Apple without Steve is like a metaphor without a simile. You always think of them together, but they are actually two separate distinct things. The problem is that it takes a bit of thinking to distinguish the two, and admit it, you'd rather be lazy.
I have hated Apple because of things that Steve Jobs did, most notably killed Power Computing. But also, Apple completely failed to provide a good business computing platform by going its own stupid way away from ODBC. But the things to love about Apple have much to do with decisions that are now already evident in the culture and product line. Apple makes premium products. Steve Jobs, however brilliant he may be, is not the originator of insanely great ideas. Those ideas are all out there and everybody with a computer science brain knows them. The only question for Apple's intermediate future is whether or not its new CEO will be able to continue to make premium products and execute them well.
The rest of the computing industry will pull its own weight with products downstream of Apple's quality, but with equivalent functionality. You can't stay in business if your product can't match features with what consumers can afford.
As I've said, the future of Apple is the legacy of Sony. They will become the world's transcendent prosumer supplier. They will infiltrate the world of media content creation, distribution and consumption with tools that interoperate completely within their walled garden. That means the reinvention of televisions, cameras, phones, etc. They will obsessively focus on human factors, ease of use, elegance and high performance. As soon as you can envision that global market, it's a no brainer to see what Apple can possibly do.
It's difficult to believe that Apple could possibly do worse than it has before Jobs set them on this track. With Amilio, Scully, Gasse, we got into the various guts of Apple. But now with Johnny Ive running design, that kind of thinking has been transcended. Let Hackintoshes do what they must. but the product is hardware and an experience with hardware. Sony has done it. Samsung is doing it now. So what it's all about now is execution, and what's good news is Tim Cook is all about execution.
What nobody can do that only Steve could have done was to corral the music industry, the film industry, telecom compaines and the book publishing business and convince them that their future is with Apple. You have to be larger than life to do such things. Alfred P. Sloan was that big. Walter Wriston was that big. Michael Bloomberg is that kind of man. But such greatness is not necessary for a company to be great, it is necessary for a company to become legendary. Apple can be great for many years to come without Jobs as CEO and ultimately without him as Chairman.
Aside from all that, it's all about Bezos. Remember I told you so.