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E EDDY CUE DOESN’T LOOK LIKE A MAN IN THE MIDST OF HIS TOUGHEST YEAR IN DECADES. SPORTING AN UNTUCKED APRICOT CAMP SHIRT AND BLUE JEANS OVER CAMOUFLAGE SOCKS AND A PAIR OF BLUE LE ATH E R R AC I N G S H O E S FRO M G E R M A N Y, A P P L E ’ S S V P O F INTERNET SOFTWARE AND S E RV I C E S P U LL S U P A C H A I R AT O N E O F TH E M A R B LE -TO PPE D TA B LE S O U T S I D E C A F F É M AC S , TH E E M PLOY E E R E STAU R A NT AT TH E H E A RT O F A PPLE ’ S 2 3 YEAR-OLD CUPERTINO CAMPUS. (THE COMPANY WILL BEGIN TO MOVE INTO ITS NEW “SPACESHIP” HQ NEXT YEAR.) CUE DIVES RIGHT INTO TELLING ME ABOUT H I S L ATE ST H O R RO R STO RY: 58   FASTCOMPANY.CO.Z A SEPTEMBER 2016

The collapse, two nights earlier, of his beloved Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, which Cue had the dismal pleasure of observing from a courtside seat. “Am I in mourning?” he asks of his team’s loss to LeBron James’s Cleveland Cavaliers. “You better believe it. I’m not watching ESPN, I haven’t gotten onto a sports website, I haven’t read a newspaper. When I turn on my TV, I only go to the DVR.” “Eddy, this is on the record,” warns Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of software engineering, from across the table. “I’ve got no problem with that,” replies Cue, who is such a Warriors fan that he was featured on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle after the team’s comeback victory in the conference finals a few weeks earlier, in a photo that showed him screaming in redfaced celebration along with Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry. He leans over my iPhone, which is recording the interview, and enunciates his next three words to make sure they are loud and clear. “I love LeBron!” Then he gives way to a set of hearty and rueful guffaws. It’s 16°C in Cupertino, the sun is shining, the smell of cumin and garlic from the café’s chicken masala special fills the air, and the chatter among the couple hundred employees enjoying their lunch seems lively and bright. Nowhere is there any hint that “Apple is doomed”, as suggested by Forbes and other outlets, or that it is engaged in a “user-hostile and stupid” campaign against its customers (The Verge), led by CEO Tim Cook, a “boring old fart . . . a supply-chain supplicant” (culture critic Bob Lefsetz). Under Cook’s leadership, Apple has come to seem quite fallible to many people. Its recent products have seemed far less than perfect, at least compared to the collective memory of its astonishing iPod–iPhone–iPad run from 2001 to 2010. There are the public embarrassments, like its 2012 introduction of Maps, or those 2014 videos of reviewers bending, and breaking, an iPhone 6 Plus. Apple Pay hasn’t become the standard for a cashless society, and the Apple Watch “is not the watch we expect from Apple”, according to John Gruber, editor of Daring Fireball, the pre-eminent Apple-centric website. Then there are the design flaws: Apple Music has been saddled with too many features, as if it were something designed by, God forbid, Microsoft; the lens on the back of the iPhone 6 extrudes; the new Apple TV has an illogical interface and confusing remote control. Perhaps, say the worriers, Apple is doing too many things at once, cranking

Profile for Fast Company SA

Fast Company SA - September 2016  

Fast Company SA - September 2016  

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