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[Newsmaker] Cook strives to keep Apple innovative

Apple CEO Tim Cook. (AP-Yonhap News)
Apple CEO Tim Cook. (AP-Yonhap News)
U.S.-based tech giant Apple on Monday revealed its much-anticipated new mobile operating system, hinting that its innovative prowess had not died with its cofounder Steve Jobs.

“IOS 7 is the biggest change to iOS since the introduction of iPhone,” the company’s CEO Tim Cook said at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Throughout the presentation, Cook repeatedly stressed the word “innovation,” as if to state that his company is still capable of producing groundbreaking products.

“We’re not standing still, we’ve got lots of innovation left,” he said. “We had lots of innovation for the Mac last year.”

Cook’s near-obsession with innovation seems to be a by-product of his comparison to Jobs, who was widely regarded as a man of great vision.

Ever since Cook took the company’s helm two years ago, following the death of Jobs, the new head of Apple has been constantly compared to his world-famous predecessor.

Forbes’ contributing writer Anthony Wing Kosner wrote that the clearest difference between the two men was that Jobs was a visionary. “We’ve already seen that when Tim Cook fast-tracks something, like Apple Maps, he has not gotten Jobs-like results,” he said.

While Apple remains the world’s most valuable brand at $185.1 billion, its stock price has fallen 37 percent from its peak of $705 last September.

It is also facing stiff competition in the smartphone market from latecomers such as Samsung Electronics Co., which has already solidified its place as a leader with a global market share of 33 percent. Apple is in distant second place at 18 percent.

Detractors are saying that Apple’s trademark push for innovation has lost its steam since Jobs left the post as the company’s head. They even say Apple’s flagship smartphone iPhone is somewhat out of date.

Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote, was quoted by U.S. media as saying that the iPhone had to be really basic because it was “the first smartphone for a lot of people.”

“Now the training wheels are starting to come off a little bit,” he said, indicating even the iconic phone cannot duck the wave of change.

Apple executives, however, tried to downplay the claim that Apple is no longer the world’s leading innovator. This was perhaps best demonstrated when its marketing chief Phil Schiller showed the new Mac Pro during the latest WWDC, calling it a machine “unlike anything we’ve ever made.”

“Can’t innovate anymore, my ass,” Schiller said.

By Yoon Min-sik (minsikyoon@heraldcorp.com)
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