Apple's Evolution Under the Leadership of Tim Cook

Back in November, The Wall Street Journal took a look at how Tim Cook was putting his stamp on Apple just two months after officially being elevated to the position on Chief Executive Officer. But with Cook now having been on the job for nine months, Fortune examines in a lengthy profile how the company and its culture have continued to evolve under his leadership.

A 14-year veteran of the company, Cook is maintaining, by words and actions, most of Apple's unique corporate culture. But shifts of behavior and tone are absolutely apparent; some of them affect the core of Apple's critical product-development process. In general, Apple has become slightly more open and considerably more corporate. In some cases Cook is taking action that Apple sorely needed and employees badly wanted. It's almost as if he is working his way through a to-do list of long-overdue repairs the previous occupant (Jobs) refused to address for no reason other than obstinacy.

Calling Tim Cook "the master of operational efficiency", the report notes that Cook continues to spur Apple to both streamline and innovate with its manufacturing processes, bankrolling purchases of equipment and other infrastructure with its own money to allow its supply chain and assembly partners to improve efficiency and output.

tim cook ipad portrait illustration
But that operational efficiency has led to the belief that Apple is becoming more traditional and conservative, becoming an "execution engine" driven by business-oriented managers with MBAs and less dependent on its design and technical expertise to lead the way.

It looks like it has become a more conservative execution engine rather than a pushing-the-envelope engineering engine," says Max Paley, a former engineering vice president who worked at Apple for 14 years until late 2011. "I've been told that any meeting of significance is now always populated by project management and global-supply management," he says. "When I was there, engineering decided what we wanted, and it was the job of product management and supply management to go get it. It shows a shift in priority."

The entire profile is an interesting look at how Apple is changing under Tim Cook, also highlighting his own evolution in becoming the face of Apple and how he differs from Steve Jobs, from his quiet nature to his willingness to listen to investors to sitting down to eat with random employees in the Apple cafeteria.

Top Rated Comments

basesloaded190 Avatar
113 months ago
I don't understand the negativity towards Tim. He's not Steve. Never was, and never will be. I'm glad he has started changing things up a little bit. He has done nothing to negatively impact the company so to complain about changes seem unwarranted.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Wildog27 Avatar
113 months ago

and what has been released in the days post-Jobs ?? a re-hashed iPad2 ...

WWDC = Make or break for shareholders ( i.e something HUGE simply has to happen )

just my 2 cents ....


So if Apple doesn't release something that impresses YOU at WWDC, you are declaring that Apple's run at the top of the consumer electronics world is over.

OK then.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Small White Car Avatar
113 months ago
Comparisons to the past are hard because it's almost impossible to visualize just how much Apple has grown.

Are new things different because Cook is in charge? Or are they different because Apple is so incredibly larger than it used to be? With that kind of growth certain things would have to change no matter who was in charge. It's hard to separate the peanut butter from the jelly sometimes.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bobob Avatar
113 months ago
Apple's Cooked.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Northgrove Avatar
113 months ago
On one hand it sounds all good, but on the other hand, the added hierarchy of decisions at the meetings reminds me of what I've heard by exworkers from a certain competitor with a stagnant stock that aren't doing nearly as well as Apple these days. :\ Hopefully it's not quite as bad as over there though. People have left the company for it.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
antonis Avatar
113 months ago
It's just too soon.

Apple is still going under SJ guidelines. Tim Cook's decisions will start counting in the near future, but not just yet.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

magsafecasedangle

Apple Elaborates on Potential for iPhone 12 and MagSafe Accessories to Interfere With Implantable Medical Devices

Saturday January 23, 2021 2:42 pm PST by
Since the launch of iPhone 12 models in October, Apple has acknowledged that the devices may cause electromagnetic interference with medical devices like pacemakers and defibrillators, but the company has now shared additional information. Apple added the following paragraph to a related support document today:Medical devices such as implanted pacemakers and defibrillators might contain...
Top Stories 44 Feature

Top Stories: 'Thinner and Lighter' MacBook Air, Smaller iPhone 13 Notch, iOS 14.4 Incoming

