Tim Cook's quiet consideration

Tim Cook's quiet consideration

Given the breadth and scope of Apple's WWDC 2014 announcements it's not surprising that the man at the helm of it all, Apple's CEO, Tim Cook is getting a lot of attention and analysis thrown his way. Some of it has been excellent, some of it has been dreadful. Right in the middle is a new profile from the New York Times that includes some interesting commentary from Apple SVP of design, Jony Ive:

Jonathan Ive, the head of design at Apple and a name nearly as adored by its followers as Steve Jobs, says Mr. Cook has not neglected the company's central mission: innovation. "Honestly, I don't think anything's changed," he said. And that includes the clamor for some exciting new thing. "People felt exactly the same way when we were working on the iPhone," Mr. Ive added. "It is hard for all of us to be patient," Mr. Ive said. "It was hard for Steve. It is hard for Tim."

"Steve established a set of values and he established preoccupations and tones that are completely enduring," Mr. Ive said. Chief among them is a reliance on small creative teams whose membership remains intact to this day. The philosophy that materials and products are intertwined also continues under Mr. Cook. [...] If Mr. Jobs was maniacal about design, Mr. Cook projects "quiet consideration," Mr. Ive said. Mr. Cook digests things carefully, with time, which Mr. Ive said "testifies to the fact he knows it's important."

Like I wrote about back in 2012, Tim Cook's Apple takes the same elegance Jobs applied to products and applies it to the company itself. That mainstream media is only now picking up on how important Cook is to the company is a testament both to his style of operations and their choices in reporting.

The profile also includes comments from Apple board member and Disney CEO, Robert Iger, and covers Cook's focus on human rights and the environment, along with Wall Street's grumblings over the stock and the realities of the law of large numbes. Sadly, it's not without canards of its own:

[...] Apple did not hew to its tradition of pairing hardware and software. Specifically, Apple introduced a program called Health — which helps consumers and doctors monitor health status, like heart rate or glucose levels — but did not also introduce a piece of hardware to measure those results. That is something the new smartwatch is rumored to do.

"They just released the software," said Mr. Zeluff, sounding surprised.

"It's something Steve wouldn't have done," Mr. Brown said.

Except for 2011, of course, when Steve Jobs did just that.

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Tim Cook's quiet consideration

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Specifically, Apple introduced a program called Health — which helps consumers and doctors monitor health status, like heart rate. That is already on Android and most what Apple introduced in WWDC2014 it been out for quiet sometime, nothing new. One thing Mr. Cook was good at it, bashing Android OS.

Apple has seldom been "FIRST!!!!!" to products or features, as it often has the same value as being "FIRST!!!!" to internet comments.

Apple's consistent innovation is in many features mainstream. The iPhone wasn't the first smartphone, the iPad the first tablet, etc.

(It's also a bit of an urban myth — what exactly do you think they copied from Android?)

Love the comment about being first to post, especially considering how badly written it is. However this whole article must be wrong due to the fact that the post Steve Jobs Apple is in fact doomed. It never fails to amuse me that a quick Internet search of smart phones pre and post iPhone tells an obvious tale. The way I see it is that Android exists as it does today due to the devices designed for it. Devices which only exist as a result of what Apple did with iPhone. Or maybe Steve Jobs looked into his iCrystalball and saw what was coming and pre-copied it?

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Yes, Android devices have some elements made originally popular by the first iPhone. But that is to be expected, as these products do not exist in a vacuum but are developed to answer competition. And that competition itself, iPhone, copied elements from products that preceded it. And those products in turn copied their predecessors as well as introduced something new, while adapting to their particular competition. You can follow this back to some 1980s mobile phone or Bell or Marconi or Gutenberg or whatever. And just like Google back in the day, Apple now copies and tries to adapto to the challenge posed by nimbler and more innovative competitors. It is a perpetual cycle.

