Tim Cook has now been at the helm of Apple for five years. Since taking the reins from founder Steve Jobs, Cook has nearly doubled Apple’s workforce, from 60,000 to 110,000.
But he hasn’t launched any new product categories, nor has he revolutionized any of Apple’s existing ones. The Apple Watch felt more like a copycat than the pioneering devices that the iPhone and iPad were at launch, and sales have been inconsequential for the world’s largest company. Some former employees say Cook is not a product man like Jobs was, nor a visionary like Jobs, which forces him to rely on others more.
According to a report in CNN, “there’s now a feeling among some Apple insiders that the company is just running the same product playbook that Jobs created in his final years at the helm.”
Still, Cook’s time as head of Apple has been successful. Revenues have more than tripled, and Apple is a significantly more socially conscious company now. But iPhone sales are approaching their peak, and iPad sales are stagnating, which means Apple needs to diversify its revenue streams.
Apple generated $42.4 billion last fiscal quarter, earning a profit of just under $8 billion. Overall, the company slightly topped analyst expectations for revenue and iPhone sales. Apple sold more than 40 million phones, 10 million iPads, and over four million Macs during the quarter. The company generated $24 billion from the iPhone, $5 billion from the iPad, $5 billion from Macs, and $6 billion from services.
But where will the world’s most valuable technology company turn to experience new growth? One area we know Apple is investing in is autonomous vehicles, AKA the self-driving car. The company is silent on this project, which may not launch until 2021, but several sources over the last couple of years have confirmed Apple is brewing something big in that department.
Also, augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Augmented reality, perhaps best demonstrated by the global success of Pokémon Go, is something Apple believes in long-term, Cook says. He also confirmed Apple is very interested in artificial intelligence—technology the company is already starting to use to curate content for users and identify usage patterns to improve battery life (not to mention Siri, its digital assistant).