Apple's New Triumvirate

MG Siegler’s thoughts on the two respective pieces about Ive and Federighi in USA Today, and Bloomberg Businessweek with the addition of Cook. Both are equally interesting especially Ive’s parts because he rarely makes public appearances outside his heavenly white box in promo videos at Apple events.

Tim Cook directly responds to Apple’s alleged failure to enter the low-end market with the iPhone 5c in the Businessweek article:

To Cook, the mobile industry doesn’t race to the bottom, it splits. One part does indeed go cheap, with commoditized products that compete on little more than price. “There’s always a large junk part of the market,” he says. “We’re not in the junk business.” The upper end of the industry justifies its higher prices with greater value. “There’s a segment of the market that really wants a product that does a lot for them, and I want to compete like crazy for those customers,” he says. “I’m not going to lose sleep over that other market, because it’s just not who we are. Fortunately, both of these markets are so big, and there’s so many people that care and want a great experience from their phone or their tablet, that Apple can have a really good business.”

If you’re a true student of Apple’s history you know for a fact it has almost never done cheap. Rather, it manages to entice enough customers to rise to their level by creating a pretty solid, perhaps not always innovative product with effective marketing to put the doubters over the top. Whether or not you believe that the 5c is “just” a 5 with a brightly coloured plastic case, it will be pushed as a new device coming in at $99 on a two year contract and will sell like gangbusters. Outside North America, it’s another matter altogether.

Another takeaway from these articles is how Apple PR is pushing a new holy trinity at the helm of the company’s iPhone/iPad business or at the very least Tim Cook’s two new lieutenants in this area. Ive’s new role as SVP Design of both hardware and software was made clear late last year, Federighi is the new boy on the senior executive team. And he has done really well. WWDC was his breakout performance, but he looked even more composed, yet energetic at the September 10th event. His jokes got the crowd going and he looks to be the new technical face of Apple since Cook usually handles the numbers and overall strategy, with Ive being more withdrawn in public. 

A move like this was expected, but Apple wants to control the narrative regarding Cook’s version of the company and Ive and Federighi seem to be its new public faces for iDevices, especially “Hair Force One”. It’s like they’re saying “We appreciate your take on our products, but this is what we think and believe them to actually represent and mean.” Given all the negative press regarding Apple in the last year, it’s a smart thing to do.