Shapeshifting at Apple – Wally Bock

mickyates Brand, Customer, ideas, Innovation, Inspiration, Leader, Technology Leave a Comment

Tim Cook

Image Minh Uong/The New York Times

From Wally Bock‘s excellent Three Star Leadership Blog

From the time Steve Jobs returned from exile to lead Apple out of the wilderness and up to the heights of success, we perceived Apple as an extension of the man and his genius. Since he died, we knew Apple would have to be a different company, but what kind of different company? We may be getting some idea.

On Friday, June 13, Patrick May wrote about Angela Ahrendts in “The post-Jobs era blossoms with Apple’s new retail sweetheart.” Then, Sunday, the New York Times ran a major profile of Apple’s CEO: “Tim Cook, Making Apple His Own.

Clearly change is afoot at Apple. But what kind of change? Is it serious substantive change to reflect new realities? Or is it cosmetic change designed to make us all believe that even with Steve gone, Apple will still be Apple? Beats me.

To help you figure things out for yourself, I’ve assembled a selection of some recent articles about Apple. I recommend reading the NY Times piece before you sample the links below. Enjoy.

From Recode: Katie Cotton, Communications VP Who Helped Shape Apple’s Story, Retiring

“She’s long been among the company’s most powerful executives and played a key role in shaping the mystique and exclusivity surrounding the Apple brand.”

From Mashable: How Apple Got Its Groove Back

“More than a week after Apple’s WWDC keynote, I’m still trying to wrap my brain around everything that was announced.”

From SFGate: Yes, Apple and iPhones are still cool, but shop around

“The more things change, the more they stay the same. The evolution of the smartphone eerily parallels that of the personal computer. Both were birthed by Apple – the Apple 1 computer in 1976, and the iPhone in 2007. Both were groundbreaking consumer technology products that developed an early lead in the market, and developers flocked to create software for them (applications for the computer, apps for the phone).

From the Financial Times: Descent into drivel is a sign of Apple’s fall

The ugly words suggest the group has got too big to hang on to what once made it different.”

From Wharton: Apple’s Beats Buy: Desperation or Opportunity?

“Apple’s $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics was an uncharacteristic move for a company that has typically limited its acquisitions to small start-ups. In fact, its last high-profile buy was in 1996, when Apple purchased computer company NeXT and in the process brought previously ousted founder Steve Jobs back to the firm. Announced last week, the purchase of Beats, which was founded by rapper Dr. Dre and music industry executive Jimmy Iovine, brings into the Apple fold an audio hardware business, including Beats’ popular headphones, and the company’s streaming music service.”

From the Verge: What if Apple bought Beats not for headphones, but wearables?

“Beats is all about the brand, as headphone enthusiasts and streaming audio fans will gladly tell you. With its copious engineering resources, Apple could build better headphones itself. And while Apple might indeed want to pursue a streaming music service to compete with Spotify, there’s no indication yet that Beats Music might be able to help do so. As my colleague points out, the service appears to have acquired fewer than 200,000 followers so far, compared to Spotify’s millions, and Apple wouldn’t be able to transfer Beats’ music deals to a streaming service of its own. So what could Apple do with that brand? What everyone seems to be forgetting is that Beats is a fashion company that makes technology you wear.

10