Tim Cook says that when Steve Jobs picked him to be CEO, Jobs said, “I never want you to ask what I would have done. Just do what’s right.”
This is a great quote, and a great guiding principle, but is really true?
For the most part, Apple today feels the same as it did when Jobs was alive and running the company. It still has, essentially, the same products at the same prices. It still has the same focus on, um, focus, and simplicity.
But below the surface, Cook has indeed followed Jobs’ advice, and he has changed the company to fit his idea of what is right. We’ve assembled some of the biggest moves Cook has made as CEO to illustrate the changes.
Reportedly, Apple had another year with Google Maps, but decided to move early to break up with Google. Apple launched its own maps, and it didn't go so well. Tim Cook had to apologise to consumers, and recommend other applications.
Apple introduced the iPad Mini, made the iPhone screen bigger, and is reportedly going to make the iPhone even bigger this fall.
These aren't huge changes, but the iPad Mini in particular is interesting because Steve Jobs once went on a rant about how small tablets are garbage. The iPad Mini is a little bigger than the typical 7-inch Android tablet, but it's still small compared with the bigger iPad. Apple was willing to ignore what Jobs said to expand its tablet line.
This is the biggest thing Cook has done as CEO. He chose Jony Ive to be the creative force that guides Apple. Scott Forstall was the lead engineer for iPhone and iPad software. He, with Jobs, created the look and feel of those devices' software. But, he was reportedly a political personality and didn't get along with other executives. Cook decided to push him out, and gave Ive control over the look and feel of the iPhone.
As a result, of Jony Ive taking over, Apple's iPhone and iPad software look different. Instead of shaded, rounded bubbly icons that mimic real life, we have smoother, flatter, more distinct designs for each device. This same design is coming to the Mac this year.
Last year Cook was on the cover of Bloomberg Businessweek with Apple's lead designer Jony Ive, and lead software engineer, Craig Federighi. Additionally, Federighi and Ive did interviews with USA Today. And at the end of the month, Federighi and Eddy Cue will be on stage at the Code conference. In the Steve Jobs era, only Steve Jobs got magazine covers. And rarely did any executives other than Steve Jobs speak with the media.
This hasn't gone through yet, but it sure seems like it's going to happen soon. And even if doesn't happen, Apple is at least in talks to do it. This is a dizzying change. For one thing, it's the biggest acquisition Apple has ever made. For another, it would likely be a sub brand. Apple has only had one brand -- Apple. Now it will have Beats and Apple.
Putting aside the giant Beats Audio acquisition, under Tim Cook, Apple has quietly become very acquisitive. In the past 18 months, Cook says Apple has bought 24 companies. Most of them are small and fit a unique purpose. For instance, it bought a few transit mapping companies, which should improve Apple Maps.
The Mac Pro is now being manufactured in the United States. It's not the most popular Apple computer, but it's a step in the right direction for people that want to see more manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
Jobs took care of shareholders by making Apple's stock fly to the moon. Cook has overseen an appreciation in Apple's share price, too, but he's done more than that for shareholders. He has approved an unprecedented $US130 billion share buyback, and implemented a dividend.
Tim Cook's first major hire as CEO was Jon Browett. Browett led Apple's retail operations for just nine months. Last year, he hired Angela Ahrendts, the CEO of Burberry, to lead retail. She started this month, and comes with high praise, and high expectations.
This will be a major change for Apple. Cotton helped shape the narrative around Apple for years. Apple's excellent products and brilliant CEO made Cotton's job easier, but she deserves a lot of credit for turning Apple into one of the most respected companies in the world. Without her around, Cook will have to find his own person to lead Apple's communications efforts, and guide the story of Apple.
NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.