Steve Jobs Conquers the Decade - Now What?

Steve JobsApple CEO Steve Jobs has been named the chief executive of the decade by Fortune, and it's hard to call that a bad pick, considering the turnaround Apple has undergone since Jobs returned to the helm in the mid-'90s. What's next on the list for a tech leader who's already changed the way we use computers, how we listen to music, and how we use our cellphones?

Now that Fortune has named Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs CEO of the decade, where will he go from here?

Throughout his career, Jobs has typically led the market, bringing out products that consumers didn't know they wanted until they saw them -- products like the iPhone and iPod touch, for instance.

He will probably continue doing so, but in the future he may delegate more responsibilities.

In declaring Jobs CEO of the decade, Fortune looked at how Jobs rebuilt Apple from a company on the edge of failure to the cash-rich behemoth it is today. Oh, and he also survived two brushes with death and a securities-law scandal.

That was then; the market appears saturated with new products now. Can Jobs come up with more eye-popping, highly profitable new ideas? The products Apple introduced over the past year -- new iPod models including the iPod touch, the iPhone 3GS, and new Macs and iMacs -- have mainly been refinements of existing products, after all.

There's still plenty of opportunity for someone of Jobs' caliber, argued Carl Howe, director of anywhere research at the Yankee Group. "Apple's future opportunities are defined by areas where technology and design have traditionally been separate, but that consumers want combined," he told MacNewsWorld.

These areas of potential include home entertainment systems and vehicle telematics, Howe said. Telematics is the integrated use of telecommunications and information -- sending, receiving and storing information on telecommunication devices. It is used in GPS systems, for instance.

Apple could make significant inroads into the home entertainment and vehicle telematics markets, Howe contended. "We keep hearing rumors that Apple will enter the TV market, but don't dismiss the auto opportunity -- it begs for a branded integrated solution rather than an open, anything-goes one," he said. "It's another one of those global multi-billion dollar profit pools that Apple seems well-positioned to tap into."

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