As you may have already read, Apple just announced the death of ex-CEO, Steve Jobs, earlier today. He was the mastermind and the genius behind Apple's recent decade of success beginning with the iPod. There's no doubt that Steve Jobs was the most influential and controversial person in modern-day technology, by bringing us great products such as the original PC (Mac II), the game-changing MP3 player (iPod), the unique touchscreen phone (iPhone), the first fully adopted tablet (iPad), along with many other great innovations.
In finance, we learn that when evaluating large companies we should pay attention to fundamentals and competitive advantages, only when we are dealing with small companies we should look for key persons for firm valuation. However, in recent times we have seen large stock price fluctuations due to loss/gain of CEO's at huge corporations (HP, Yahoo). I believe the same effect has also affected Apple when Steve Jobs announced his retirement earlier in the year.
Regardless, Jobs would have continued to use his wisdom to guide Apple as one of the Board of Directors. It is hard to say how Apple will continue in it's path as a leading technology producer and one of the largest public companies. The company's recent driver in performance has been Steve Jobs' creative designs and his courage to test conventional product development. This can be somewhat seen in Apple's Tuesday announcement of the iPhone 4GS, which was considered somewhat of a disappointing upgrade to the iPhone 4 while consumers were eagerly awaiting a mind-blowing new design and features.
I think it is pretty safe to expect that Apple stock will be very volatile these next few days as we try to figure out how Apple will try to continue its innovation streak.