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Firms With a Stake in Apple's Future Hope It's Bright

Firms With a Stake in Apple's Future Hope It's Bright

From the Macintosh to the iPhone to the iPad, Steve Jobs' innovations have not only propelled Apple to become one of the most powerful brands in the world, they have also helped lift numerous small businesses to new heights along the way.

Whether it's selling Apple computers or developing software and mobile apps for their devices, a number of small business owners say without Apple and Jobs, their businesses might not even exist today.

Upon hearing the news of his Wednesday death, those business owners whose livelihoods rely, at least in part, on the success of Apple say they are confident in the computer giant's success moving forward without Jobs at the helm.

As CEO of Small Dog Electronics, one of the country's top Apple retailers, Don Mayer said his business is solely dependent on Apple continuing to produce innovative products.

As a former Apple employee who had worked closely with Jobs, Mayer said it will be impossible to replace him, but he is confident in those left behind at Apple.

"We are going to miss Steve, but I think there is a strong enough bench of innovators there," Mayer said, adding that he thinks there are already five years' worth of new products in the development pipeline.

Buoying his belief in Apple is its new CEO Tim Cook, who Mayer said was Jobs' apprentice for many years.

"I think there is a whole lot of credit that needs to go to Tim as well," he said of Apple's current success.

David Howell, CEO of Avatron Software, which develops mobile apps for the iPhone and iPad, said despite Jobs' passing, he is more optimistic than ever about the future. Howell believes Jobs blazed the trail for future innovators by opening their eyes to a whole new world of possibilities.

"It's not just Apple that wants to build these devices now," Howell said.  "There are millions of programmers trying to build them."

Howell said Apple employees have always tried to live up to the standard set by Jobs, which is why he is so enthusiastic about Apple's future — and his own.

"They were always guided by the spirit of that," Howell said. "I think that will still be there."

Mayer agrees that the values Jobs held will continue to carry over to current Apple developers. "I am very confident that his lessons have been deeply ingrained into Apple," Mayer said.

At Apps with a Purpose, a media firm specializing in the creation of custom apps and mobile publications, founder Sabrina Velandry said her work is dependent upon having platforms, like an iPad, for her to create apps for.

Knowing how much she relies on the success of Apple, Velandry said Jobs' passing does make her somewhat nervous about what the future holds.

However, since he had been sick for several years, Velandry is hopeful that a lot of work went into preparing for the time Jobs wouldn't there to run the company and create new products.

"Realistically, we have to believe that the company has been getting ready for this," Velandry said.

Thinking there must be devices with Jobs' fingerprints on them currently under development, Velandry said we're unlikely to know for awhile if Apple, and those businesses that rely on them, can succeed without Jobs.

"It will be interesting to see what happens in the next three to six years." Velandry said. "Only time will tell."


Chad  Brooks
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.