I was just looking at this article which points out that Apple's R&D has gone up many times over since Job's passed on...
The thing is, that's usually a bad sign. It means that your development teams are growing very quickly, which has two effects:
- The median age/experience level drops precipitously, resulting in poorer output quality.
- The amount of effort required to maintain the products designed by more people grows by the square of the number of people involved.
Eventually you reach a point where every additional person makes the product worse or more delayed, rather than better or faster. These days, I keep getting the feeling that Apple passed that point a while back, and they just haven't noticed yet. This is one reason why innovative ideas almost invariably come from small companies, not big ones.
The other reason is that the larger Apple grows, the harder it will be to innovate, because the breakage caused by doing so will become an ever bigger problem as the code base increases in size. At some point, it will be necessary for Apple to start over from scratch—probably by buying a company that creates some innovative alternative. At that point, it will have fully become Microsoft or IBM. And that's okay. Eventually, somebody else will come along and become the next Apple. It's the circle of life.