The difference to Apple of old is that Steve Jobs tried to drive that cycle, be the first man in. Sometimes Apple succeeded, sometimes failed miserably, and more often yet did not perceive the upcoming opportunities at all and hence did not even try. What matters is that the overall corollary was nonetheless positive, as one need not have many successes to cover a good many benign failures. So, Apple eventually found financial sucess. Now, Cook, in contrast, has dispensed with this idea that Apple should be operating from a position of strength, or innovation, and drive the industry, and probe for those sprouts that might blossom; instead, he is contend with adapting to and following whatever the competition happens to be doing.

Both strategies can be financially very successful in the short term. With sufficient resources, such as those of Apple, one can follow, too. It is simply a matter of exercising one's marketing muscle, with which one can squash smaller players after copying them. This is business as usual in many industries. Nevertheless, historically companies adhering to the Jobs's strategy have done better in the long term, if not necessarily in the short term. Cook's strategy is the easier one. But it is for this very reason also a very suspect one -- for anyone investing in Apple for long term, that is.

Urban legend, I think you mean.

But iOS Notification Center and especially the predictive typing scheme are far closer to copying than slide-to-unlock was...

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Someone in a comment on another blog made an interesting point. Tim Cook knows he's not Steve Jobs, which is why he brings in all these specialists. They know aspects of the jobs he doesn't. It's important to have a leader who not only knows his strengths, but also his weaknesses, and is willing to call in for help on that.

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I agree completely. No presentation ever has been a one man show. It takes courage and humility to acknowledge ones weaknesses and through a bit of smoke and mirrors, never let them show despite keeping the media guessing who soandso is and what key parts do they play.

Apple could have charged for OS X. 10.10.x. They didn't though. I've known Steve in the past as a manic perfectionist. But for brief moments, he always had something he wasn't telling you. Only waiting for the absolute perfect time to announce said product.

I feel that's what people miss is that "one more thing" moment that only Steve Jobs himself could pull off to a standing ovation. Seeing Tim Cook doing the same would just outright look silly. He (Tim) will eventually catch that groove.

As in most articles application and software innovation gets little credit while everyone wants to see the next big thing. If they read their own article they could see: "If Apple makes an iWatch and sells 10 million units in the first year, it would add a mere 50 cents to its earnings per share, barely a single percentage point.".

So if the real focus should be improving iOS to make iPhone & iPad more compelling, build out
distribution in underserved areas like China and make all Apple devices more interoperable it seems this WWDC hit all the nails on the head.

Your Debug session right after WWDC really captures the excitement everyone felt and to read this mainstream media take on things (even the NYT of which I am a subscriber) really shows me how much they miss. Is it really that difficult to get this?

Exactly. Tim Cook plays a different role than Jobs. Jobs was a micromanage, perfectionist maniacle scientist that operated purely emotionally. Tim Cook's the genius that oversee's the bigger picture, and trusts his team to get the details right. It's why Jobs was able to do so much with less people - he was helping them all, with his passion, intuition, and insight - but Tim is putting people in place to fill Jobs' "helping hand". Why? Because Tim will take Apple to new heights harnessing the 'potential' of Apple's enormous success.

Steve was the engineer who built Apple, but Tim better knows how to drive.

i am completely new to Apple. i was a cable modem technician back in the days of Apple's OS 7, etc. As a result of those devices, i developed a true and passionate hatred for all things Apple . Well fast forward 20 years and now i have just purchased my first mac (a mac mini of course. I like to test the water temp toes first). My PC dual booted SuSE Linux and Windows 7 (because 8 was terrible). It now serves as a file server for my Mac Mini. My company has ditched BlackBerry for iPhone. Now i get to touch and feel Apple. The genius of Jobs is that he not only told you what was beautiful, it actually WAS beautiful. I will be selling my Galaxy Note 3 for an iPhone 6 when it launches because the synergy between Apple devices is unrivaled. I dont know that Tim deserves the credit, but Apple has won another loyal follower. Remember the big picture. it's not just about iOS. Once you have a Mac, you want an iPhone and an iPad. Buy an Android tablet and you don't mind rocking a Blackberry. Great job Apple. The mini is going to sell one hell of a lot of phones.