Bloomberg: Jeff Williams is Second-Most Important Person at Apple, Operates Similar to Tim Cook

Last month, Apple announced that Jony Ive will be leaving Apple later this year to form an independent design company, with Apple among its primary clients. In turn, Apple indicated that its operations chief Jeff Williams will spend more of his time working with its design team in their studio.


Williams has long been considered a frontrunner to succeed Tim Cook as CEO of Apple, and with his expanded design-related oversight at Apple, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman believes he is "unambiguously the second-most important person at Apple" and first in line to succeed Cook when the time comes.

In line with his calm demeanor on stage at Apple events, Gurman notes that Williams has over the years distinguished himself as a modest, disciplined, and demanding leader, much more like Cook than Steve Jobs.

From the report:
"He's the closest thing at the company to Tim Cook, and you'll get more of that," a former senior Apple executive says of Williams. "If you think Cook is doing a good job, then it's a good choice."
Williams is considered to be slightly more hands-on with product development than Cook, however, as evidenced by his leadership of the Apple Watch team since its inception. Williams is also said to attend weekly reviews of product and industrial design progress and brief Cook on the discussions.

Gurman:
Williams now oversees the development of all Apple hardware products, holding weekly meetings to gauge their progress. Although the process is formally called NPR, or New Product Review, some employees call this the "Jeff Review." During the development of the AirPods, some of them noticed that Williams continued wearing Apple's wired headphones instead of the new product. Williams wasn't yet happy with the fit of the wireless model.
The big question mark with Ive's impending departure is whether Apple will remain innovative. Critics will argue that Apple has already become complacent under Cook, and with Williams having a similar operations-focused approach, the narrative is that Apple might falter without a Jobs-era visionary.

From the report:
"One doesn't necessarily need a visionary as CEO of Apple as long as there's a visionary in the company that the CEO can work with," says Michael Gartenberg, a former Apple marketing executive. "Tim Cook had Jony Ive. The question is, with Ive gone, who is the visionary at the company that can guide the next big thing?"
Depending on how involved Ive remains with Apple through his independent design firm, that might not be a concern for several more years to come. Apple has also more than doubled its market value under Cook, so any concerns that Apple has fallen behind in the post-Jobs era are arguably overblown.

It's worth noting that there is no sign that Cook plans to step down any time soon. Williams, 56, is also less than three years younger than Cook.


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Steve Jobs Criticized Tim Cook as ‘Not a Product Person,’ Says Biographer Walter Isaacson

"Steve Jobs" biographer Walter Isaacson was on Squawk Box this week, and in an interview he mentioned that he "softened" parts of the book when it came to certain Jobs quotes (via CNBC).


Particularly, Jobs was said to have criticized current Apple CEO Tim Cook for not being a "product person." According to Isaacson, "Steve says how Tim Cook can do everything, and then he looked at me and said, 'Tim's not a product person.'"

Isaacson said that he wanted to soften certain things that he thought were too harsh in his biography of Steve Jobs. The book first launched in October 2011, just 19 days after Jobs died from pancreatic cancer.
“Sometimes when Steve was in pain ... and he was angry, he would say more things that [Cook] was not a product person,” recalled Isaacson. “I felt I would put in the specific things that were relevant to the reader but not the complaints.”
Cook was also mentioned in a recent piece by The Wall Street Journal, which focused on Jony Ive, who reportedly became "dispirited" because of Cook's lack of interest in the product development process. Ive announced that he will leave Apple later this year and start his own design studio, with Apple as one of its primary clients.


Isaacson has been critical of Apple as a whole in the past, believing in 2014 that Amazon and Google had overtaken Apple to become the most innovative technology companies of the modern day. At the time, he specifically referenced virtual assistants as a space where Apple needed improvement.

Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs went on to be the basis for Aaron Sorkin's screenplay of the Danny Boyle-directed film "Steve Jobs." The film was well received by critics, earning four Golden Globe Award nominations and two Academy Award nominations.


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Apple CEO Tim Cook to Receive ‘Champion Award’ for His Ongoing Commitment to LGBTQ Rights

GLSEN, an organization dedicated to creating safe and inclusive K-12 schools for LGBTQ youth, has announced that Apple CEO Tim Cook will receive its "Champion Award" for his ongoing commitment to fighting for LGBTQ rights. The awards ceremony will take place on October 25 at the Beverly Wilshire hotel in Los Angeles.


