Last week, the world took a collective gasp when Steve Jobs announced he would be stepping down as Apple’s all-knowing CEO. People had anticipated this announcement for years, given his battle with pancreatic cancer and other ailments, but it still came as a surprise to hear that the man behind the iMac, iPhone, iPod and iPad would no longer be the head honcho.
I was one of the gaspers, for I am an avid Apple fan who often pops into the Soho Apple store just for fun. What would happen to my beloved brand? That announcement, along with the minor earthquake at the beginning of the week and potentially catastrophic hurricane threat at its end, seemed to signal the apocalypse for me.
Call me crazy, but the day after Steve Jobs stepped down, my iPhone suddenly started to act funny. The screen froze, the microphone stopped working, my camera was on the fritz. (I admit, this may have had less to do with Steve Jobs’ announcement and more to do with having a two-year-old who thinks bathtime is iPhone time.) While resorting to any and every kind of entertainment for Ryder during the storm weekend, he “accidentally” broke my InCase protective shell, leaving my phone vulnerable to damage. Well, guess what happened? The next day, I dropped the phone on the street and the screen shattered into several dozen shards of glass.
So, at 3:30 on Monday afternoon, I found myself at the Genius Bar at Apple’s Meatpacking District location, along with hundreds of other New Yorkers who’d had problems with Apple products over the storm weekend. (The store was closed on Sunday.) After “checking in” with a cute employee, I waited at the bar for a half hour, until one of those awesome Genius Bar elves (I’m sorry, they have an elf-like presence to me) told me I would have to pay $200 to replace my phone. They didn’t cover damage this extensive, she explained. “Oh, Steve Jobs,” I thought, “where are you when I need you?”
And then – perhaps seeing this helplessness in my eyes – my “elf” (her name was actually Lauren) disappeared behind a door for a few minutes. When she returned, she informed me that I could have a new phone, free of charge! Since this was my first iPhone offense in three and a half years, they were giving me a “pass,” she explained. We synced my information (fortunately I had my laptop with me), transferred it to a new phone, and I was good to go, without spending a penny (although I did buy a new case…a child-friendly rubber one this time).
The whole experience restored my faith in Apple as a company, and made me realize that just because one person is gone at the company – albeit, the most high profile one – doesn’t mean that the brand is going to crumble to the ground. In all likelihood, Tim Cook has likely been running the company for a while now, anyways, and the dude seems pretty damn capable. So while the world bemoans the lose of the Apple innovator who has changed life as we know it, I look forward to seeing how the inheritors of his legacy will carry his torch into the next several decades, and how they will continue to shape the life of my iPhone-obsessed toddler.