OK, what have they “loosened up about”? Do tell.
It is too early to tell whether Apple has loosened up or letting things slip through the cracks. The iPhone 4S, the only product to come post-Jobs, is built off of a strong predecessor. Apple still has solid supply chain management, a great foothold in the apps/music industry, and is dominating the tablet marketshare. This is the Apple we all know and expect.
The real question here is — what do we do when Apple fails our expectations? Every business — every. last. one. — undergoes transformations. With the loss of the iconic symbol of the company, there will be a great culture change. Whether this is in the form of a slacking in product design/production/execution remains to be seen, but there must be some differences in culture that are manifesting themselves. Some departments are probably taking the time to slack. Others are probably steam rolling right along. Will this affect what is grandly unveiled next year? Time will tell.
If you believe the Issascson portrait of Steve Jobs, then you would expect the former CEO to be on top of every last sector of the company. But, we know this is unrealistic — no CEO can be aware of everything in a company. This is why the chain of command exists and has worked. So, Tim Cook is likely leading Apple exactly the same way: hearing from VPs, and making some important strategy decisions. But, he probably has different focuses. Here are some other events that have occurred in the Tim Cook era:
- Apple publicly disclosed a number to meet as a target for Q4 sales — which has never occurred according to MG.
- iPhone 4S supply chain issues are rippling in the industry.
- Apple began a charitable match program.
- Apple augmented their retail experience to make it easier to buy their stuff.
With these events in mind, it is easy to see how Tim Cook’s agenda is playing a role in the way Apple runs — push product out and build the business. It’s what he was hired to do and what he will continue to do. The iPhone 5 and 15” Macbook Air design rumors have been floating around long before Steve’s passing. Nothing new has come about in terms of product, design, or vision.
I reiterate — these events as a lens do not paint a picture of failure. They do seem to suggest a change in focus that has ramifications. Tim Cook-ian Apple is so far as expected — calculated, mechanistic, and lucrative. Just because there is a focus on this aspect doesn’t mean a defocus in the areas Steve may have cared about. It just means more special emphasis on operations.
For now, the company is doing exactly what they should — stick with the game plan, and don’t fix what isn’t broken.