Cook provided the following statement:
I am grateful to GLSEN for this honor and for all their work to ensure the LGBTQ community is treated with dignity and respect. At Apple, our commitment to inclusion helps us do our best work, each and every day. Innovation depends on openness to new ideas, a culture of curiosity and a climate free from shame and stigma — that's true not only true for Apple, I believe it's true for everyone.
Since becoming CEO, Cook has strongly pushed for inclusion and diversity, which Apple refers to as its "greatest strength" on its website. "To create products that serve everyone, we believe in including everyone."

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Tim Cook Talks Privacy, Steve Jobs, and the ‘Difference Between Preparation and Readiness’ in Stanford Commencement Address

Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered the commencement address at Stanford University today, sharing his thoughts on privacy, the need to always "be a builder," and how the loss of Steve Jobs made him learn the "real, visceral difference between preparation and readiness."


On the subject of privacy, Cook acknowledged that so many of our modern technological inventions have come out of Silicon Valley, but that recent years have seen "a less noble innovation: the belief that you can claim credit without accepting responsibility."

Cook stressed the importance of not accepting that we must give up privacy in order to enjoy advances in technology, arguing that there's much more at stake than just our data.
If we accept as normal and unavoidable that everything in our lives can be aggregated, sold, or even leaked in the event of a hack, then we lose so much more than data.

We lose the freedom to be human.

Think about what’s at stake. Everything you write, everything you say, every topic of curiosity, every stray thought, every impulsive purchase, every moment of frustration or weakness, every gripe or complaint, every secret shared in confidence.

In a world without digital privacy, even if you have done nothing wrong other than think differently, you begin to censor yourself. Not entirely at first. Just a little, bit by bit. To risk less, to hope less, to imagine less, to dare less, to create less, to try less, to talk less, to think less. The chilling effect of digital surveillance is profound, and it touches everything.

What a small, unimaginative world we would end up with. Not entirely at first. Just a little, bit by bit. Ironically, it’s the kind of environment that would have stopped Silicon Valley before it had even gotten started.

We deserve better. You deserve better.

Image credit: L.A. Cicero/Stanford University

Shifting focus to the aspirations of today's graduates, Cook encouraged each of them to "be a builder," regardless of their chosen occupation.
You don’t have to start from scratch to build something monumental. And, conversely, the best founders – the ones whose creations last and whose reputations grow rather than shrink with passing time – they spend most of their time building, piece by piece.

Builders are comfortable in the belief that their life’s work will one day be bigger than them – bigger than any one person. They’re mindful that its effects will span generations. That’s not an accident. In a way, it’s the whole point. [...]

Graduates, being a builder is about believing that you cannot possibly be the greatest cause on this Earth, because you aren’t built to last. It’s about making peace with the fact that you won’t be there for the end of the story.
Finally, Cook turned his speech to the topic of Steve Jobs, who famously stood on the same stage 14 years ago to give the commencement address.

Cook related the story of his conviction that Jobs would recover from his cancer, even as he handed the reins of Apple over to Cook. Drawing from what he learned in those dark days, Cook emphasized that "your mentors may leave you prepared, but they can't leave you ready."

Calling it the "loneliest I've ever felt in my life," Cook reflected on feeling the heavy expectations of those around him, noting that he eventually he realized he needed "be the best version" of himself and not let those around him and their expectations dictate his life.
Graduates, the fact is, when your time comes, and it will, you’ll never be ready.

But you’re not supposed to be. Find the hope in the unexpected. Find the courage in the challenge. Find your vision on the solitary road.

Don’t get distracted.

There are too many people who want credit without responsibility.

Too many who show up for the ribbon cutting without building anything worth a damn.

Be different. Leave something worthy.

And always remember that you can’t take it with you. You’re going to have to pass it on.
Today's speech at Stanford was just one of several commenencement addresses Cook has given in recent years, including Tulane University just last month, as well as his graduate alma mater Duke University last year, MIT in 2017, George Washington University in 2015, and his undergraduate alma mater Auburn University in 2010.


