Cook Takes centre Stage at IPhone 4S Event

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has big shoes to fill after Steve Jobs’ departure in August, but today’s announcement of the company’s iPhone 4S provided the new leader an opportunity to step into the limelight.

“This is my first product launch since being named CEO — I’m sure you didn’t know that,” Cook said upon taking the stage. “I love Apple and consider it the privilege of a lifetime to have worked here for 14 years and to assume this role.”

Today’s debut marks the first time that Cook, who was strongly recommended by Jobs to be his replacement, is running such an event for the tech giant.

After some initial comments, Cook regaled the audience with figures showing Apple’s success in the mobile market, including the tidbit that every state in the U.S. has schools either deploying or testing the iPad. In addition, the tablet is prevalent in 80 per cent of American hospitals and 92 per cent of Fortune 500 companies. In fact, Cook asserted, the iPad is the “undisputed” leader in the tablet world, accounting for every three out of four devices sold.

Overall, Cook said, Apple sold a whopping 250 million iOS devices since the original iPhone in 2007.

The CEO, who promised Apple will not change its culture during his tenure, is characterised by his peers as an excellent decision maker. The public may miss former CEO Job’s unique signature and visionary leadership, but much of Apple’s roadmap for the next five years has already been put in place.

Cook’s recounted how the company got to this highly anticipated event, using impressive numbers, and indicated he plans to continue building on that solid foundation, perhaps in emerging markets.

In his opening remarks at Tuesday’s event, Cook noted Apple opened two new stores in China — one in Hong Kong and one in Shanghai.

The Asian store openings underscore the company’s push to broker deals to bring the iPhone to China, where it aims to combat competitor Google’s Android in these and other emerging markets. The pressure is on Cook to successfully gain iOS market share in these countries or risk being criticised for letting the company slip under his watch.

Cook, who assumed the helm in late August with Apple’s board approval, has already filled in as CEO for Jobs three times during Jobs’ medical leaves, dating back to 2004.

This post originally appeared at Mobiledia.

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