Jobs, Steve Jobs
If Apple were an ocean liner and Tim Cook her captain, there is little doubt that the USS Apple would be parsing the open waters at “full steam ahead”. While Steve Jobs turned Apple around, was very good at gathering top talent and then focusing that talent on a few key ideas — bringing excitement to the world with new gadgets and gizmos we all had to have, Tim Cook has brought stability to Apple.
Rumors of both a 12-inch MacBook and iPad have surfaced in recent months. Where there is smoke with Apple rumors there is often a form of fire, and claims of the an iPad Pro have been heating up quickly. We have put our stamp of approval on a 12-inch MacBook, but a 12-inch iPad (now with a stylus?) have us questioning the merits of why a product should exist.
The invitations are out and Apple wishes it could tell us more. But for those outside the executive suite at Infinity Loop we will need to wait one more week, until 9.9.2014. The significance of the location is that the Flint Center, located on the De Anza college campus, is where Steve Jobs unveiled the original Macintosh 30 years ago.
In the mid-90's when Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy, then CEO Gil Amileo, chose Steve Jobs’ NeXT, Inc., and the NeXTSTEP operating system over former Apple fellow Jean-Louis Gassée’s BeOS. Jobs joined Apple’s Board of Directors, and with the NeXTSTEP operating system set as the foundation of what would become OS X he went to work on hardware along with regaining his CEO status. Gil Amileo was sent packing within a month of Jobs return, branding himself as Apple's iCEO, and soon thereafter the introduction of the first iMac.
In his latest support of all-things-for-the-social-good, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, took the Ice Bucket Challenge at Apple’s fundraising bash to fight ALS during the company’s diversity week. Cook became CEO of Apple in 2011, and over the course of his reign he has had a major impact on the culture of the Cupertino company.
Apple is a unique company, and anyone who would deny that just doesn’t understand the company's history. While IBM created the first personal computer, it was Apple that made the PC useable by people who weren’t programmers. Yes Apple leveraged the idea from Xerox (and then Microsoft from Apple), but does anyone think we would have seen mass adoption of PC’s in the 90’s if Xerox were leading the charge with the GUI interface? And it wasn’t just the GUI interface. Apple delivered files, folder and a trash can, in easy-to-understand icon format. Apple then linked the PC with design software and laser printers and an entirely new way to publish documents was born.
Fast forward two decades and Apple launched the iPod. Apple did not create this product category either, but took it to the next level and made it a must-have for an entire generation. Once again the iPod portable music player was not a standalone device. iPod came with iTunes vertically integrated, quickly followed with the iTunes store, and the music industry was transformed overnight.
It has been somewhat amusing to watch, but Microsoft’s horrifically managed businesses and Johnny-come-lately practices may actually be coming to an end. That isn’t to say Sayta Nadella, Microsoft’s new CEO, won’t make his own set of mistakes, but if his rhetoric matches the actual direction of Microsoft’s overall business, the slow motion train wreck Steve Ballmer was engineering over the past decade may be grinding to a halt.
Steve Ballmer’s idea that Microsoft could truly be all-things to all people in every market was pure folly, mixed with a heavy dash of hubris. His belief that the software giant continued to be the only 800 pound gorilla in the tech world was absolute arrogance and denial, culminating into one undefined direction for the company. So far it appears Nadella has a better grip on reality and a shaper focus for the company moving forward, as he is preparing to axe the irrelevant.
It wasn’t long after Apple, Inc. CEO, Tim Cook, took over for the late Steve Jobs and the tech media was howling for his head. August 24, 2014 will mark Tim Cook’s third year as CEO at Apple, and today boos and jeers have all but disappeared. The "Down with Tim!" cries have been replaced with praise being piled onto the CEO.
2010 was the last time the Apple faithful were treated to a new product category launch. The iPad made its debut just three years after the incredibly successful iPhone introduction. Over four years has passed since the iPad was announced, yet Apple has produced nothing “new.” Over the years iPhone and iPad have certainly improved — iPad now has a mini companion — but Apple’s history has set expectations for the company to launch something yet unseen, yet unknown, or yet to be done, every few years.
This Fall presents Apple another opportunity to break the cycle of just another set of upgrades to current product categories. The iPhone 6 (aka iPhone Air) is most likely going to sport a larger display (or displays), but it may be a new product that steals the show. Under Tim Cook’s leadership, there have been two special events in the Fall. A September show (2012, 2013) and an October show (2012, 2013). October is a special month for Apple as it is the beginning of its fiscal calendar. If you have never worked for a fortune 500 company, let me tell you, that is a big deal. Never under estimate when products launch and how they are tied to how bonuses are calculated.
The heavily rumored Apple iWatch is most likely to become a reality this Fall. While competitors such as Samsung, Google and others have created high-tech “wearables”, Apple typically does things differently — and better. Before iPhone, it was Blackberry who ruled the day as the serious smart phone with a physical keyboard, email and some limited web browsing capability. Then Apple entered the market with the iPhone and the industry was changed forever.