(NEW YORK) — A year after founder Steve Jobs’ death, Apple is continuing on the trajectory that the late founder had in place for years, with its highly-coveted consumer products that are getting into more hands around the country, while the company makes subtle shifts and the occasional misstep.
Over the past year, Apple’s stock is up almost 80 percent to over $671 after introducing the iPhone 5. Though the new phone sold over five million three days after its launch, some analysts were disappointed with the volume of orders.
Here are three ways Apple has changed since Steve Jobs’ death:
1) Apple has become more shareholder-friendly.
Bill Kreher, senior technology analyst with Edward Jones, based in St. Louis, said Apple’s issuance of a dividend to shareholders is a change in philosophy from that of Steve Jobs.
“His philosophy was to hoard the cash,” Kreher said.
Part of Jobs’ reluctance to dip into cash might have been his “long memory” when he re-joined the company in 1997. Back then, the struggling company was burning through cash faster than it was earning it.
“When it comes to capital deployment, Tim Cook has proven to be more shareholder-friendly,” Kreher said of Apple’s CEO.
The company announced in March that it would start issuing a quarterly dividend of $2.65 a share for the fourth quarter, which began on July 1, from its pile of cash. And what a pile they have: about $117 billion.
2) Apple stops focusing on “the next big thing.”
“Along the lines of innovation and execution, I think that Apple has to focus more on expanding the distribution of its current products as opposed to creating the next big thing, which from our perspective suits Tim Cook very well,” said Kreher.
He said Cook’s focus on operations will continue to help expand the company’s products around the globe. The company now has 350 stores worldwide, including its newest country, Sweden, which opened its doors last month.
Kreher said Cook is known for his operational expertise and management of the supply chain, which is “critical” as the company moves forward, more so than coming up with the next great product.
3) Apple’s financial results have become more mixed.
In the last years of Steve Jobs’ reign over Apple, the company had a tendency to beat its previous quarterly earnings.
“That has changed over 2012,” Kreher said. “The revenue streams are getting more uneven and highly reliant on product launches.”
For example, its third-quarter earnings announced in July were softer than expected in part due to iPhone users waiting for the iPhone 5. The company said profit rose to $8.8 billion from $7.3 billion a year ago on $35 billion in revenue. Analysts had expected third-quarter revenue of over $37 billion.
That was in contrast with their second-quarter earnings in April, when they had a “huge beat” that was “massive,” according to analysts.
The company is still able to beat overall expectations, Kreher said, but it’s getting more difficult for analysts to predict the demand of high-profile products as more consumers pause before launches.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Brian Stelter, CNN Money
Heather Kelly, CNN Newswire