March 7, 2012 at 9:25 AM ET
All eyes were on Tim Cook today -- the man Steve Jobs handpicked as his successor -- as the new Apple CEO further positioned his company as the vanguard in the "post-PC revolution." At the launch of Apple's new iPad, Cook followed a script well known to those familiar with Apple events, radiating calm confidence but more understated than his predecessor, who was not mentioned during the event.
But perhaps that's because, as he said today, there's a lot to look forward to in 2012, rather than mourn for the past.
Following Jobs is a lot to live up to, but Cook, 51, has his own voice and style as Apple's lead evangelist, right down to his clothes. Unlike Jobs' signature black mock turtleneck, Cook wore a more formal dark, button down shirt -- but over jeans, maintaining that ultra casual cool that defines Apple culture.
Cook then showed off Apple stores in Amsterdam and New York, with a video of the latter's Grand Central opening. (As we saw in October, the man loves his videos!)
Cook first replaced the charismatic Apple founder as keynote speaker at the iPhone 4S product launch on Oct. 4. But the enthusiasm over that appearance and Siri was overshadowed a day later by news of Jobs' death. Still, as Cook rattled off Apple's often impressive stats just a day before, some of his personality started to emerge. To even do what he did, knowing that Jobs was in such critical condition, is a testament to his poise and composure.
By now, we know how Jobs did not make decisions lightly, obsessing over the smallest details on the products he loved giving the world -- and which the world embraced. So we know that choosing Cook could not have come without a great deal of insight and belief that this was the man who could take the company forward. After all, here was a man who had worked at the company for nearly 14 years (since 1998), who had been immersed in its culture, and who Jobs had anointed as his heir apparent.
Cook's official Apple bio tells us that before being named CEO in August, Cook was Apple's Chief Operating Officer, which means he was "responsible for all of the company’s worldwide sales and operations, including end-to-end management of Apple’s supply chain, sales activities, and service and support in all markets and countries." So Cook was the behind-the-scenes guy, the guy that made things happen. He "also headed Apple’s Macintosh division and played a key role in the continued development of strategic reseller and supplier relationships."
Before Apple, Cook was a VP at Compaq (where he only spent six months before Jobs tapped him) and also spent 12 years at IBM.
Cook made an impression on Mac Observer's Bryan Chaffin, who wrote, "...those of us who love Apple products should very much appreciate the importance of having someone committed to its products at the helm of the company. Tim Cook showed us today that he has that commitment, that love of a great product, and the love of having a company focused on making them."
Over at Cult of Mac, John Brownlee described Cook as "more integral than anyone else in the company short of Steve himself in turning Apple around from a dying and moribund PC maker into the unstoppable juggernaut the company is today."