All eyes on Apple after death of Jobs

Apple iReport: Investors and customers alike are watching the world's most valuable technology company to see how it overcomes new challenges since Steve Jobs' passing. Watch video

Steve Jobs, 56, the co-founder of Apple, passed away after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Getty Images
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The world's most valuable technology company faces a new set of challenges now that Steve Jobs has passed away.

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Apple, which has a market value of about US$350 billion (Dh1.28 trillion), had several new products nearing completion under Mr Jobs, who held the position of chairman.

Mr Jobs died on Wednesday night, aged 56.

"The fact is Steve Jobs not being there will have an impact," said Thomas Kuruvilla, the managing director of Arthur D Little Middle East, a telecommunications consultancy.

There will be "a negative impact in the short term", he said, particularly as new products were announced by the company.

After-hours trading of Apple's shares were halted before Mr Jobs' death was announced.

When the company's stock resumed trading yesterday, it slipped by about 1 per cent.

Analysts said shares held up well due to a solid succession plan following Mr Jobs resignation as the chief executive this year.

But product launches will be a better barometer of the company's success in future, observers say.

"Steve's brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives," Apple said.

This week, investors and analysts were left less than impressed when the company's new chief executive, Tim Cook, announced its latest launch, the iPhone 4S. The device lacked the innovations of earlier models and sent Apple's shares falling as much as 5 per cent.

Major retailers are expected to be watching Apple more closely now, especially as the manufacturer pushes harder into emerging markets. Apple has already started expanding through China.

Last month, it also opened an online store in the UAE, while continuing to distribute products through local stores that have benefited from a recent surge in sales of iPhones and iPads.

"We are all being told that Apple as a corporation has built enough resilience to live without Steve Jobs," said Deepak Khetrapal, the chief executive of Jumbo Electronics, which has outlets throughout the Emirates.

"We hope that the team at Apple will do everything in its capacity to carry on the momentum and build on what Steve [left] behind," he adds.