A recent feature in Fortune took a deep dive into how Tim Cook has been changing Apple's inner-workers, corporate culture, and relationships with the outside world. The general conclusion, gleaned from many anonymous Apple employees, is that things are drifting more towards traditional, stiff corporate lifestyle, which is welcomed by some, but not by others.
For example, any significant meetings have project management and global supply management in attendance, which marks a decided shift in emphasis away from engineers. Cook's repertoire with shareholders and financial types has lead to heretofore unseen initiatives like quarterly dividends and stock buybacks. As an operations guy, Cook has also spent a lot of energy dealing with Foxconn and the whole mess of PR headaches that seem to perpetually haunt Apple's major manufacturing partner. Despite tightening up some of the corporate reins, Cook is reportedly very down to earth and lacking the gigantic ego of Steve Jobs; for example, Cook is perfectly happy to sit down with random employees in the cafeteria, which is something you would never expect Apple's late CEO to do.
It's interesting to hear about these kinds of subtle but important changes inside of Apple, and one can only wonder how they'll shape the next iPhone. Cook worked with Jobs for years, and obviously had the sane passion for great products, but rather than being fanatical and single-minded, Cook is starting to come off as cool and methodical. Such an attitude might leave something to be desired when it comes to stage presence, and produce slightly contrived ads peppered with celebrities, but at the very least, it should keep Apple rolling steadily onwards.
Do you guys worry at all that Apple will suffer in the long term without a brilliant visionary at the helm, or can lead designer Jony Ive keep the magic flowing on his own?