All those analysts and commentators who assumed Steve Jobs death would mark the end of Apple’s high point were wrong. In the year since he died, the Cupertino-based technology business has soared in value, becoming not just the public biggest company in the world but the biggest public company there has ever been.
As markets closed yesterday, Apple’s share price was up more than three quarters on its close exactly a year ago, notwithstanding a rocky last month triggered by Apple’s maps fiasco.
Google, which is battling for control of the world’s mobile phones by making its Android operating system freely available to all handset manufacturers, saw its value rise by just over 50pc, while Samsung, the Korean mobile business, managed to inflate its market capitalisation by nearly two thirds.
But none of them has got close to Apple and none of them was coming from quite the same large base.
At the other end of the scale, Microsoft, whose founder Bill Gates famously sparred with Mr Jobs in eighties and nineties, crept up by 16pc. It is an old-world growth rate for what many in the technology industry have come to regard as an old-world business.
Facebook hasn’t yet put in a full year as a public company, but as is well documented, isn’t even in positive territory - its share price sinking 46pc since its disastrous $104bn (£64bn) initial public offering in May.
But whilst Apple’s impressive upward trajectory has confounded many of its critics over the last 12 months, analysts fear that the cracks are starting to show.
Steve Jobs laid the foundations for Apple’s success with a brand of relentless perfectionism integral to the launch of the first iPod, the first iPhone, the first iPad. It drove colleagues up the wall – he had a reputation as a tyrant in some quarters – but it ensured that Apple put out products that were as beautiful as they were innovative, and had people queueing round the regardless of the price.
Last month, however, Apple launched a product, its mapping service, which was littered with geographical errors and bugs. It was effectively imposed on users in place of Google Maps as part of its latest operating system upgrade to iOS6, but angered customers by sending them to the wrong places.
Apple has since apologised for “falling short” on its promise to deliver world-class products – two things which might never have happened before.
It is hard for companies to avoid slip ups when they are operating at Apple’s sort of scale. But many have questioned whether the debacle would have occurred under Steve Jobs’ rule.
They also worry that power at the technology firm is shifting dangerously away from the creatives in the business, in favour of the more traditional management types and the money men.
Whilst it is certain that Steve Jobs’ death did not mark the end of Apple’s high point, it is too soon to tell if his Midas touch really lives on.
By Katherine Rushton, graphic by Mark Oliver Telegraph.co.uk