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downloads (and the resulting revenue). Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller now runs the store and has made more changes in the past six months than ever before, introducing promotional placement and expanding subscriptions to make apps a better recurring business.


Apple has bought into public beta Apple now realises that trying to be perfect out of the gate is overrated. iOS 10 is being vetted by public beta testers. The new file system that will debut next year is already in developers’ hands. Even Apple Watch reflects the company’s willingness to put out a product, see what users like and don’t like, and react accordingly. 4

Apple is a fashion brand The company’s products have long been exemplars of good industrial design, but now Cook has incorporated the idea of seasons and collections for products such as the Apple Watch (witness its collaboration with Hermès on bands). The refreshed Apple Stores, in the hands of Burberry veteran Angela Ahrendts, also reflect this influence: Accessories are presented less as tech doodads and more as fashion products.

financial sophistication can complement Apple’s other strengths. As Cook says, “I want Apple to be here, you know, forever.”


Apple embraces public advocacy Steve Jobs had a mission: to popularise computers as “a bicycle for the mind”, and to make them as beautiful as any other object that people care about in their lives. Cook has made Apple a moral company, too—in his coming out and supporting transgender policies; by fighting the FBI over consumer privacy; and in his significant push to make Apple an environmental leader in a business that is inevitably resource-intensive. “My belief is that companies should have values, like people do,” Cook says.


Apple is chasing new frontiers it may not be able to own From cars to healthcare to original streaming content, Apple is making big-money bets on lucrative markets that are crowded, complex and unlikely to be dominated by any single company. “Our strategy,” Cook says, “is to help you in every part of your life that we can.”


Apple is a global financial power 5

Apple’s App Store is a marketing platform One billion people come to the App Store to find out what’s worth putting on their iPhones, and Apple is relying on more

The company has $233 billion (R3.2 trillion) in cash on hand. It has spent about $117 billion (R1.6 trillion) on stock buy-backs in the last two-plus years. While some see these manoeuvrings as distractions, this is all part of Cook’s professionalisation of the company. Such


Profile for Fast Company SA

Fast Company SA - September 2016  

Fast Company SA - September 2016