Last month, the New York Times wrote an article comparing the very different approaches Apple and Google take when it comes to their products. In Apple's case, that approach revolves around Steve Jobs and his singular vision.
This approach is commonly referred in film circles to as Auteur Theory (auteur is a term that refers to a filmmaker who writes, directs, produces and maintains complete creative control). Compared to Google's research-intensive decision making, Apple lives and dies buy the judgment of Jobs, but it's paid off. Jobs' commitment to quality control has made their products better.
When your auteur is no longer there to steer the company, what does that company do? And when no other substantial hardware company has anything even slightly resembling a Steve Jobs-esque leader, where does that leave consumer technology going forward? [NYT]