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Tim Cook Says Apple ‘Should be Scrutinized’ But Disputes Claims Company is a Monopoly

Apple CEO Tim Cook believes that when it comes to big business, scrutiny is a good thing, but he has denied claims that Apple is a monopoly.


In an extended interview with CBS News, Cook said that because of Apple's size he thought it was "fair" to scrutinize its business practices, but the CEO pushed back hard against claims that the company had a dominant position in any market.

Apple has recently become the target of regulator inquiries and class action lawsuits that have variously questioned its business practices. In the United States, for example, the Supreme Court recently ruled that a class action accusing Apple of operating an App Store monopoly can proceed to trial in a lower court.

Asked about Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign and her position that Apple should break up its App Store and other parts of its business, Cook said:
I strongly disagree with that. I think some people would argue, if you are selling a good, then you can't have a product that competes with that good. And I-- I think that's part of what is being argued there. But that-- that's an argument that takes you down the path that, Walmart shouldn't be stocking alternative or house brand. And so this is decades of-- of-- U.S. law here. But I think scrutiny is good, and we'll tell our story to anybody that we need to or that-- that wants to hear it. I-- I feel very confident in-- in our position.
Cook went on to underline the company's user-centric position and claimed that when it comes to privacy and fake news, "we're on the user's side," which is why it curates content on its stores and services.

Asked whether he thought Facebook is an amplifier for fake news, Cook said that he worried about any platform that delivered news in a feed and relied on algorithms to differentiate genuine journalism from fake news.
I don't really believe personally that A.I. has the power today to differentiate between what is fake and what is not. And so I worry about any property that today pushes news in a feed. What we do with Apple News product is we pick top stories, we have people doing it. And so I do worry about people thinking like machines. Not machines thinking like people.
Cook's extended interview covered several other topics, including the potential impact of Chinese tariffs on Apple, his relationship with President Trump, and current U.S. administration polices. You can watch the full interview above and read the full transcript here.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.


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Apple CEO Tim Cook Promotes New Statue of Liberty Augmented Reality App

Apple CEO Tim Cook this afternoon encouraged his Twitter followers to check out the new Statue of Liberty augmented reality app for iOS, which was conceptualized by Diane von Fürstenberg to celebrate the launch of the Statue of Liberty Museum this Thursday.

According to the Vogue article on the app, it was created by the Statue of Liberty Foundation and Yap Studio. Its creation took more than a year of scanning and photography, and it offers up a time-lapse view from the statue's eyes, a look inside of it, and a time-lapse of how the color changed over time.


The main feature, though, is several 3D models of the Statue of Liberty that can be projected into your own home. There's a full-size model plus close-ups of the torch and the Statue's foot.


The app is designed to help visitors to the museum and those who are viewing from home understand the construction and the detail of the Statue of Liberty, thanks to augmented reality. Apple was one of the donors of the project after Diane von Fürstenberg connected Tim Cook and the Statue of Liberty Foundation.

"I met Tim Cook from Apple, and discovered first of all that he had never been to Liberty Island, so I arranged for him to go," DvF revealed. "Not even knowing what I was talking about, I said, 'Wouldn't it be wonderful to give people an Apple experience when they go on the Island?' I met the people who do apps and we started, not knowing where it would all end up. The foundation created this app that will reach hundreds of millions of people. It will be the biggest opening of a museum ever!"
Apple execs, including Tim Cook, have continually touted the capabilities of augmented reality and its potential to change the world, and the Statue of Liberty app is one example that could inspire other museums and historical sites to take on similar projects.
"Augmented reality really lets you place literal objects and experience into the real world around you," DvF said. "It allows you to learn about the statue and the experience. You can place the Statue of Liberty in a class room or a living room; it's available in the Apple store in 155 countries, and with one billion devices in peoples' hands, our museum experience goes from New York to the globe!"
There's also a new "Raising the Torch" podcast, and von Fürstenberg says that a documentary about the Statue of Liberty will be released later this year. The podcast will feature different historians discussing the Statue's historical context and past.

