip W. Schiller, Senior Vice President Worldwide Product Marketing
- Scott Forstall, Senior Vice President iPhone Software
- Bob Mansfield, Senior Vice President Mac Hardware Engineering
Cons: Looks like a soccer hooligan without beers and tattoos (maybe he has one). Too media shy. Too content being in the current position.
Cons: Has three big warts on his left cheek. I know, it is racist and irrelevant, but how come I clearly remember their positions and shapes but none of the stories he talked about in the video? When Steve talks, people watch. When Phillip talks, people stare.
Cons: Nobody knows him. Well, many people know by now, in the following context: "Who is Scott Forstall?" "That creepy guy in the video with misty eyes" "Oh I see. What does he do?" "I don't know"
Cons: Probably looks better on the Mac vs. Windows ad series, but as an ex-KGB henchman for the Windows guy. Looks does matter.
Ive will be the new head. That is why he appears at both the beginning and the end of the video. Mansfield will become his mentor and soulmate who supports him in the backstage. Schiller will orchestrate the strategy and events. Forstall serves as the "passion" guy.
In the worst case scenario, Forstall gets sacked after people realize he ISN'T faking his misty eyes in the video. Schiller gets frustrated by his eternal No.2 position and starts demanding irrelevant stuff to Ive (such as: design something that looks like Windows machine – it's the best strategy to crush them). Mansfield and Ive leave Apple to start their venture. Apple goes back to the dark ages under the helm of Schiller. He then writes a memoir defending himself. Steve Jobs rests somewhere up there (or down there).
In the best case scenario, Steve Jobs recovers fully and continues being a tyranny for the employees and messiah for the users.