Tags: Apple | iPhone | Cook | Jobs

Apple Quiets the Naysayers — For Now

Monday, 23 Sep 2013 11:45 AM

By Jon Friedman

Apple answered its naysayers this weekend with blowout sales of its iPhone, selling 9 million units and reassuring investors that it would handsomely meet its quarterly projections. 
This is especially good news for all of the people who became multimillionaires, thanks to their good fortune and timing of owning Apple's stock, and now want nothing more than to become billionaires. Realtors in East Hampton and on Manhattan's Upper East Side no doubt collectively breathed a huge sigh of relief when they read all about Apple's sales prowess.
And if Mark Twain had been on the scene to record it for posterity, he might well have pointed out: Reports of Apple's demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Well, yes and no.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'm one of those naysayers, you see. From a historical sense, I mourned the death of Apple visionary Steve Jobs on Oct. 5, 2011 — nearly two years ago to the day — and questioned whether his much-scrutinized successor, Tim Cook — or anybody else, for that matter — could actually ever "replace" Jobs. 
Jobs, after all, came up with the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad, all remarkably successful computer products. As I have written, Jobs' greatest accomplishment was convincing well-heeled Yuppies (or Yuppie wannabes of other age groups) that these were gadgets that they couldn't live without, even if the folks didn't actually need them.
Yuppies love their toys, for sure, and Jobs understood that to a tee. And Jobs managed, every couple of years, to invent something stunning that nobody had ever imagined.
What does Tim Cook stand for? We really don't quite know yet. He seems to be a calm, capable leader who has garnered kudos on Wall Street, which is crucial to his ultimate success. When the money men and women say they support you, you've got a leg up.
Call me stodgy — or worse, I can take it — but I'm not yet 100 percent convinced that Cook is on the right track. Where are his signature Apple products? I wonder.
Is Cook going to be content to continue to market the products that Jobs made famous, with a wrinkle here and there to keep the public on the hook, instead of doing what Jobs did all along: inventing new products, challenging the marketplace, and succeeding in continuing his and Apple's brilliant image as a cutting-edge Silicon Valley juggernaut which understood the zeitgeist like nobody else.
Other companies were "computer" companies. But Jobs' Apple was something much more — a money machine that actually made its customers feel happy. That is quite remarkable.
Jobs' Apple sold status like nobody's business. So far, Tim Cook's Apple is more or less living lavishly off the crumbs of Jobs' genius.
Who are we to carp about it? This weekend, Cook's strategy worked 9 million times.
But as The Beatles — who also once upon a time used an Apple as its symbol — once noted: Tomorrow Never Knows. 
Jon Friedman writes the Media Matrix blog for Indiewire.com. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution." Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.

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