Tim Cook's Apple is all about fashion

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Apple has changed quite a bit since Tim Cook took over the helm after the passing of Steve Jobs in 2011.

The two CEOs had distinct approaches to their products, and now that Cook has been in charge for almost four years, his style has become even clearer. But is Cook’s approach an improvement?

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Apple seems to be placing more of an emphasis on fashion under Cook, and I’m not just talking about the Apple Watch. Products are no longer restricted to the monochrome black, white, and silver of Jobs’ era; now, there’s also gold. The only time Jobs broke this color scheme was for the late 1990’s iMacs, but quickly switched back to gray for the later models.

The gold makes the products look less like simple devices and more like accessories. At the moment only the iPhone and iPad are available in gold, but the MacBooks will be coming out in the new color soon.

It also feels like the sense that Apple was always one step ahead of its competitors has diminished. There are plenty of smartphones and tablets out there to choose from, and while the iPhone and iPad still hold the same brand recognition, competitors have caught up. Samsung especially seems to be overtaking Apple, with its Galaxy line as well as already being on the second generation of Gear watches.

In comparison, Apple looks like it’s arriving late to the party with its smartwatch, making it look like it has begun following trends instead of setting them. The same could be said of the new larger phablet that is the iPhone 6 Plus and the new focus on fitness with the Apple Watch Sport and associated health and fitness apps.

Considering the Watch is the first entirely new product launched under Cook’s leadership, it makes one wonder if Jobs really was the key to the tech giant’s innovation in the past.

That said, some things have certainly changed for the better. In addition to its devices, Apple is also a leader in the digital entertainment world, with iTunes and Apple TV being leaders in providing downloadable and streamable content. Jobs’ relationship with Disney was well known, and Apple played a critical role in releasing Disney content digitally.

This month’s launch of HBO Now, which is available only on Apple devices until July, shows Cook is following suit, offering customers exclusive content. Those first three months are important ones for both companies, as Apple has just launched its Apple Watch and HBO just began airing the fifth season of the hit series Game of Thrones.

Fans of the show will certainly be enticed by the new HBO service, which could drive more to their local Apple Store. The fact that the partnership with HBO was announced at the same event as the Watch means this was no coincidence, and smart thinking on Cook’s part.

It’s true that the technology world has changed dramatically since Cook took over, making it hard to say whether anything would be different if Jobs were still alive.

Still, the question remains: is Apple still the market leader it once was or has it lost a step in the last four years? We’ll have to withhold judgment until we see what happens with the Watch, the success of which has yet to be determined.

Published under license from ITProPortal.com, a Net Communities Ltd Publication. All rights reserved.

14 Responses to Tim Cook's Apple is all about fashion

  1. barely_normal says:

    Articles of little import, such as this one, show why importing things from other places is more than a little silly, because the current crop of writers are fully capable of putting out useless drivel, with no additional help.

  2. Marvin Lee Tang says:

    Apple has been clearly NOT the innovator as we think of before and after Steve Jobs, before the MAC there were Xerox PARC, Before the iPod there were many Mp3's on the market such as Creative Jukeboxes, before the iPhone there were smartphones but it was way Smarter than others. even iPad. Windows has it's own Clunky device that has a Keyboard.

    But what sets them apart is that Apple has a taste for Simplicity and Design.

    • WP7Mango says:

      "But what sets them apart is that Apple has a taste for Simplicity and Design."

      Except that the Apple watch is an example of Apple delivering the exact opposite. It's NOT simple to use and it's not exactly great design either.

      So, to reword your statement in a more correct way...

      "But what sets them apart is that Apple has a taste for high profits with mediocre products, driven by a loyal fan base."

  3. BoltmanLives says:

    Tim Cook's Apple is beginning of the end.

    • Jurassic says:

      "Tim Cook's Apple is beginning of the end."

      Exactly!... The end of competitors being able to copy Apple as easily as they used to.

      One example: Apple has now become a semiconductor design powerhouse. It became the first company to put 64-bit processors (and 64-bit operating system & apps) in a smartphone, using its own designed A-series processors optimized for iOS. Since then Apple has also designed and produced its own S-series (for the Apple Watch), M-series, and its own SSD controllers.

      Another example: Apple's alliance with IBM is advancing mobile computing in business, industry, and government organizations.

      Another example: Apple now owns 93% of the profits of the entire mobile phone sector.

      Yes, I agree with you. "Tim Cook's Apple is beginning of the end."... But NOT for Apple!

      (͡° ͜ʖ°)

  4. mikhailovitch says:

    I really don't think you know much about Apple history. Apple has usually taken pre-existing trends, and produced something that was better. The smart phone, the tablet, and now the smart watch are classic cases.
    And Apple has almost always been into fashion, especially when Jobs was in charge. One of the criticisms most commonly made by reflexive Apple knockers, was that Apple was all style, no substance. If that's not being into fashion, what is?
    They are now using gold for one reason. It's not fashion driven in the sense that you were describing. They are expanding into what is potentially the largest market in the world, China. Culturally, gold is very important in China. Producing gold items is just excellent marketing for China, where gold iPhones hugely outsell the other models.
    Has it lost a step in the last four years? Not according to its growth, sales, or profits!

  5. n9yty says:

    My only problem has been that Apple is diverging from the past, in some ways significantly. What about the computer for the rest of us? You could say that in many ways they have left their core ideologies and target audiences. Now, it has been highly profitable for them and they continue to draw in lots of customers, so in the end one can argue it is good for Apple, at least financially. As we talk about the increasing dumbing down of societies, I guess it is good for them to provide things that don't require any level of knowledge to use, and are limited to do basically whatever it allows you to do. But that is quite simply not what I want from my products. But so it goes. Apple is changing, and your view of whether or not it is good or bad probably depends on what you want from Apple and their products. I would, for example, much prefer a little thicker, heavier, substantial laptop with more features than a slimed-down dumbed-down slower but svelte system. But we all have different needs/desires/wishes...

  6. I rate this article R

  7. RCS_hkt says:

    I think the headline should be "Jon Ive's Apple is all about fashion".
    Tim Cooks strength and focus has always been manufacturing, distribution and building a solid corporate structure. It was Jobs and Ive who set the design direction and Cook who translated it into realistic products that could be mass produced in huge quantities to dominate the market instead of remaining quirky products that were obsolete and superceeded by new models before production could be ramped up to meet demand. Now, with Jobs gone, it is Ive who calls the shots as far as new design trends like the Apple Watch go. Cook can try to keep him in check but I doubt either of them have Jobs' genius for being able to take existing products in the marketplace and reinventing them into something that excites people.

  8. JimmyHook says:

    Arriving too late? Lol. WSJ ran an article about Apple's engineering team making a watch. 6 months later Samsung's rushed watch is released, and it flopped harder than any product in the history of the human race. That isn't hyperbole. Apple, on the other hand, had the most profitable quarters in human history. Beat every company that has ever existed. Late? Behind? Wtf are you talking about? Seems to me that consumers have spoken. Samsung is failing as their sales plummet while Apple took 90 percent of mobile profit.

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