Apple’s Story- Reinvention or Evolution?

Apple, Tim Cook, iPhone6, Apple WatchIn case you somehow missed it, Apple released the Apple Watch and the latest iPhone on Tuesday (September 9, 2014). One thing you can depend on with an Apple release is that people, technophiles and others, all are interested to see what features and capabilities the devices have. After all, Apple has a reputation of developing things you did not know you wanted.

This release is more than the devices

This release is Tim Cook’s release. Since taking the helm of Apple, Tim Cook has been watched and asked how he is going to fill Steve Jobs’ shoes. Jobs was was a singular person with his own talents and intelligence. However, for Cook, this may be an uphill climb, no matter how talented or intelligent he is. So, with yesterday’s release, people are watching him. The Wall Street Journal called the Apple product launch “Apple’s Tim Cook Makes Boldest Bets Yet With New iPhone, Apple Watch.” The tone of the article seems largely positive. Yet, a post on the HBR Blog Network asks if Cook is able to step away from Jobs’ influence and lead Apple his way. Another interesting perspective comes from this tweet:

Tim Cook’s Apple is less about ‘i’ and more about ‘we.’

— saschasegan (@saschasegan) September 10, 2014

Time may tell if Cook pulled it off. Jobs was larger than life and it may be how Cook creates his own perspective and, thus, his stamp on Apple that defines the direction, innovation and culture.

And, of course, the devices…

Apple always has an hard act to follow as its history is chock full of innovative products that revolutionized people’s use of computers. Functionality has never been enough for Apple. The design is a key element as well. In essence, the device must do amazing things and look good (even beautiful) while doing it. As many journalists and blogggers have pointed out, Apple was not the first to create a smartphone or a smartwatch. The question for this week’s launch is, “did Apple bring these devices to a whole new level?” The real innovation here may not be the smartphone or even the watch. It might be Apple Pay. This e-commerce capability enables users to put their wallet on their smartphones and there are a number of stores ready to accept payment.

But is this a reinvention or an evolutionary step?

For those watching Apple with the expectation that something uber-new is coming, there may disappointment. If you read the comments on some of the blogs, you would wonder how Apple has any customers at all but that is probably hyperbole. Apple is an established company with a reputation of creating cool and beautiful products. With Tim Cook as CEO leading his first big launch, there are doubters and avid fans. Apple could focus on smaller innovations rather than whole new classes of products. Apple could be setting the stage for something completely new and wonderful.

Join us on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz on Friday, September 12, 2014 at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT and add your insights and expertise about whether Apple is reinventing or evolving.

What is your initial impression of Apple’s latest launch?

 How significant is it that the watch is named “Apple Watch” rather the “iWatch”?

How does Tim Cook step out of Steve Jobs’ shadow and maintain Apple as an innovative company?

Apple has history of being innovative. How does this affect people’s perceptions of Apple’s new products?