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Julie Tucker
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Tim Cook: The future of Apple

Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc, is leading the tech giant forward on some future products that he says will “blow you away”. The company is currently worth $205.5 billion (up 12% in 2019 from the previous year), making it the world’s most valuable brand, according to Forbes.

Cook, 59, took over as CEO on 24th August 2011, after Apple co-founder Steve Jobs stood down. With a Bachelor of Science in industrial engineering, Cook joined Apple as senior vice-president for worldwide operations in 1998. Previously, he had spent 12 years with IBM, ultimately becoming the director of North American fulfilment.

He was promoted to lead operations at Apple in January 2007 and served as chief executive in 2009, when Jobs was on a leave of absence for medical reasons. While working under Jobs, Cook was responsible for the majority of Apple’s day-to-day operations, while Jobs made the major decisions.

Apple’s success
Apple has enjoyed a meteoric rise, to become one of the world’s most influential tech brands since being founded in April 1976. Jobs met co-founder Steve Wozniak in 1971 – Jobs was still in high school, while Wozniak was at college.

They were introduced by a mutual friend, Bill Fernandez, who thought they would get along due to their love of electronics. Their first product was the Apple I computer, designed and built by Wozniak.

Over the years, Apple has expanded into many fields, including the Macintosh family of personal computers, the iPod, iPad, iPhone, Apple Watch, Apple TV, the HomePod smart speaker and its own software to run its devices.

Company reinvented
In the 1990s, Apple went into a decline, with revenue reportedly falling from $11 billion in 1995 to below $6 billion in 1998. Cook worked with Jobs for the better part of 12 years and their collaboration took the company to new heights of success.

Between them, they reinvented the company – Jobs by practically taking over the music industry with innovative and hugely successful products and Cook by streamlining operations, including the supply chain and facilities, all of which dramatically increased margins.

Under their leadership, the company rose from its slump of the 1990s to a remarkable $100 billion. This led to Time including Cook in its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world in April 2012, following Jobs’ untimely death, at the age of 56, from cancer in October 2011.

Major changes
Cook has continued Jobs’ legacy, making major changes to Apple’s executive team. The move was described in the media as being necessary because of “internal politics and dissent”. It was reported that Cook focused on building a harmonious culture, meaning he was intent on weeding out the employees with “disagreeable personalities” who had been tolerated while Jobs was CEO.

Cook is also turning Apple into an eco-friendly company. He made the headlines in February 2014 when he reportedly told shareholders to “get out of the stock” if they didn’t share the brand’s views on climate change and sustainability. He famously said, “It’s about finding your values and committing to them.”

His approach is paying dividends, since Apple has risen to the top of the tech industry. Cook admitted, “From the onset, I wanted to pour every ounce that I had in myself into the company.”

Future of Apple
Looking to the future of Apple, they are still known as the tech geniuses. At the company’s 2019 investors’ meeting, Cook told delegates that one of Apple’s key goals was to reduce the price of the 2018 Retina MacBook Air to make it more affordable.

While he didn’t go into detail with regard to the Apple Watch and the AirPods, he said there was a “long, great roadmap” of “fantastic” products looming. Rumours suggest that AirPods will be available in new colours and with new functionality, such as support for “Hey Siri” and a wireless charging function. More ambitious products are also rumoured to be on the horizon, including a pair of augmented reality smart glasses and a self-driving vehicle.

According to a speculative report in the Sydney Morning Herald, Apple wishes to begin producing its electric car as soon as 2020. The report claimed Apple had already begun reaching out to electric automobile engineers and battery development engineers from companies such as Panasonic, LG Chem, Samsung Electronics, Toshiba and Tesla Motors in a recruitment drive.

Cook said Apple was well on the way to meeting its goal (set in 2016) of doubling its $25 billion revenue by 2020. The company’s latest products currently lined up in the services category include a new streaming television service and an Apple News service, accessing subscription news sites and magazines.

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Image © John Gress Media Inc / Shutterstock.com

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