CEO Tim Cook’s Apple is not Steve Jobs’ Apple, and that’s a fact we have to get over. Cook is an engineer. Jobs was an artist. That means we can expect Apple to act more like how an engineer would run the show vs. how the mercurial Jobs ran Apple. So, here we are in 2016 and the company that invented Think Different™ now Cares Different™.
Cares Different? How?
Right up front we can see that Apple cares differently about shareholders. We can argue all day about what Steve Jobs would have done with Apple’s tens of billions in riches, but it’s safe to safe stock buybacks and dividends were not high on his list.
Today’s Apple seems to care more about the environment with more eco-friendly products, where under Jobs it did sometimes and often reluctantly. Apple has improved workplace diversity and job equality, so there’s that. The company has made steps to ensure a good work environment up and down the supply chain, so there’s that, too.
One notable change in Apple’s public persona is how frequently products receive an update to a newer model. Apple’s biggest bread and fattest butter is the iPhone so we get a new iOS and new iPhones every year; almost like clockwork. Macs and iPads? Not so much. While those of use who follow Apple scream to the high heavens about the neglected Mac line or the aging iPads not titled Pro, also forget that Apple now cares about big business, the enterprise, corporate IT buyers, more than ever.
Remember, Tim Cook worked at IBM for a dozen years before joining Jobs at Apple. Cook knows the enterprise and anyone who knows the enterprise knows the CIO’s and IT managers prefer product predictability, and boring predictability was not one of Apple’s strong suits under Jobs. One of Apple’s fastest growing business sectors is selling to the enterprise, and, increasingly, corporations have come to recognize Apple’s Mac, iPhone, and iPad as worthy devices, despite the difference in price tags vs. Windows and Android competitors. Why? IT groups understand cost vs. price. They understand value. They prefer secure devices and a steady and predictable product line, and desire to deploy products that work and integrate well together.
Does that sound familiar?
We wonder why Apple hasn’t upgraded the Mac Pro or Mac mini in years, while enterprise groups want to deploy a tried and true product, and most customers who buy from Apple don’t care as much about when the last upgrade occurred or what new products might be introduced within a few months.
If the average customer doesn’t care that much about a product line refresh, and the enterprise customer doesn’t care as much about massive leaps in new technology, then why should Apple care about those of us who bang the drums and cry to the heavens that Apple is doomed because some products are not refreshed as often as we prefer?
Trick question again. Apple cares about us. But Apple doesn’t care about us as much as we want Apple to care about us.