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Cook Has Recipe for a New Apple

The last five generations of iPhone have been iterative (it finally got slightly taller), so have three generations of iPad and a mini (it got smaller); the core of iOS is the same as it was when unveiled nearly six years ago, Macs have got thinner and - with the advent of Retina Displays - more expensive. Meanwhile Mac OS X has seen point releases since March 2001. Even its feline naming tradition has become less ambitious: Cheetah (10.0) to Puma (.1) to Jaguar (.2) to Panther (.3) to Tiger (.4) to Leopard (.5) to Snow Leopard (.6) to Lion (.8) to Mountain Lion (.9). Mac OS 9 lasted 17 months, now 10 years on the idea of a Mac OS XI seems beyond radical.

OS X install discs

None of this is Apple's fault. Its revolutions are by necessity. The Mackintosh (1984), iPod (2001), iPhone (2007) and iPad (2010) all came at times when Apple either needed to reinvent its business model or capitalise on immature markets and it did so with unparalleled success. It was widely reported the iPhone 5 was the last product in which Jobs was directly involved and the landscape has already changed drastically since Jobs' reign. The Google Nexus 4, 7 and 10 are squeezing the margin out of smartphones and tablets and Microsoft is finally ready to throw billions at a mature smartphone operating system in the hope its licensing strategy can again repeat the dominance it achieved over Apple in the PC space.

Meanwhile Apple's last two quarters have missed market expectations and its stock price has fallen consistently even before the September announcement of the iPhone 5 and subsequent iPad Mini. It now sits at $595 a share at the start of November, down from a high of $702 in August. Furthermore, despite a big win over Samsung in the US courts, international copyright disputes are proving far less clear cut and, in some cases, embarrassing. The living room has already been called as the next major tech battle ground, a place where Microsoft has the Xbox 360 and Samsung the televisions, so the need for Apple's next revolution is fast approaching.

Which is once more where Scott Forstall comes in. Despite being the youngest Apple senior executive he represented the old Apple, an Apple which no longer fits in with humble public apologies, products with reduced profit margins and skeuomorph-free software design. Then again this is no easy-going, hippy Apple. What we are seeing is a company that is once more cracking down on complacency, the release of unfinished products that don't 'just work' and highlighting there is no hiding place for those accountable. It is also giving off the image of a famously smiley CEO who is finally stepping out of the shadows and putting his own stamp on proceedings. Cook has a recipe for a new Apple, only time will tell if it is the right one.

Hans Gruber

November 5, 2012, 2:44 am

Well, he's been successful in getting Apple's corporation tax bill down on foreign profits. Though perhaps the real credit should go to his accountants thanks to the existence of business incentive schemes offered by the likes of the Republic of Ireland and the Cayman Islands. 1.9% in corporation tax abroad, represents a tidy saving (from last year's 2.5%) when your foreign pre-tax profits are £23.0bn. Yum.

It's just a shame the 'rest of the world inc.' aren't doing quite so well though Apple is hardly alone in having good accountants and lawyers on their team. In the IT industry, Google and the likes of Facebook remain competitive with their own versions of Corporate Greed.



Apologies. Nothing revolutionary to see here. A real revolution would have to come about by challenging multinational corporations to real worldwide accountancy in the countries they do business in. We need to turn the system upside down. ;) Now hang me.


November 5, 2012, 11:09 am

"a Jonathan Ive lead opposition" - it's 'led", not "lead". For some reason the English language is inconsistent - "read" ([reed] - present tense) becomes "read" ([red] - past tense), whereas "lead" ([leed] - present tense) becomes "led" (past tense). To confuse matters, the metal lead (Pb) is pronounced like "led". Don't shoot me, I don't make the rules! But I do follow them, and writers for a commercial website should do the same.


November 5, 2012, 7:31 pm

Thought provoking stuff. Thanks.


November 5, 2012, 7:32 pm

Absolutely, but that is a whole different argument. A counterpoint would be that all these corporations operate within the tax laws, so is it their responsibility to pay more than they are legally required or is it the job of our politicians to close the loop holes...?

Martin Daler

November 6, 2012, 1:39 pm

Gordon, you are correct - it is for governments to set the rules of the game and to police the rules. But I think gvts can also 'leverage' public opinion to coerce businesses into abiding by the spirit of the rules as much as the letter. Businesses will always follow the money in the long term, if publicity can make it so that paying more tax is profitable then we all win.


November 14, 2012, 11:05 am

Clearly thought-provoking enough to inspire a facetious response but not to correct the article. It's not my fault your grasp of the English language is inadequate, particularly for a journalist.


November 14, 2012, 4:37 pm

Apologies. It shall be corrected.

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