Tim Cook's vision for 'his' Apple begins to emerge

grahamperrin

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Tim Cook's Apple Takes Shape - WSJ (2014-07-07)

For starters, two passages.

1)

"The only thing that Steve cared about was creating great products. The company, the employees were only there to facilitate that goal," said another former employee. "Tim is much more worried about everything at the company."​

2)

Under Mr. Cook, current and former employees say Apple may be spreading itself too thin, pursuing too many ideas and compromising the "laser focus" that Mr. Jobs used to create the iMac, iPhone and iPad.

"It was Steve's job to say no," one of these people said. "Tim is not as comfortable doing that."

A person close to Apple said … Mr. Jobs was an intuitive decision maker, knowing what he liked and didn't like immediately … Mr. Cook is more thoughtful and will take extra time to "minimize mistakes."​
 

maflynn

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There's nothing wrong in taking some time to minimize making mistakes. Jobs had his share of poor decisions.

I will say that there has been a lack of defining products from apple. While the Mac Pro has been a innovative product, Cook promised this year (as he had last year) that there was some great products coming. With 2015 drawing to a close (from a retail perspective) its now getting too late to see some of those great products he's been promising us since 2013.
 

omenatarhuri

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Feb 9, 2010
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There's nothing wrong in taking some time to minimize making mistakes. Jobs had his share of poor decisions.

I will say that there has been a lack of defining products from apple. While the Mac Pro has been a innovative product, Cook promised this year (as he had last year) that there was some great products coming. With 2015 drawing to a close (from a retail perspective) its now getting too late to see some of those great products he's been promising us since 2013.
I'm guessing their excitement comes from combining multiple consumer interests to their ecosystem. Home, health, mobile payments. Hardware here is secondary, the key is a smooth, user-friendly, fully integrated solution.
 

MacNut

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One would argue that the one product that Steve was so driven on is what killed Apple, the iPhone. While yes it brought in billions in revenue it also took Apple from a Computer company to a phone company. Apple lost it's focus under Steve.
 

grahamperrin

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… the key is a smooth, user-friendly, fully integrated solution.
I suspect that some of what's smoothest will remain strictly under wraps until some time next year.

There's nothing wrong in taking some time to minimize making mistakes.
Agreed.

Another defining product, service or integration is long awaited.

The most recent waiting period – a period of years – has been eventful but ultimately, I'm left with the feeling that Apple has become somewhat sterile. More specifically: a sterility to the company's public expression of its own plans and abilities … something like that.

… minimize making mistakes.
I wonder, is the perceived sterility an unintended result of an excess of caution by the company?

Certainly, the 2013 news that a CEO of Burberry was to be Senior Vice President of Retail and Online Stores for Apple was completely unexciting to me. (That's absolutely not to offend Angela Ahrendts – I don't know her – it's more, a reflection of my lack of interest in Burberry … another web presence that appears very sterile to me.)

… too late to see some of those great products …
I wonder. Will next week's event include a preview or hint of what's planned for the rest of the decade?

Or will it be yet another event that somehow adds to an air of sterility?

… Apple lost it's focus under Steve.
I believe that the company's focii changed – and amongst those changes, the apparent defocus from server hardware had a painful effect on some people.

Parallel to that: development of Mac OS X (and Mac OS X Server) suffered – or appeared to suffer – but (I believe) that was not a direct result of the changes to foci.

Apple gained foci (primarily iOS (primarily on iPhone)), those gains are not necessarily bad things.

A thought for OS X: does Apple no longer have a single, clear, shared vision? If so – if there is a problem of vision – then I'm fairly sure that this problem can be tied to a new Apple, but I can't tell where Cook fits in all of this.

I'll revisit this topic on or soon after 9th September …
 

VI™

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Aug 27, 2010
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I don't have numbers to back this up and it's only speculation, but I'm guessing that OS X server sees so little implementation anywhere compared to even Windows Server, which is not the preferred server platform for huge businesses. The iPhone, iPad, and iOS however are some of the biggest products in their respective markets.
 

eezacque

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Feb 17, 2013
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Instead of on technicalities, I'd like to see Tim Cook focus on quality and service. Currently, it seems to be impossible to find a single Apple employee who addresses my concerns on service, which for me is fatal for my trust in Apple.
 

mwa

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Jun 3, 2013
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Memo: A Slower Seesaw!
One would argue that the one product that Steve was so driven on is what killed Apple, the iPhone. While yes it brought in billions in revenue it also took Apple from a Computer company to a phone company. Apple lost it's focus under Steve.
That's going by your assumption that Apple, et al, wanted to always be and only ever be solely a computer company and was somehow led astray, as absurd as that sounds. It may not fit with personal feelings, but it doesn't invalidate what Apple's doing now or was doing under Steve. Steve started Apple, so the fact that he's the one who took it in a new direction actually lends credibility to the shift.
 

Ray2

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Jul 8, 2014
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One would argue that the one product that Steve was so driven on is what killed Apple, the iPhone. While yes it brought in billions in revenue it also took Apple from a Computer company to a phone company. Apple lost it's focus under Steve.
Perhaps. But perhaps it would have needed a Jobs to maintain the focus. Jobs focused on hardware. Make it so compelling no matter what the market, people will buy it. Now they're selling market focused themes. Really easy to knock off. Potential major waste of resourced while the computer hardware (mini, display) sits languishing and, I think, lousy marketing supporting the same 2 products.
 

