By Roger Nachman
He is the P.T. Barnum of our time, the greatest showman of the 21st century.
But what happens if Steve Jobs were to leave Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) either via death, or otherwise?
Jobs has already battled pancreatic cancer, not a disease many overcome. I don't want to be bleak and morbid, but what would happen if Jobs passed away? Would Apple's stock plummet? Most certainly it would, probably for a couple of days.
Jobs is as important to Apple as Warren Buffett is to Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A), so I would expect a couple of days of mourning and some selling in the stock, but I think this is only a blip.
Apple has a strong pipeline of products, including the iPhone 5, the Verizon (NYSE:VZ) iPhone, iPad 2, and refreshes to the Mac and iPod lines for years.
When Verizon gets its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network fully operational around the country, I would expect to see Apple launch additional products for LTE.
Then there's the Mac App Store. Gartner thinks this market could grow to $25 billion + in just a couple of years, up from $4 billion today.
The Mac App store could potentially revolutionize the computing industry, much like the microchip. If it takes off, I would expect Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Hewlett-Packrd (NYSE:HPQ) and other OEMs to copy.
The management team, led most notably by Tim Cook, has become more accessible to investors over the past few years, not to mention the company has $50 billion in cash sitting on its books.
Let's not forget that Apple's product designers have revolutionized the music (iPod), telephone (iPhone), and print (iPad) industries. All three of these devices support gaming and have revolutionized this industry as well.
Apple has already started its entry into social, with Ping. No word on how that is doing, which some consider to be sign of a failure.
If Apple TV can really take off, now that the price has been lowered, Apple could potentially revolutionize the TV business.
There's a reason that Foxconn has hired more than 1 million people so far. Should something unforeseen happen to Jobs, shareholders will be just fine. It just may take a couple of days.