Steve Jobs and the Reserved Seat

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BsIoS

That picture pretty much says it all. During the “Let’s Talk iPhone” event on Tuesday, I kept noticing that seat. “Reserved.” It was weird that the camera kept panning to that shot of the front row in Town Hall.

The room was packed tight with journalists, but there was that one seat left empty in the front row next to all of the other Apple executives. Steve’s seat.

I don’t know for sure if that seat was left empty for Steve or not, but I can only imagine that it had to have been. In a way, that reserved seat summarizes the core of who Apple is as a company and group of people.

Apple’s tribute page to Steve Jobs says that, “his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.” During Tuesday’s keynote, I kept wondering why the team of presenters seemed so subdued — especially Tim Cook and Phil Schiller.

I couldn’t put my finger on it then, but looking back, it’s obvious that Cook and the rest of the executive team knew that their dear friend and leader was on the verge of death. But there were still products to be announced, and as they say, “the show must go on.”

So, Cook, Forstall, Cue, and Schiller all gave us an Apple event filled with news on the state of Apple, iCloud, iOS 5, the iPod, and the iPhone 4S. Whether you like the 4S or not, you can’t deny that Apple delivered on Tuesday. Apple delivered without Steve.

But that reserved seat still says something. It says that there will always be a place for Steve at Apple. It says that, although Steve may be gone for good now, his impact and influence will always be appreciated and cherished by the company he invested relentlessly in for so many years. His spirit lives on through his products and the people he raised up to lead Apple into the future.

There will always be a seat reserved for you, Steve.