Mr. Jobs is back as Master of Ceremonies. That fact alone, despite what some other observers have claimed, puts the excitement back into Apple and its events. Why? Because we know that the guiding hand of the CEO is percolating throughout Apple. Good things happen.
Once again, we're reminded, because we'd forgotten, that these events are not all about astounding new products. New products are announced from time to time, but what's also exciting is the evolution of things like iTunes. We see growth driven by revenues, Apple listening to its customers and Apple engineers being creative
While Mr. Jobs was recuperating, we forgot about that.
For example, managing apps on the iPhone has become a mess. We can count on Mr. Jobs to take one look at the old system and think, as he often does, "There has to be a better way." And then.... "Make it so." Or that an insanely popular iPod, the nano, really needs a video camera with a simple upload to YouTube.
Of course, keep in mind that that's how Apple works. The company keeps things simple at first, adds features over time, and doesn't try to lock in every feature from the outset. That gives Apple more flexibility to respond to the technology. But there has to be a guiding hand to make the inspired judgment about how to proceed with that evolution.
Another factor that comes into play is that as Apple's iTunes gains ever more momentum, it commands more and more clout. Mr. Jobs is just the right person to remind the record labels and movie studios about that -- and extract both new features and concessions. Right now, that's worth a lot to Apple.
So when we think about iTablets and cool, big-time hardware, we also have to reflect on what happens behind the scenes at Apple that surfaces much later to make our digital lives better as Apple customers.
That's why Mr. Jobs gets the standing ovation.