Saturday January 23, 2021 6:00 am PST by
We continued to hear a lot more about Apple's plans for its Mac lineup this week, including word of a high-end redesigned MacBook Air and the return of an SD card slot as part of the upcoming MacBook Pro redesign. It also sounds like Apple has been working on Face ID for Mac, but it won't be appearing in a redesigned iMac this year as originally planned. This week also saw rumors about the...
bloodoxygenapplewatch

Apple Watch Series 7 Rumored to Feature Blood Glucose Monitoring

Monday January 25, 2021 5:05 am PST by
The Apple Watch Series 7 will reportedly feature blood glucose monitoring via an optical sensor, according to ETNews. The report, which mainly focuses on the blood glucose capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, explains that Apple is intending to bring blood glucose monitoring to the upcoming Apple Watch Series 7 using a non-invasive optical sensor. Measuring blood glucose levels,...
maxresdefault

Microsoft Touts Surface Pro 7 as 'The Better Choice' Over MacBook Pro in New Ad

Saturday January 23, 2021 11:02 am PST by
Microsoft yesterday shared a new ad on YouTube titled "Microsoft Surface Pro 7: The Better Choice," in which the company compares its tablet computer to Apple's 13-inch M1 MacBook Pro, as spotted by MSPoweruser. The ad highlights the Surface Pro 7's touchscreen and included stylus as opposed to only a "little bar" (the Touch Bar) on the MacBook Pro. Other advantages of the Surface Pro 7...
airpods galaxy buds comparison

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro vs. Apple AirPods Pro

Friday January 22, 2021 2:34 pm PST by
Samsung in January unveiled new flagship Galaxy S21 smartphones and alongside the new phones, introduced the $200 Galaxy Buds Pro, which are priced at $199 and offer Active Noise Cancellation. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. These new Galaxy Buds Pro are clearly designed to compete with Apple's AirPods Pro, so we thought we'd compare the two sets of earbuds in our...
2021 mbp sd slot feature2

Bloomberg: Next MacBook Pro to Feature SD Card Reader

Friday January 22, 2021 7:50 am PST by
Last week, reputable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo outlined his expectations for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models later this year, including the return of the MagSafe charging connector, the removal of the Touch Bar, a new flat-edged design, and the return of more ports built into the notebooks for expanded connectivity. A concept of a modern MacBook Pro with an SD card reader Kuo did not...
time to walk apple watch

Apple Fitness+ Feature 'Time to Walk' Launching Soon With Audio Stories From Special Guests

Saturday January 23, 2021 7:13 pm PST by
Earlier this week, Apple seeded the watchOS 7.3 Release Candidate, which is typically the final beta version of a software update. The release notes for the update list a new "Time to Walk" feature for Apple Fitness+ subscribers, described as "an audio experience in the Workout app where guests share inspiring stories as you walk." Apple Fitness+ subscribers will be able to open the Workout...
Flat MacBook Air Feature

Bloomberg: Apple Working on 'Thinner and Lighter' High-End MacBook Air With MagSafe, Could Launch in Second Half of 2021

Friday January 22, 2021 3:34 am PST by
Apple is working on a "thinner and lighter" version of the MacBook Air that the company plans to release during the second half of this year at the earliest or in 2022, according to a new report by well-connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman. It will include Apple's MagSafe charging technology and a next-generation version of the company's in-house Mac processors. Apple has discussed...
q4 2020 mac growth feature

Mac Sales Skyrocketing After M1 Launch

Tuesday January 19, 2021 3:00 am PST by
Apple's worldwide Mac shipments grew massively in the fourth quarter of 2020 after the launch of three new Macs with the M1 chip, according to new PC shipping estimates shared by Gartner. Apple shipped an estimated 6.9 million Macs, up from the 5.25 million it shipped at the same time in 2019, marking significant growth of 31.3 percent. In spite of the growth of Mac sales, Apple remained...
apple time to walk apple watch airpods 01252021 inline

Apple's New 'Time to Walk' Feature Launches Today for Fitness+ Subscribers

Monday January 25, 2021 6:30 am PST by
Apple today officially introduced Time to Walk, a new feature for Apple Fitness+ subscribers with audio stories from influential people that Apple Watch users can listen to with AirPods or other wireless headphones while walking. Time to Walk episodes will be automatically downloaded to the Apple Watch with a Fitness+ subscription, and users can start an episode directly from the Workout...