Steve Jobs’ creative spirit was so closely tied to the fortunes of Apple that his death raises questions about the company's ability to keep its pipeline of transformational products running at such a fast pace, giving rivals a greater chance of growing up.
"As a technology analyst, I am sorry for his death. It was Jobs' Apple, not Apple's Jobs," said Kim Young-chan, an analyst at Shinhan Investment.
The CEOs of rivals including Samsung Electronics, Amazon, Google, Nokia and Sony mourned the death of Jobs, a sign of the respect they held for the Silicon Valley legend.
Jobs, 56, had fought a long battle with pancreatic cancer. In August, the man known for minimalist design and marketing genius handed the reins of Apple to long-time operations chief Tim Cook.
Cook unveiled the latest version of Apple's iPhone this week, in a launch that, unusually, failed to wow fans.
"The tragic passing of the company's influential leader and the industry's mixed response to the recent iPhone 4S model create challenges for Apple in coming quarters," said analyst Neil Mawston from Strategy Analytics.
"Industry eyes will inevitably turn to the iPad 3 launch next year to see whether Apple can continue the company's impressive legacy of innovation created by Steve Jobs," he said.
In a sign of stiffening competition, Amazon.com Inc took the wraps off its Kindle Fire tablet last week, tacking on a mass market-friendly $199 price tag that analysts said poses a serious threat to the iPad.
"Apple is facing a competitive fire storm from not just one company but a coalition of rivals that are trying to beat it, including some of the largest consumer electronics companies on the planet," said Ben Wood, head of research at British mobile consultancy CCS Insight.
Still, Apple has much in store to keep it ahead of the pack. A new iPad 3 is widely expected to launch next year, and rumors are already swirling about the next generation of the iPhone. Likewise, the company's line of iPods continues to hold a seemingly insurmountable dominance on the music player market.