According to Bloomberg Business Week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs personally released the iPad 2 at a company event in San Francisco earlier today. This newly evolved Tablet PC is 33 percent thinner than its predecessor, has faster processing power as well as front and rear cameras. It begins shipping in the US on March 11 and internationally on March 25, at the same $499 starting price as the original model.
According to a recent survey by the Boston Consulting Group, Apple is the #1 company in the world for product innovation. And most of the Apple’s product ideas are the brainchild of Jobs. Rather than relying on market surveys that attempt to measure consumer preferences, Apple’s founder has the uncanny ability to understand what consumers’ want, even before they know what they want. He is a soothsayer of complex technological trends, and provides the overall direction for the development of new products and services.
The execution of the detailed nuts and bolts design is left to his chief design lieutenant, Jonathan Ive, a graduate of Newcastle Polytechnic in England. Although Jobs looks at the big picture, he is still a hands on executive who–when Apple opened their first retail store in Manhattan–had the marble drop shipped from the company’s Italian supplier directly to corporate headquarters in Cupertino, California, so that he could inspect the veining.
Design geniuses like Jobs come along once in a generation. As long as he is able to remain in charge of new product development, Apple should continue to remain at the top of the heap as far as product innovation is concerned. So it is not surprising that, soon after Jobs appeared today, Apple stock rose by as much as $4.63 a share.
How important is Jobs to Apple’s success in developing new products that delight consumers?