Jobs handpicked Tim Cook, who was thechief operations officer at the time, torun the business on an interim basis asJobs’ health was fading. Cook officiallybecame CEO in 2011 just before Jobspassed. Cook was such a loyal soldier,he is reported to have offered to be aliver donor for Jobs, but Jobs refused.
As COO, Cook had already provenhis worth as a master of supply chain atApple, and he never tried to be the newSteve Jobs. His calm demeanor meanthe didn’t berate employees, but he stillexpected a high level of commitmentand expertise. One story recalled how,in a meeting, an executive determinedthat a trip to China was required. Cooklooked up at him and asked why hewasn’t on a plane already.
Under Cook, Apple has achieved unheard of levels of success and has positioned the firm for revenue opportunitiesthat aren’t directly tied to computer andphone upgrade cycles.
TREATING IT AS
MUCH TO THE
Thanks to Jobs’ pivot away frompurely selling computers, Cook’s Applehas expanded to lifestyle accessories,thanks to the purchase of Beats in 2014for $3 billion, the introduction of theApple Watch, and launching subscriptionservices like Apple Music and Apple TVPlus. Cook has acknowledged mistakeslike the unfinished-at-release AppleMaps and has invested to improve.
Cook has bet heavily on privacy, treating
it as a competitive advantage, much to
the chagrin of the FBI. As Apple became
one of the most successful institutions
in the world, it increasingly became
a target for environmentalists. While
purists may never be satisfied, he has
championed recycling and some of the
latest Apple equipment is built in part
with recycled aluminum. While work
remains to be done, particularly with
contractors overseas, the new Apple
Campus in Cupertino is a self-sustaining
JOBS BUT ALSO
TO BE AN
From a manufacturing and inventorystandpoint, Cook has moved awayfrom Jobs’ focus on simplicity. Thereare overlapping models of MacBooks,iPads, and iPhones that make it hardto know which is the right choice. It’seasy to say, “Steve Jobs wouldn’t havedone that,” but Jobs did not want thatas his legacy. He knew that Disney wasparalyzed after the loss of Walt Disneybecause of such attitudes. He wantedApple employees to do the right thing,not what they thought Steve Jobsmight have wanted. Cook explicitlyrelayed this to Apple employees at oneof the numerous memorials to Jobs.
“Among his last advice he had for me,and for all of you, was to never askwhat he would do. ‘Just do what’sright.’” Cook remembers and reveresJobs but also respects his charge to bean independent thinker.
Jony Ive’s empire grew under Cook,
and eventually included software as
well as hardware. Eventually, the
iPhone’s headphone jack completely
disappeared under Ive’s run, as wireless
headphones and earbuds became more
practical. Apple led the way and wasn’t
afraid to eliminate technology cold tur-
key under Cook. Ive is a longtime lux-
ury watch connoisseur, and the Apple
Watch was his masterpiece. It truly is
the smallest computer Apple has ever
built, and Ive loved to make products
smaller and thinner. But this emphasis
on thinner and more fragile iPhones led
to sacrifices in battery life and durability.
Bendgate and Antennagate were the
result of putting form over function. An
entire industry of screen protectors and
rugged cases exist because of Ive’s de-
sign choices. Apple seems to be okay
with thicker phones now that Ive has
left to run his own design firm.
The story of Apple is one of adapting while leading the way. Both CEOsadapted to the needs of the day. WhenApple struggled financially, Jobs simplified the product line and reached out tohis rival for help. Now that Apple is oneof the most successful companies inthe world, Cook is able to expand intonew markets like entertainment andbanking. Under Jobs, Apple was one ofthe first to introduce new technologysuch as the graphical user interface,the mouse, 3.5-inch floppy discs, andoptical discs. It was also one of thefirst to do away with those same technologies in favor of newer ones liketouchscreens and the cloud. UnderCook, Apple led the way by introducingTouch ID and then replacing it with FaceID. Apple fans and employees may lookback in reverence on Steve Jobs, butJobs himself planned to replace his latest products by producing better ones.That’s true of the company itself. Jobsbuilt a great company that got even better under Cook. It’s hard to argue withtheir success. Jobs was the man torun Apple while he did, and Cook is theman to run it today. �
Todd Bernhard is founder of No Tie Soft ware, anapp development company specializing in ringtones and sound effects including Auto Ringtone.Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm
Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing foriPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its legacy publications,Pocket PC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.