NEW YORK--Over and over in interviews, shoppers at Apple's flagship store here, commonly known as The Cube, repeated the same question.
"You know, I thought we had some more time (with Steve Jobs as Apple CEO)," Shahean Talebreza, 40, from Los Angeles told CNET after walking out of Apple's 5th Avenue store this evening. "We all knew this day could come. He's been ill, but I'm surprised he's leaving now."
Jobs, ending one of the most accomplished and storied CEO tenures in Silicon Valley's history. He will remain with Apple as chairman.
Talebreza, who said his love affair with Apple products goes back to the original Macintosh computer, said Jobs' recent appearance at Apple's annual developer's conference on June 6 encouraged him to believe that the CEO and Apple co-founder might return to work full time.
"I'm not really all that surprised it's happening," said Louis Littman, 24. "But I thought it would come later."
Not surprisingly, most of those coming out of Apple's stores in New York and San Francisco are Apple fans who expressed confidence that Jobs' replacement, Tim Cook, can keep the company operating as before.
"We wish (Jobs) well," said Tom Kaminsky, from Phoenix, Ariz., who was shopping at Apple's San Francisco store this evening. "But I do think he's done a great job to do succession planning. We're still a big believer in Apple and we'll continue to support it."
Not everyone had a longtime relationship with Apple, however. Samantha Leslie, 26, who works in the advertising sector in New York said during a New York subway trip that she bought her first Apple product only several months ago when she purchased an iPhone.
She praised Jobs for not only building a brand for Apple but for building one for himself. She said the public associates his name with excellence. Nonetheless, she said his departure won't keep her from buying Apple products in the future.
"The buck stops with Steve Jobs," Leslie said, "but this company will go on."