MacNut

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Perhaps. But perhaps it would have needed a Jobs to maintain the focus. Jobs focused on hardware. Make it so compelling no matter what the market, people will buy it. Now they're selling market focused themes. Really easy to knock off. Potential major waste of resourced while the computer hardware (mini, display) sits languishing and, I think, lousy marketing supporting the same 2 products.
Jobs focused more on how to make a product marketable not the product itself. He went money over quality. That was a far different approach to old Jobs who wanted quality. After the 2001 iMac Apple focused more on how does it look not how well does it work.
 

IJ Reilly

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Jul 16, 2002
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One would argue that the one product that Steve was so driven on is what killed Apple, the iPhone. While yes it brought in billions in revenue it also took Apple from a Computer company to a phone company. Apple lost it's focus under Steve.
Aren't you being at least a little arch? If not, I would have to say that focus of the sort you describe is overrated. The Apple of 1986-97 was certainly "focused," but on a very limited range of products, and had little in the way of creative drive.
 

rdowns

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Jul 11, 2003
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This Apple lost focus is, IMO, a bull **** meme. According to many of you, Apple should have stayed focused on the Mac. How'd that work for Dell and HP?
 

MacNut

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This Apple lost focus is, IMO, a bull **** meme. According to many of you, Apple should have stayed focused on the Mac. How'd that work for Dell and HP?
Dell still owns the enterprise market. It's all I see governments and companies buying.

Apple needs to either put more effort into their computer business or get out of it all together. If they are going to be a mobile company fine, don't string around the computer customers by throwing them a bone every few years.
 
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mwa

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Memo: A Slower Seesaw!
Dell still owns the enterprise market. It's all I see governments and companies buying.

Apple needs to either put more effort into their computer business or get out of it all together. If they are going to be a mobile company fine, don't string around the computer customers by throwing them a bone every few years.
Apple does need to do anything because every industry they're in makes them money.

You personally want them to either boost the Mac or dump the market, but it makes very little sense for them to do so.
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
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Dell still owns the enterprise market. It's all I see governments and companies buying.

Apple needs to either put more effort into their computer business or get out of it all together. If they are going to be a mobile company fine, don't string around the computer customers by throwing them a bone every few years.

And government and business are buying fewer and fewer servers. Virtualization is where it's at.

What does more effort mean? They have access to the same parts as Dell, HP, etc. Last I looked, I don't see anything new coming from the other guys. Of course, Apple earns the lions share of the profits in all of the PC industry. Someone must be buying them.
 

grahamperrin

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Article availability

PS, sorry for the opening post reference to an article that some readers might be unable to access.

(I forgot that access to WSJ is limited, didn't realise until after I began this topic; a reload of the page presented only the first few sentences of the article.)

More recent articles about Apple under Cook include 4 Ways Tim Cook Has Changed Apple as CEO | TIME (2014-08-28) but at a glance, that's not as substantial as what I recall reading in WSJ.
 

grahamperrin

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Work began on the Apple Watch after the passing of Steve Jobs.

Was it a vision of Cook – or of a 'new Apple' – to begin that historic work?

I wonder. That beginning was relatively late on an Apple timeline.

It's probably to soon to answer, but the question's there.

Related

iPhone, iPod and iPad > Apple Watch > POLL: Would Steve Have Released This Watch?

(Let's not turn this 'vision' topic into a discussion of the watch itself, or into a Jobs retrospective; if those things interest you, please use the links above. Thanks.)
 

Rogifan

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Nov 14, 2011
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Nobody knows what Steve would/wouldn't do. Personally I think some of the stuff regarded as "gimmicky" Steve would've got a kick out of. He always seemed to me to be a kid at heart.
 

grahamperrin

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the8thark

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Apr 18, 2011
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Tim Cook can't say no to too many SKUs like Jobs could. 60 different Apple Watch SKU's/combinations is a joke. There should be 1. Like the iPhone 1. And make it look amazing.
 

rdowns

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Jul 11, 2003
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Tim Cook can't say no to too many SKUs like Jobs could. 60 different Apple Watch SKU's/combinations is a joke. There should be 1. Like the iPhone 1. And make it look amazing.

This is something you wear, there is no one size fits all. There are 3 watches and the rest are high margin bands.

As for too may SKUs, Jobs did the iMac in 5 colors and iPods in many colors.
 

gnasher729

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Nov 25, 2005
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Tim Cook can't say no to too many SKUs like Jobs could. 60 different Apple Watch SKU's/combinations is a joke. There should be 1. Like the iPhone 1. And make it look amazing.
There is ONE Apple Watch. Not 60. It's one product. And since it's a fashion product, it comes in many different looks.

If Apple had started selling clothes under Steve Jobs, do you think he would have sold only one pair of trousers, one shirt, one pair of shoes? Unisex to avoid doubling SKUs? Or just a pair of trousers, because one product is enough?
 

Rogifan

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Nov 14, 2011
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This is something you wear, there is no one size fits all. There are 3 watches and the rest are high margin bands.

As for too may SKUs, Jobs did the iMac in 5 colors and iPods in many colors.
Exactly. Remember the nano chromatic iPods? Didn't they come in like 6 or 7 different colors?