The taller, thinner and lighter phone prompted
a rush on Wall Street to raise price targets for Apple stock, but the
optimism was not because of a big technological advance or design
breakthrough; the "wow" factor that was the trademark of the late Apple
co-founder Jobs was decidedly absent.
it was the speed of the global launch that astounded, validating the
new CEO's much-touted wizardry at the essential but unglamorous task of
managing a supply chain.
positively surprised regarding the pace of the rollout, since we had
expected a bigger impact from component constraints," Barclays analyst
Ben Reitzes said.
By next Friday,
the iPhone 5 will be in 31 countries, and will be in 100 by the end of
the calendar year. That would be 30 more than the rollout of the
predecessor phone, the 4S, over a similar period, Jeffries analyst Peter
That means Apple
has worked out supply constraints and inked deals now with 240
carriers. It will get enough phones out the door in the next 10 days to
have a material effect on earnings.
skills fit the time period and the flow of product," said Raymond
Miles, professor emeritus at Haas School of Business, University of
California, Berkeley, adding that Apple may be at a stage where it needs
"someone with a production vision."
iPhone launch offers some other, subtler indications of how Apple is
changing under Cook. In public events, Jobs stood out in his black
turtleneck, and performed carefully crafted one-man stage shows. At the
press event for the iPhone 5, Cook blended into a pack of executives all
sporting a uniform of jeans and untucked casual dress shirt.
one might say that practical, low-flash, but high-impact actions are
emerging as the Cook trademark. He has introduced a dividend to pay out
part of the more than $100 billion cash stockpile, raised salaries for a
rabidly loyal but low-paid workforce in the Apple stories, and sped up
Under Cook, more
Wall Street analysts have been invited to headquarters to talk to
executives, particularly Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer and
head of Internet services Eddy Cue. Cook himself addressed investors at a
Goldman Sachs conference, a rarity for Apple executives, and initiated
investigations into allegations of labor abuse in its supply chain.
APPLE MAPS PROBLEMS
say he is a refreshing presence after the prickly Jobs, who was admired
but feared. Cook is also known for his ability to track vast amount of
data and zero in on a critical parameter.
person familiar with the CEO notes that under Cook, the company has
continued to rapidly increase its revenue, retain all the senior
executives, maintain its product rollout schedule and avoid huge
On the flip side, the
imbroglio over the sub-par mapping software in the iPhone 5 suggests
that Jobs' obsessive perfectionism and attention to user experience is
already being missed.
which offers soaring 'flyover' views of major cities, has displaced
Google Maps on the new iPhone software. But the new program has no
public transit directions, limited traffic information, and flat-out
mistakes, such as putting one city in the middle of the ocean.
made this maps change despite its shortcomings because they put their
own priorities for corporate strategy ahead of user experience," said
Anil Dash, a widely followed technology pundit, reflecting widespread
annoyance and consternation.
would have put the whole company to work on the problem, as each
negative review of the widely used feature would have irked him, said
the person familiar with Apple's inner workings. The issue facing Cook
now is how fast he reacts to the Maps problem and how quickly it gets
fixed, the person said.
himself allowed email synchronization software MobileMe to launch in
2008, to deadly reviews. Fortune magazine reported Jobs telling the
entire development group, "You should hate each other for having let
each other down" and immediately replaced the group's head.
CEO, not even Steve Jobs, would be able to catch all the problems in
every new feature of a new complicated product, like the iPhone 5," said
Harvard Business School professor David Yoffie. "The big question is
how will Tim respond now?"
broadly, there is also the question of whether Apple under Cook can
produce products that are revolutionary rather than evolutionary. His
products thus far - the iPhone, the new iPod line and an expected iPad
mini - represent improvements, rather than game changers.
the meantime, Cook is topping Jobs' sales record: IPhone 5 preorders
hit 2 million in 24 hours, twice the level of the 4S, and analysts
expect a smaller iPad mini in October.
do not seem to need much more convincing about Cook's ability to
captain the ship: the average price target for Apple stock is now $763,
up 6 percent from a month ago, thanks to analysts raising targets in the
wake of the "wow-less" launch event.
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