The Statue of Liberty app can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


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Apple CEO Tim Cook: ‘I Don’t Think a Four-Year Degree is Necessary to Be Proficient at Coding’

Earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook visited an Apple Store in Orlando, Florida to meet with 16-year-old Liam Rosenfeld, one of 350 scholarship winners who will be attending Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference next month.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, left, and WWDC 2019 scholar Liam Rosenfeld via TechCrunch

Echoing comments he shared with the Orlando Sentinel, Cook told TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino that it is "pretty impressive" what Rosenfeld is accomplishing with code at such a young age, serving as a perfect example of why he believes coding education should begin in the early grades of school.
"I don't think a four year degree is necessary to be proficient at coding" says Cook. "I think that's an old, traditional view. What we found out is that if we can get coding in in the early grades and have a progression of difficulty over the tenure of somebody's high school years, by the time you graduate kids like Liam, as an example of this, they're already writing apps that could be put on the App Store."
Cook made similar comments during an American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meeting at the White House earlier this year.

While in Florida, Cook attended a conference that saw SAP and Apple announce an expanded partnership focused on new enterprise apps taking advantage of technologies like machine learning and augmented reality.

Despite all of the technological advancements in recent years, Cook told Panzarino that many businesses have not "changed a whole lot" and are "still using very old technology." With more solutions like those from SAP and Apple, and tech-savvy employees of the future like Rosenfeld, that could change.
"I think what it is is they haven't embraced mobility. They haven't embraced machine learning. They haven't embraced AR. All of this stuff is a bit foreign in some way. They're still fixing employees to a desk. That's not the modern workplace," Cook says. "People that graduate from high school and get a little experience under their belt can do quite well in this job."
The full interview can be read on TechCrunch with an Extra Crunch subscription or in the Apple News app with an Apple News+ subscription.

WWDC 2019 begins June 3 in San Jose.

Related Roundup: WWDC 2019

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Apple CEO Tim Cook Visits Florida Apple Store and Meets WWDC Scholar

Apple CEO Tim Cook today visited the Mall at Millenia Apple Store in Orlando, Florida, where he met up with 16-year-old Liam Rosenfeld, one of the WWDC scholars who will be attending Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference this June.

Cook was in Florida for an event that saw SAP and Apple announce an expanded partnership focused on new enterprise apps taking advantage of technologies like machine learning and AR. Cook apparently visited the Apple Store after the conference.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Cook had a short chat with Rosenfeld, who called the meeting "an amazing surprise."


Rosenfeld runs a coding club at his high school, and he's created an app that coverts images into ASCII, plus he has two additional apps in the works. Cook said that the teenager had impressed him.
"He has a quality that I think is on a short list of characteristics that drive success, and that is curiosity," said Cook, after talking with Liam about the creation of the coding club.
Cook went on to say that WWDC scholarships provide Apple with a way to contribute to the growing need for a tech workforce.
"You need public, private, non-governmental organizations working together because this is not a trivial transformation that needs to happen here," he said. "We have an obligation. We are fortunate to have had some success."
Apple offered 350 scholarships to students and STEM organization members for WWDC 2019. Each scholarship includes a free WWDC ticket, free accommodations in San Jose, California, near the McEnery Convention Center, and a free one-year membership to Apple's developer program.

WWDC is set to kick off on June 3 with a keynote where Apple is expected to unveil the next-generation versions of iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.


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Apple CEO Tim Cook on Privacy: ‘We Very Much Are on Your Side’

At the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder conference this weekend, Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down for an interview with CNBC's Becky Quick, and that interview aired this morning on Squawk Box.

During the discussion, Cook covered topics like Warren Buffett's Apple investments, Apple's company mission, how Apple runs, internal debate topics, privacy, acquisitions, and more.


Cook said that when he heard that Warren Buffett invested in Apple stock, he said he thought to himself "Wow, this is really cool." An investment from "the ultimate long-term investor" is an "honor and a privilege," Cook said. "I mean, wow, it's Warren Buffett is investing the company. And yeah, so, it felt great."

Buffett's decision to invest in Apple meant that he viewed it as a consumer company, not a technology company because Buffett doesn't invest in tech companies he doesn't understand. Cook says that while Apple is in the tech industry, the consumer is the company's focus. "We think technology should be in the background, not the foreground," said Cook. Cook went on to reiterate something that he's said many times before - Apple's goal is to enrich people's lives.
Our mission is to make the best products in the world in those areas which we choose to participate that enrich people's lives. And so, if we can't make the best product, we don't go in. If we can make a great product but it doesn't help anybody, it doesn't enrich their life, then we're not going to go into that either. And so that's a pretty narrow funnel then because you're working on a few things. And we know in order to do them at the quality level we want to do them, we can only do a few.
Apple is a large company, but Cook says that in "some ways," it's "like a big startup." Apple is organized, but teams work together on projects and are "empowered to come up with new things." Apple has a "heavy debate culture" where the best ideas are debated. "And then we choose the best of the best to decide what to spend our time on," said Cook.

