Sorry, folks. Things change. Seasons change. Time marches on. It’s time to get over the fact that Steve Jobs is gone and his version of Apple, let’s call it Apple 2.0, is now at version 3.0, and Tim Cook has completely reinvented the company.
What? Is that not sacrilege? Is that not treason? How is any consideration that Apple Inc. is not Apple worthy of repeating? Hey, the truth is what it is. Apple today is not exactly the Apple of yesteryear. How so?
Apple can be judged by many standards; some financial, some customer-based, some on just how anyone feels about the company at any given moment. Steve Jobs’ legacy is an important part of Apple’s history and portions of what he gave to Apple and how he guided the company remain and will remain for years.
Make no mistake about change. Apple Inc. today is Tim Cook’s Apple and his fingerprints are all over the company. Yes, Jobs was the visionary but he managed a wonderful blend of personal power and position power to take Apple from the less glorious days of yesteryear into a successful future. Mac, Apple Stores, iPad and iTunes, iTunes Music Store, Intel Inside, iPhone, App Stores, iPad.
Yet, by most considered measurements, Tim Cook’s Apple has extended Jobs’ success at nearly any or every level. Apple has many hundreds of millions of customers more than when Jobs died in 2011. Apple has more cash on hand than most countries. Apple, or, rather, AAPL has made many investors very wealthy. The company’s App Stores are the most profitable for app developers. The majority of the company’s revenue and profits come from outside the U.S. Apple is far more diversified– revenue and profits– than it was under Jobs’ reign.
How did Cook reinvent Apple in his image?
While Jobs was the master at revolutionary innovation– one massive product at a time– Cook has become the king of iterative and integrated innovation. Steve Jobs launched iDrive, then MobileMe, then iCloud, but it took another eight years of iterative innovation to bring jobs vision of the cloud into the future. iCloud works now.
Cook has managed to grow Apple’s product– sometimes by fits and starts– beyond iPhone (perhaps a once in a lifetime product with dominance in the industry that may never be repeated) with Beats headphones, Apple Pay, Apple Music, Apple Watch, AirPods, and all the products that integrate well together into a cohesive and comfortable walled garden ecosystem that customers trust.
Steve Jobs had that kind of vision. Tim Cook has delivered it to the masses.
Along the way, Apple has changed. Under Cook, Apple often displays its heart on its sleeve; speaks out about customer and user privacy, and isn’t afraid to take a stand against governments over security issues. Every product launched and cultivated by Steve Jobs has improved under Tim Cook. Yes, even iPod touch.
Apple under Tim Cook dominates various techno-industry segments via revenue, profits, marketshare, and definitely mindshare. Mac? Half the PC industry’s profits. iPhone? More than 60-percent of the industry’s revenue and more profits. iPad? Half the industry’s revenue and most of the profits. Services? Name a company with greater revenue and profits that run on the same company’s products. Wearables? Everybody seems to have them, but Apple owns the segments with Watch, Beats, and Airpods.
Step by step, even before Steve Jobs’ death, Tim Cook has improved and reshaped Apple to match his vision, retain and pay homage to Jobs’ Apple, and move the company into a position where it competes very well with any competitors wherever it competes.
Jobs never did that. Tim Cook did it quietly and with little fanfare. That’s reinvention, Cook style.
Yes, I still want an affordable Mac Pro.