Tim Cook has now been CEO of Apple for a year, also marking one year since Steve Jobs stepped down from the CEO position of Apple. How much has Apple grown since he has taken the reigns? What has changed at Apple in its products, its services and its relations with other companies? We will look at the answers to all of these questions and determine how much of a change, good and bad has occurred.
Since Tim Cook has taken the realms, there have been multiple products released from Apple. First, let’s talk about the iPhone 4S. The iPhone 4S was released, ironically, the day before Steve Jobs’ death (May he rest in peace) prompting some people to believe the iPhone 4S meant 4 Steve, but that is, and probably will forever be unknown. But I digress. The iPhone 4S was the first major product to come out under Tim Cook and while some people were originally upset it wasn’t the iPhone 5, it is definitely a respected phone and is one of Apple’s top selling phones along with the iPhone 4. The new iPhone 4S brought in Siri, a service that would change the way we use our devices. It brought a new camera, one that is strong enough to not only capture consumer camera level quality, but surpass it as well. It also brought a powerful new processor, capable of handling high-end mobile applications with a breeze. The iPhone 4S, while brought no changes to the physical chasis to the phone, brought new unsurpassable features that made people want to buy the iPhone 4S even though they bought the 4 recently. It has changed the phones in our pockets, and with the new iPhone 5 coming out soon, Apple is about to change it even more, and in an even more powerful way. The very fact that the iPhone 5 is coming out soon has made Apple become the most valuable company in history, surpassing Microsoft’s record it made in 1999. As a matter of fact, today, the iPhone alone makes more money for Apple, than all of Microsoft’s products combined. Thats right. In the quarter ending March 31 of this year, Apple raised more money through the iPhone alone than Microsoft did out of Windows OS, Office, Bing, XBox and the Windows Phone combined.
In February, before the iPad was released, Tim Cook met with and announced with textbook publishers that they were working together to make textbooks for the iPad, signaling that Apple is very interested in doing something in technology. In California, I have yet to see anything but junky computers in schools, but in other parts in the country such as the East Coast, iPads are being used in increased volume across the country. There is even a charity earning money to give iPads to students, it was even featured as one of the celebrities charities on The Celebrity Apprentice.
The new iPad
The iPad 3 (or by it’s official name the New iPad) took the iPad from being years ahead of the competition to light years ahead of the competition. When the original iPad came out, all of the ideas the other companies had were trashed and they started over. When the iPad 2 came out, it put Apple years ahead of whatever the other companies had out and now the iPad 3 put them even more ahead of the competition. The only way any other company could get close to Apple is if they violate copyright and get sued such as Samsung. Tim Cook did a good job with the introduction and release of the new iPad. He released the new iPad with consistent zeal and enthusiasm and innovated unlike any other company.
WWDC was a mixed bag for me. While I loved what they did with the most advanced desktop and mobile operating systems, I was not a huge fan of what they did with new laptops. Allow me to go into further detail. First, I’ll start with the laptops.
While, admittedly, I actually did buy a MacBook this summer, it wasn’t the one I originally wanted to get (after using it for a while, I have realized my decision was not a poor one). I was expecting that the beautiful Retina Display was coming to the MBP 13″ as well as the 15″. I think many people were expecting that it would come at WWDC. The new Retina Display MBPis pretty light for a 15 inch laptop and contains a lot of power but for the lowest price to be put at $2199 it is anything but affordable. With an expected 13 inch MBPR to be coming soon (most likely next month), I can’t return my MBA, but I use it all the time, so even if I could, I wouldn’t. Personally, right now, I don’t think the features of the new MBPR, the 15 inch we have now or the 13 inch to come later, warrants the prices they either have or will have. Apple did not come up too short though, they sold four million Macs last quarter, and that’s not too shabby. Almost all people that buy the new MBPR are very pleased with it, but down the road, I wonder how upset they will be once they realize that they can’t add more RAM or fix their battery without repairing the whole machine since everything is soldered in. See detailed analysis. I’m not sure if Apple got everything right here but only time will tell to how much of an impact these MBPRs have on the MacBook line. If they will stay and replace the standard for good or if they will go has yet to be seen. Let’s not forget that Apple has had flops in the past, I just hope Apple knows what they are doing with the new laptops, because the laptop industry is something they just can’t lose at. I don’t think they will fail with it, but they better be careful.