Apple employees debate on trends, new technologies, features, and categories to enter or not enter. One "healthy debate" was when Apple entered into the smart watch business.
A very healthy debate. And about what it could eventually do for people. And how much emphasis to place on the health and fitness side of that. You know, where to put the the relative balance. You could imagine, there's an incredible set of features in the watch just to do things like curate when you're interrupted, and people are now taking calls on them. And sort of the- the things that you would think is part and parcel to the iPhone, but in a curated manner. And- or you could, to put the emphasis on fitness and health, and so forth. And we've elected to do some of this, in a great way.
Cook said that he himself has always believed that to enrich someone's life, wellbeing is in the "top two or three," and he went on to speak about the importance of democratizing access to health features like the ECG in the Apple Watch Series 4. "Things like this, these are profound things," said Cook.

Privacy comes up in almost all interviews with Cook, and the CNBC interview was no exception. Cook said that privacy is "foundational" to the way that Apple runs, because Apple "works for the consumer." Cook said that Apple feels a "level of responsibility" to protect everything on your phone because of the depth of information that it contains.
But we don't want to use you as our product. And we just have a fundamental issue with doing that. And we've always thought that the building of a detailed profile about your life could result in tragic things. Whether it's a breach of your own privacy or something where the data itself could be used in a nefarious way. And so, we've never thought it was right to do it, and we've always thought that you owned it.
Cook went on to say that he's frustrated tech is seen as monolithic, lumping Apple in with other companies like Facebook. "We don't traffic in your data," said Cook. "We very much are on your side. We also curate our platform."

Pivoting to acquisitions, Cook said that Apple has purchased 20 to 25 companies over the course of the last six months or so, purchasing a company "every two to three weeks." Some of those acquisitions are known, but many of them go under the radar for months and even years.

Cook's interview, with more detail on privacy and other topics, can be watched in its entirety over at CNBC.


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Apple CEO Tim Cook Discusses Apple’s Revamped Carnegie Library Store in Washington, D.C.

Apple is set to open a new retail store at the revamped Carnegie Library in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, May 11, and ahead of the grand opening, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Apple retail leader Deirdre O'Brien did an interview with The Washington Post to discuss the new flagship location.

Work on the Carnegie Library Apple Store kicked off two years ago, and Apple has spent an estimated $30 million on the project. $7 million of that went towards facade restoration, $300,000 went to restoring the stair wells, and $2 million was spent on landscaping and site work. Apple is also paying $700,000 per year for the next 10 years to lease the space.


According to Cook, restoring Carnegie Library to its original design standards became the "most historic, ambitious restoration by far, in the world." Apple believes projects like this help showcase "Today at Apple" services and classes, though the company's aim is to get customers to further associate Apple with creativity.
"Our roots are in education and creativity," Cook said. "You think about where the company started from and Steve and the team at the time were very focused on providing people tools that allowed them to do incredible things."

"We've been serving the creative community as a company since the founding of the company, and the truth is everyone should be a part of the creative community," Cook added, "so this is our way to democratize it."
Like other remodeled Apple Stores, Carnegie Library will use the town square design with dedicated sections for the Genius Grove, Today at Apple sessions, and shopping for retail products. Buying something, says Cook is "probably one of the least done things" in an Apple retail location.

People come in to look at new products, and get help with the products that they already own. Apple sees its retail locations as communities rather than standard stores.
"We should probably come up with a name other than 'store,' " he said, "because it's more of a place for the community to use in a much broader way."
The Carnegie Library store will open at 10:00 a.m. local time on May 11, and Apple has six weeks of programs from local artists planned in celebration of the launch.


Apple will be sharing the space with the Historical Society of Washington D.C., which plans to open up a D.C. History Center.

Related Roundup: Apple Stores

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