Apple CEO Tim Cook and chief designer Jonathan Ive are capable of serving Apple's creative and business needs, according to Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson.
former Apple CEO Steve Jobs' death in October, pundits and analysts stumbled
over themselves to theorize about how his passing would affect the company's
bestselling product lines.
whether, without Jobs' unique combination of creativity and micromanaging
impulses, Apple could continue to produce successful generations of the iPad,
iPhone and Macs.
Speaking at a breakfast conversation hosted by a Fortune editor Nov. 10, Walter Isaacson,
author of the bestselling biography on Jobs, told the audience that current CEO
Tim Cook and chief designer Jonathan Ive operate as "the two halves of Steve's
He also termed
the two Apple leaders as "joined at the hip," which would presumably facilitate
their ability to serve both the business and creative sides of the company.
While Jobs was
alive, Ive would present his leader with a set of different prototypes. "If
we're working on a new iPhone, for example, he might grab a stool and start
playing with different models and feeling them with his hands, remarking on
which ones he likes best," Ive is quoted as saying in Isaacson's biography.
"Then he will graze by the other tablets, just him and me, to see where all the
other products are going."
The casual and
intuitive nature of that process, so divorced from the endless meetings and
focus groups that define product creation at other companies, is necessarily
hard to replicate without the input of a single "brain." Reports suggest that
Jobs and his team plotted out years' worth of the product pipeline before his
death. Nonetheless, the time will almost certainly arrive when Apple will need
to demonstrate it can push industry-leading innovation without signs of Jobs'
hand at work.
Isaacson unprecedented access to his life, granting him dozens of
interviews-the last of which took place during the CEO's final summer. The
biography details Jobs' long battle with cancer and attempts to revive Apple in
the late 1990s, as well as the quest to develop both the iPhone and the iPad.
The book quickly shot to the top of bestseller lists even before its release.
In the short
term, Apple has more than kept on its feet despite the loss of its co-founder.
The iPhone 4S managed to sell 4 million units by the end of its first weekend
of release, reaffirming the smartphone franchise's popularity among consumers.
During Apple's Oct. 18 earnings call, CEO Cook suggested the company is doing
everything to ensure iPhone 4S supply remains adequate for holiday demand.
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Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.