OS X Mountain Lion
On a better note, Apple did a very good job at introducing the new desktop and mobile operating systems. I’ll start first with the new OS X Mountain Lion. OS X Mountain Lion was announced at WWDC in June and was released a month later at the end of July. OS X Mountain Lion is Apple’s most successful OS ever. In the “opening weekend” they sold three million copies, the most ever in one weekend. Many more people are still buying Mountain Lion. Mountain Lion is beneficial to both kinds of Mac users. There are your beginner Mac users who are already familiar with other Apple devices and those who are the Mac people, the ones who have come to know and love Macs and the Mac OS. OS X Mountain Lion is very customizable. For those who are familiar with iOS, may want to keep the iOS features that Mountain Lion brings. For the people who are less iOS-orientated (I know quite a few of these people) you can turn off as many iOS features as you want while still getting many goodies from Mountain Lion. People have preferences to what they want and because iOS features are not being forced upon people who don’t want them, OS X Mountain Lion could certainly be and statistically is the best Mac OS to date. I am a very Apple-rounded person, simply meaning I love both Mac and iOS, so for me, I think the the new iOS features are a treat, as would many iOS-familiar people would say. iOS, since its introduction, has been a global OS. It is used by many people around the world who either use the iPad, iPhone or the iPod touch and iOS 6 is about to make it even better.
iOS6 was introduced during WWDC alongside the OS X Mountain Lion. However, unlike Mountain Lion, it has yet to be released, so as a result there are no download numbers. However, the features it adds are great ones. To start with, iOS 6 will bring Siri to the new iPad, this is a huge step up in putting Siri into all it’s future products as all it’s missing now is the iPod touch. Don’t expect past versions of the iPhone or iPad (iPhone 4, iPad 2 etc.) to get it, but every future iPhone and iPad will. Another feature iOS 6 will bring is Maps. While iOS already has a Maps app in it, it is Google-owned and operated. This is no longer. Maps will now be an Apple owned and operated service, capable of providing turn-by-turn, traffic and the new beautiful feature Fly-Over, which is similar to Google Map’s flight simulator, but looks cleaner. Facebook will now be integrated within iOS and it is looking to be a hot feature that everyone with a Facebook account will enjoy. It’s even integrated with Siri, allowing Siri to post for you. Passbook is a new app to iOS. It can contain all of your passes to your grocery stores, to amusement parks, to anywhere, so now you won’t lose your season pass to Disneyland or your Preferred card at Albertsons. FaceTime will now be able to work over 3G/4G instead of just wifi. These are not all the features but you can check them all out here.
Tim Cook’s reactions to fix the growing Chinese Foxconn problem was exactly how it should be. He solved it with appropriate time and worked with Foxconn to provide a solution to the problem of the employees. In case you didn’t hear about what happened at Foxconn a few months back, allow me to quickly explain. Some workers at Foxconn were committing suicide since the working conditions there were not tolerable, and they weren’t. The people there should be treated better. Reportedly, this has happened. Tim Cook has been vouching for better treatment and supposedly the conditions have improved “[dramatically]” according to FLA officials. I hope that Apple did solve it in an appropriate manner and people won’t have to be protected by nets on the side of the buildings.
Q2 vs. Q3
Apple’s Q2 results was one of the best ever but Q3 did not impress. Quarter three wasn’t as hot as the quarter before it and while it showed year to year growth, it did not show quarter to quarter growth. Given, Apple didn’t introduce a new iPad or new iPhone, so it was what I like to call an in-between quarter. Apple doesn’t usually have these but when it does, it isn’t a good thing. Apple stock fell quite a bit after the announcement of it’s quarter sales but went sky-high when rumors of the existence of the iPhone 5 spread like wildfire. As a matter of fact, Apple stock raised to an all-time high due to the upcoming iPhone 5.
Apple had an advertising slip-up during the Olympics. The commercials they aired were not liked by anybody and people went as far as saying they reminded them of Best Buy commercials. Ouch. But don’t fear, Apple canceled the commercials and continued with the standard simplistic commercials we have come to know and love.
Tim Cook has kept Steve Jobs’ promise of “thermonuclear war” against Android and the companies that harbor it. Apple has been in a string of legal battles. One, most recently and famously, Apple won. About a week ago, as many of you should know, Apple won against Samsung in it’s court case against it. While Apple did not get the full $2.5 billion it wanted, it did get a little over a billion dollars and while for Apple it’s just pocket change, it has dire consequences for Samsung. Samsung is in risk of getting sued again if they infringe again. Other companies won’t be copying Apple anymore and Samsung also has a risk of having it’s products banned. And now while Apple and Google have been talking and Apple is holding off for now, I think that war between the two is inevitable and if the jury found in favor of Apple once, they can, will and should do it again.
Apple, Tim Cook and the Future
So what now? What will happen in the future? What can we expect to happen the future? With the Fall approaching, and the year passing it’s 2/3rd point, you can expect Apple to be releasing products one after the other. Pretty soon you should expect the new iPhone 5, you can expect a new iPod line, and if not a new iPod line, at least a new iPod touch. You can expect that Apple will release a new iPad mini to compete with the 7 inch tablets. If they can do what they did with the iPad and it’s competitors, you can expect the iPad mini to blow the competitors out of the water. I would expect the new MBPR 13 inch. The new iOS 6 is guaranteed to come out this fall. You can expect that every product that I just mentioned will blow the competition away and they might even send them back to the drawing boards. What about Tim Cook? He is an unquestionable asset to Apple and it’s incredible success. He has led the company to become the most valuable company in history. He has done what people didn’t think he could, allow Apple to succeed, and it is my firm belief that he will continue to do so.
Thanks for reading,