While Steve Jobs may have been better with the kind of theatrics and execution that come with having been anointed an icon, as his death showed: He was also only human. He catapulted Apple well ahead of the curve on innovation and coolness and sheer execution.
But even as he was dying, Apple was headed for a collision with reality.
On one hand, the likes of Google and Samsung were becoming increasingly competitive. And, as I wrote back in October, Apple appeared to have finally "just struck that point that all fast-growing companies hit—where its phones and operating system are so good they can't really technologically leapfrog themselves in a meaningful way."
(Read More: Apple Stock Price Bottom May In)
Face it, Apple matured—and it did so with lightning speed after leaving behind a trail of products and technology in the kind of compressed period many of us (depending on our ages!) may never see again. Investors have taken notice: Shares of the company are down nearly 40% from their high of $700 last September.