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Apple after Jobs | Standard Business News



After Steve: How Apple became a trillion dollar company and lost its soul


author: Trip Michael




publisher: William Morrow


price: $29.99


Pages: 495

Between 2001 and 2010, Apple launched the iPod, iPhone, MacBook Air, and iPad; Each of them redefined their product category. Of these, the iPhone was the most important. Its apparent supremacy forced every other company selling expensive phones to copy Apple’s design or its collapse (Nokia, BlackBerry and Palm were all destroyed within years).

Apple co-founder and spirit of animation, Steve Jobs, passed away in 2011, leaving the company in the hands of Joni Ive, a British-born fashion designer, and Tim Cook, an Alabama native who became an expert in supply chains and production costs. After Steve, before The Wall Street Journal Reporter Trip Mikhel covers the careers of Eve and Cook, and how they and the company have changed after taking the job.

The book traces the evolution and end of the partnership, including a brief review of public sources and more than 200 interviews with current and former Apple employees and consultants; The character set spans four pages. Some of this technology comes in response to Apple’s “omertà culture” – apparently, neither Cook nor I agreed to speak to the author for attribution.

Both men helped save the sinking Apple of the 1990s — he first oversaw the design of a new line of computers with clear candy-colored cases. When the iMac was launched in 1998, Jobs unveiled Eve’s creativity by pulling a sheet of it out, as if it were a sculpture, saying, “It looks like it’s from another planet, a good planet with better designers.” The eye-catching iMacs improved the overall perception of the company, employee morale and the bottom line all at once. Apple saved. Now he just had to grow.

That same year, Jobs hired Cook to reformulate Apple’s inefficient product line. Cook, who previously ran the supply chain for Compaq, was known for being demanding and detail-oriented. When his employees presented a plan to increase inventory turnover from 25 times a year to 100 to save money on “damaged parts,” Cook quietly asked, “How are you going to get to a thousand?” Joe O’Sullivan, who was running the operations upon Cook’s arrival, said, “I saw grown men crying. … He got into a level of detail that was exceptional.”

However, striving for perfection is not enough to create a great product. After Jobs’ death, various home automation systems, healthcare devices, self-driving cars, televisions, and headphones were explored, some of which were launched. But for most of the remainder of Ive’s tenure, the focus of Apple’s work — and thus in Meikle’s book — will be the Apple Watch.

Apple’s wealth ensured Eve’s luxury. The leather for the wristband was sourced from tanneries all over Europe; Countless hours have been poured into the design and manufacture of the custom winding crown. Determined from the start to make expensive versions, I ordered – and got – a new 18 karat alloy that was twice as durable as regular gold.

As Ive gains more control than it did on the iPhone, the watch is transforming from a useful display on your wrist to a fashion object. Meetings with Vogue Editor Anna Wintour, a product event in Paris and $17,000 model creation combined with progressively lower expectations for health tracking and battery life. By the time it finally launched and sales were below expectations, the reader saw it coming, one decision at a time.

In turn, Cook is faced with a series of events. He was called to Congress because of taxes. He had to apologize for the poor performance in the earliest iteration of Apple Maps. In 2014, Cook made history at Bloomberg Businessweek, writing, “Although I’ve never denied my sexuality, I have yet to publicly admit it. So let me be clear: I’m proud of being gay, and I consider being gay. Being gay is among the greatest gifts God has given me.” He was the first Fortune 500 CEO to come out. And of course in 2018, he became the first leader of a trillion-dollar public company. Then two trillion. Then three.

Michael builds a dense, textured mosaic of the company’s trials and triumphs, and shows us how Apple, which built on Ive’s successes in the 2000s, became Cook’s in 2010. Long-time knighted Ive is increasingly intrigued. With opportunities outside of Apple, going part-time in 2015. Finally, in 2019, Eve left for good.

In the epilogue, Mikkel abandons his reporter’s breakup to allocate responsibility for the company’s failure to launch another transformative product. In the end, the sense that the two missed the opportunity to create a worthy successor to the iPhone is palpable.

It is also remarkable, and the best proof of this is the previous four hundred pages. It is true that after the death of Jobs, Apple did not produce another device as important as the iPhone, but Apple did not produce another important device before his death either. It’s also true that Cook didn’t play the CEO role as Jobs did, but no one thought he could, including Jobs, who on his deathbed advised Cook to never ask what Steve would do: “Just do what’s right.”

What happened after Steve was that Cook’s greatest opportunity was in Apple’s future, and Ive’s future in her past. When Next Big Thing turned services — iCloud, Apple Music, and the App Store — built on top of the Last Big Thing, Cook adapted brilliantly. He took Jobs’ advice and did what was right, but in ways that put less of the work that I was better at. The moral of this story is that there is no moral.



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