Tim Cook's Proposition: Apple Has Reached Childhood's End

The reaction in our community to Apple's March 21st event has been mixed, to say the least. Thanks to sources, a pretty good idea about what was going to be presented evolved well beforehand. So why was there disappointment?

Apple CEO, Tim Cook

The day came. The FBI case and hearing loomed.  When the reality of the presentation was upon us, there was something, perhaps, strangely unsatisfying to some. In my own case, having followed what was likely to be covered, it seemed that the rollout of the iPhone SE, designed for specific markets, and not the flagship September product was less than a heart-palpitating product. Of course, we know that Apple will sell a boatload precisely because of the design. There's already a wait.

But still, you say....

And then there was the 9.7-inch iPad Pro. It's a nifty product. Many will need one for their work. Others will find it time to upgrade from an older, less capable iPad. The iPad Pro 10 will sell well, and I've explained why myself. "Apple’s New 9.7-inch iPad Pro Should Breathe New Life Into the Product Line."

But still, you say....

The Worst

The worst possible discussion I've seen was this very slanted and emotion-driven rant at Business Insider. It was so bad, the byline was an author I've never heard of. The essence was that this event was a yawner and Apple has deteriorated into an ordinary company. If you can bear it: "Steve Jobs' reality-distortion field has finally run out of juice."

The Best

On the other hand, the very best analysis of the March 21 event has been written by Chuq Von Rospach. Chuq used to work for Apple, and one would expect that with that background, combined with his great intelligence and informed perspective, that he would write a scintillating article full of insights.

He did exactly that.

Here's Chuq's essay: "Thoughts on the new Apple Products." Chuq discusses the reactions of several notable observers and explains why, in Tim Cook's new Apple— the company that is transforming under his leadership—the event was structured the way it was.

He discusses several key issues, but one that stands out and bears repeating here is this:

In some ways I believe Apple is fixing a problem I’ve believed it needed to address going back the last few years; when Steve came back and took over the helm, Apple was a failing company with meh to mediocre products, and the general belief was that Apple was dying so why bother with it? And Steve had to fix the products, fix the marketing, and convince all of us that Apple was relevant and worth our time and attention. ... that meant that Apple and Steve had to ramp up the marketing and hype and generate a lot of noise for a long time just to keep people paying attention — and now we’re all conditioned to everything being big and the PR being noisy and the hype being off the charts.

And so, Mr. Cook is now in charge of The Adjustment Bureau. Expectations need to be different. This is no longer a needy, rah-rah company desperate for attention and appealing to groupies. Under Tim Cook, Apple is managed with newfound, adult leadership.

The result for us is the need to grow along with Apple and come to appreciate what the company is doing with the environment, health and privacy. The March 21st event crystalized those important issues. Apple's role in our society is emerging and standing for important things.

Mr. Cook also mentioned that this would be the last event in Apple's Town Hall on Infinite Loop. Future, major events would be held at Campus 2, when construction is completed. No doubt many who are invited to those future events will go just because they want to bask in the jazz of that new facility. However, if that leads them to drop into fan-boy mode and expect antics from Tim Cook, they'll be very disappointed.

Did you notice Tim Cook's choice of clothing? Blue, long-sleeved shirt and a dark sweater. That choice served to punctuate the atmosphere of the presentation. As they say in politics now, "the optics." 

Apple is still secretive. Apple must continue keep important corporate secrets from competitors. Apple will continue to surprise and delight its customers. But in the end, Chuq Von Rospach has nailed it.

Apple has reached Childhood's End.

Author note. It's been a hectic week, focused on all things Apple, and The News Debris folder isn't as full as it usually is. And so I'll end this week's edition here.


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro's observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed by a discussion of articles that didn't make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holidays.