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Steve’s gone, now what?

Apple’s reign as king of the high-end consumer tech world is assured in the short term but the long-term outlook is hazy without the leadership of visionary co-founder Steve Jobs, analysts said.

“The Jobs legacy will continue to influence products for at least two to three years out,” independent technology analyst Carmi Levy said. “That’s how big the pipeline is of products developed during his watch.

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“The real test of Apple’s post-Jobsian mettle will come after the pipeline of products conceived under his influence runs out,” Levy said. “Will Apple still be capable of conceptualising and introducing category-killer products like the iPad?”

Jobs, who underwent an operation for pancreatic cancer in 2004 and a liver transplant in 2009, announced Wednesday that he was stepping down as chief executive because he could no longer meet the “duties and expectations” of running the world’s second most-valuable company after oil giant ExxonMobil.

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