2014 Will Be the Year That Defines Apple CEO Tim Cook

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Time can be a funny thing, and not just in a Stephen Hawking yuk-yuk kind of way. For we intellectual mortals, time has a magical ability to change our perspective on things, making small things become important, and allowing us to all but forget what used to feel like was of end-of-the-world, apocalyptic magnitude.

That's what is going to happen in 2014, a year I believe will come to define the Tim Cook era of Apple. 2014 is the year when analysts and armchair numbnuts will go from erroneously worrying about Apple's ability to innovate without Steve Jobs to judging Apple's execution in bringing innovation to market.

Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook

It's funny—and this time I'm talking yuk-yuks—but the two and a half years since Steve Jobs died have been awash in criticism aimed at Tim Cook for not having introduced something life changing and market disrupting. This criticism has always been couched as if Apple disrupted markets every year when Mr. Jobs was in charge, despite the nit-picky fact that this isn't true.

It also ignores the pesky reality that anything Apple might have released up until now would have had some involvement from Mr. Jobs. Any such product would have said about as much about Tim Cook's ability to deliver innovation as its absence says about his inability to do so. In other words, little or nothing.

What's extra fascinating is that such criticism continues to get pronounced with utter confidence by ill-informed, un-critical thinkers like Trip Chowdry, who recently called for Tim Cook's ouster as Apple CEO. His reason? Mr. Cook hasn't been aggressive enough in releasing disruptive products just as rumors of Apple releasing a wearables product are gaining enough strength to get up and walk their own way to an Apple Store.

It's face-palmingly stupefying.

Instead of pretending that Apple disrupts markets every season, people should instead have been focused on the incredible job that Tim Cook has really been doing. Jeff Gamet and I discussed this on Wednesday's Apple Context Machine, but here's what Tim Cook has been working on since Steve Jobs passed away.

Next: What Tim Cook's Been Up To

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Comments

BurmaYank

”...and all of the angst from Apple haters and Tim Cook doubters that have characterized the last two and a half years will vanish.”

Maybe so, but I wouldn’t expect Bosco (& a few of his fellow Apple-hating faithful TMO-contibutors) to stop their vacuous carping about anything Apple, regardless of the Apple innovation & management successes you are predicting - I would dearly love for you to be right & for me to be wrong about that.

geoduck

I am certain that we are nearing the time when one or two new products are ready. I suspect that the iWatch—whatever Apple calls it—will be first, and that it will sooner, rather than later in the year. When that happens, Apple’s critics will magically turn on a philosophical dime and go from proclaiming that Apple can’t innovate to judging Apple’s innovation.

I don’t expect to see that. There’s too much momentum and ‘street cred’ tied up in criticizing TC and Apple for these hacks to let a little thing like facts to change their tune.

The iWatch/iBand/iPendant/iWhatever will be trashed for being an also ran, copying what everyone else has already put out, and they will call for TC to be fired for releasing such a lame product. That it works better than anyone else’s device, especially if it’s nothing like what everyone else has put out, won’t change their mantra, nor will the fact that if it’s at all well done it will sell like hotcakes and make Apple lots of money. They will just dismiss people who buy Apple’s new device the same way they dismiss people who use an iPhone, as morons and fanboys who are too stupid to know what they’re doing. There’s a whole industry that’s grown up around hating Apple, predicting Apple’s doom, trashing TC, and calling for everyone from the board on up to get fired. Facts won’t cause these people disrupt their income stream.

Immediately after the new iDevice gets released I also expect Samsung to file suit, because it has a wrist band or a face, or a touch screen which they will claim to have patented. This will give further ammunition to the Apple-Hating industry to Trash Apple and TC.

Or maybe I’ve just gotten to be very cynical about what passes for tech ‘news’ elsewhere on the web.

DuaneB

You nailed with this comment “Tim Cook has done the harder thing”. This is what separates great leaders from the also rans.

gkhudyan

AWESOME.  Will he be leaving Apple to go and personally save trees to save the earth?

FrocedCritic

STEVE JOBS WOULD AND APPLE WOULD NOT EXIST TODAY IF IT WEREN’T FOR TIM COOK.  I THINK PEOPLE JUST IMPLY THAT HE’S NOT A GOOD PRESENTER AND EXCITEMENT CREATOR LIKE STEVE WAS AND THIS MUCH IS TRUE. 

MY BIGGEST ISSUE WITH HIM IS HOW PRESENTS PRODUCTS DURING KEYNOTES – SOME PEOPLE JUST HAVE A GIFT FOR RUNNING THINGS BEHIND THE SCENES AND TIM IS ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE… HE IS A GENIUS IN HIS WAY… UNFORTUNATELY NOT AT PRESENTING PRODUCTS OR CREATING EXCITEMENT – I THINK APPLE NEEDS TO SWITCH THINGS UP A BIT AND HAVE PHIL SHICHILAR RUN ALL THE KEY NOTES FROM NOW ON… HE THE BEST SECOND TO STEVE AND WAY BETTER AT EXPLAINING NEW TECH. 

I THINK THAT’S WHERE ALL THIS TIM HATRED ORIGINATES FROM AND MAYBE SOMETHING APPLE NEEDS TOR RECOGNIZE.  TIM SHOULD RUNTHE COMPANY – NO ELSE CAN – THANK GOD HE’S THERE – BUT HE CAN’T DEMO A KEYNOTE BECAUSE HE TRIES TOO HARD TO MAKE EVERYTHING SOUND LIKE A CRACKHEAD HIGH METH! 

HONESTLY SOMETIMES IT MAKES ME CRINGE BECAUSE IT FEELS SO FAKE AND SCRIPTED, SO MUCH SO THAT I CAN’T EVEN WATCH LIVE KEYNOTES ANYMORE, THATS HOW BAD HE SUCKS!  THIS IS MY ONLY BEEF WITH TIM… I’M SURE MANY OTHERS WOULD AGREE. 

RonMacGuy

2014 is the year when analysts and armchair numbnuts will go from erroneously worrying about Apple’s ability to innovate without Steve Jobs to judging Apple’s execution in bringing innovation to market.

Bryan, I think you should have said ‘numb-nut analysts and armchair numb-nuts’ to clarify that analysts are also numb-nuts.

Oh, and I think that numb-nuts is hyphenated.  Or two separate words.  I don’t think it is one word.  But that’s just me.

For the record, I was not the one to mention Bosco (& a few of his fellow Apple-hating faithful TMO-contibutors)…

grin

 

RonMacGuy

FrocedCritic, are there better keynote presenters?  Sure.  Does Tim suck that badly?  I personally don’t think so.  No one can step in and be as good as Steve was, unfortunately.  I think Tim is getting better.

adamC

@ForcedCritic

Wow, your comment in caps I a true representation of you, I wonder how you will be on stage and I bet you will be better than Steve Jobs…

geoduck

IMO Steve Jobs didn’t start out with a brilliant stage presence. I remember a number of presentations early on where he seemed rather uncomfortable, almost awkward on stage. It’s a skill that he learned over time and TC will pick it up.

kevinlane

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t believe we’ve yet seen Tim Cook present any new product lines (unless you count the iPad Mini). Yes, Steve Jobs was a great presenter, but the presentations we remember the most were the ones which featured totally new products such as the iPhone and iPad. His personal excitement over such innovative products was a factor in the quality of his presentations, I believe.

If Bryan is correct (and I believe he is), we will get to see Tim Cook present something new this year, and perhaps then we will see his presentations in a new perspective.

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