20 February 2019
Changes happening at Apple Inc. under chief executive Tim Cook probably wouldn't have happened if Steve Jobs were still alive. Photo: Bloomberg
Changes happening at Apple Inc. under chief executive Tim Cook probably wouldn't have happened if Steve Jobs were still alive. Photo: Bloomberg

Apple a different animal under Cook

If Steve Jobs were alive today, the iPhone 6 might never see the light of day.

The wraps will come off the latest iteration of Apple Inc.’s flagship product tomorrow — and that’s a story for another day — but the iPhone 6, with 4.7 and 5.5-inch screens, would be too big to his liking.

“No one’s going to buy that,” the Apple visionary insisted of phones that were so big “you can’t get your hand around it”. For Jobs 3.5-inch was the optimal size.

But Tim Cook, who became Apple chief executive a few months before Jobs’ death in October 2011, obviously has come round to the fact that Apple had been snoozing while Samsung was building for itself a whole new market of big smartphones.

Cook is even ramping up iPad sizes. He is hoping a 12.9-inch device will reverse a slide in tablet sales.

As if this departure isn’t bad enough, more changes are happening on Cook’s watch that wouldn’t have happened under Jobs.

In July, Apple and IBM inked a deal that will bring IBM enterprise software to iPhones and iPads and IBM customers will be able to access Apple mobile hardware and service. Sounds like a win-win deal.

Under Cook, widely respected as a brilliant manager, Apple has become more cooperative with other companies — if the end justifies the means.

The partnership is “a radical step for enterprise and something that only Apple and IBM can deliver”, said Cook, who actually started his career at IBM.

Would Jobs countenance such a partnership?

“Over my dead body.” Well, he didn’t say that but you get the drift.

His nemesis IBM was an emotional baggage — like a chip on his shoulder — that went back three decades.

Back then, Apple was under siege.

The IBM personal computer was the industry standard and virtually every other PC was IBM compatible.

Apple (the computer) had become obsolete.

In the face of Big Blue, little Apple (the company) could only bring out the Mackintosh, “the computer for the rest of us”.

Strange bedfellows, Apple and IBM.

And Jobs must be turning in his grave with Cook having put paid to another no-no.

In 2012, Apple said it will spend US$45 billion on dividends and share buybacks, putting some of its ever-growing cash pile to good use.

The last time shareholders received dividends was in 1995. That’s a 17-year wait for a payout.

It was something Jobs was loath to do, believing that dividends would not add value to the company for shareholders.

He would rather hoard cash for a rainy day, seeing how the company he co-founded was struggling when he returned to Apple in 1996.

So ramping up device sizes, building its enterprise market and paying dividends are but a few of the inevitable changes happening at Apple.

More changes can be expected, never mind that Cook had told employees when he took the helm “Apple is not going to change”.

Cook is managing Apple his way and trying to step out of Jobs’ shadow.

Apple is a different animal today.

Related stories:

Telcos signing up customers for iPhone 6

iPhone 6 fakes to land in China ahead of the real thing

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