Tim Cook has now been the CEO of Apple for ten years. During that time, he has seen the release of the Apple Watch, which revolutionized wearables and pushed them into the mainstream. Also under Cook, we have seen the Apple Pencil, something that would never have happened under the stylus-hating Steve Jobs. If that wasn’t enough, Apple has seen its revenue explode after it became the world’s first two trillion-dollar company. What made Tim Cook’s current tenure as the Apple CEO so effective and what were the true marquee products the company has brought us over the last ten years under his leadership.
The first new product line brought forward during Tim Cook’s time as CEO was the Apple Watch. Hot on the heels of LG’s G Watch, which was released several months before, the Apple Watch brought wearables to the mainstream, becoming the world’s best-selling smartwatch brand at 4.2 million units sold. The influence of the Apple Watch is still being felt today as companies attempt to recreate the electricity of its initial launch by matching its fitness tracking capabilities and day-to-day usefulness. Now, the Apple Watch has become a yearly fixture at Apple Events with new improvements being added with every iteration.
Under Tim Cook, Apple has made some big and somewhat unexpected moves. The company, through a $3 billion purchase of the hyper-popular Beats by Dre brand, obtained the Beats Music streaming service which would eventually be shut down and transformed into Apple Music. The acquisition was clever as it led to music royalty Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine, the founder of Interscope Records, joining Apple ranks. By 2020 under Dre’s watch — who continued to work with Apple in a high-level role for several years — Apple Music garnered 72 million active users. In addition to that, Apple now owns Beats, one of the world’s most recognizable and stylish brands when it comes to headphones.
Perhaps the biggest moment Tim Cook had as Apple CEO would be the announcement of the Apple Pencil, the company’s first stylus pen, in 2015. While not the most flashy product in the world, the Pencil’s launch was a marquee moment for Cook, as it’s unlikely it would have happened under Steve Jobs. Jobs famously hated stylus input, bemoaning the need for them at the initial iPhone launch. “Who wants a stylus?” Jobs said while introducing the iPhone. “You have to get ’em, put ’em away, you lose ’em. Yuck! Nobody wants a stylus.” Jobs also believed that using a stylus would interrupt a user from having a smooth interaction with a device. Eight years later Apple would launch the Pencil for creatives to use with the iPad. With pressure sensitivity, almost zero lag, and impeccable precision, the Apple Pencil has become the Ferrari of smart styluses to use in creative spaces.
New models of Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad, along with all-new products like AirPods and Apple Pay, and even dramatic improvements to Siri are what have filled the past decade for Tim Cook’s Apple. While not as prolific as Jobs, Cook is famously a private person, so perhaps he doesn’t want the same level of adoration his old boss had. Even so, without Tim Cook taking the helm after Jobs passed away, there’s no telling what the company would look like, but it seems unlikely that it would be the two trillion dollar behemoth it is today. No longer is Apple the scrappy underdog fighting Microsoft. Apple under Tim Cook became the measuring stick for all technological consumer advancement.