Posts tagged with "apple"

Phil Schiller Transitions into Reduced Role as Apple Fellow; Greg Joswiak Newly Appointed SVP of Worldwide Marketing

Apple announced a major change to its executive team today: Phil Schiller, who first started at Apple in 1987, is transitioning into a limited role with far fewer responsibilities, holding the title Apple Fellow. Schiller will retain oversight of the App Store and Apple Events, and continue reporting directly to CEO Tim Cook, but most of his current responsibilities will shift to Greg (Joz) Joswiak, who takes over the title of senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing.

Here’s Schiller on this significant day of transition:

“It has been a dream come true for me to work at Apple, on so many products I love, with all of these great friends — Steve, Tim, and so many more,” said Schiller. “I first started at Apple when I was 27, this year I turned 60 and it is time for some planned changes in my life. I’ll keep working here as long as they will have me, I bleed six colors, but I also want to make some time in the years ahead for my family, friends, and a few personal projects I care deeply about.”

Tim Cook remarks:

“Phil has helped make Apple the company it is today and his contributions are broad, vast, and run deep. In this new role he will continue to provide the incredible thought partnership, and guidance that have defined his decades at Apple”

Schiller has been one of the most visible members of Apple’s team for a long time, most notably owning primary responsibility for introducing new hardware at Apple keynotes, such as the latest iPhone models each year. His expected absence from future such occasions will mark a stark shift for the company.

Joswiak, who takes Schiller’s former role, is no unfamiliar face himself. He has over two decades of leadership experience within Apple, and in recent years has become a regular presence at Apple events as well. Despite being a major force within the company, however, Joswiak’s presence on the executive team represents a new level of leadership for him, and come with major new responsibilities.

After many years of stability at the highest levels of leadership, time is finally catching up with Apple’s executive team. Chief Design Officer Jony Ive departed the company last summer, just a few months after Angela Ahrendts vacated her role as SVP of Retail. While today’s news follows a different pattern, since Schiller is remaining with the company despite his reduced role, so much change at the top of the organization feels very new for the modern Apple era.

As someone who began following Apple closely only about a decade ago, not long before the passing of former presentation chief Steve Jobs, I’ve seen a lot of Schiller product introductions and am really going to miss his presence for many keynotes to come.


Apple’s Tim Cook Publishes Open Letter Addressing Racism in America

Today, Apple CEO Tim Cook published an open letter addressing racism in America. In the letter, which is currently featured on the apple.com homepage, Cook explains:

Right now, there is a pain deeply etched in the soul of our nation and in the hearts of millions. To stand together, we must stand up for one another, and recognize the fear, hurt, and outrage rightly provoked by the senseless killing of George Floyd and a much longer history of racism.

That painful past is still present today — not only in the form of violence, but in the everyday experience of deeply rooted discrimination. We see it in our criminal justice system, in the disproportionate toll of disease on Black and Brown communities, in the inequalities in neighborhood services and the educations our children receive.

To play its part in combating racism, Cook says Apple will redouble its efforts on social programs and inclusion initiatives:

But we must do more. We commit to continuing our work to bring critical resources and technology to underserved school systems. We commit to continuing to fight the forces of environmental injustice — like climate change — which disproportionately harm Black communities and other communities of color. We commit to looking inward and pushing progress forward on inclusion and diversity, so that every great idea can be heard. And we’re donating to organizations including the Equal Justice Initiative, which challenge racial injustice and mass incarceration.

Cook’s letter is important not just as a statement of where Apple stands on racism but as an example of the sort of leadership role tech companies can take to address the systemic causes of it.

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‘Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level’ Is an Insightful Look at the Values that Guide the Company’s CEO

Leander Kahney, who has previously published books about Steve Jobs and Jony Ive, takes on the ascent of Apple’s current CEO in a new book titled Tim Cook: The Genius Who Took Apple to the Next Level. When Steve Jobs passed away in 2011, many people doubted that Tim Cook, an operations expert, was up to the job of CEO. As Kahney summarizes in his book’s introduction titled ‘Killing It,’ the numbers have proven the doubters wrong. By exploring Cook’s early influences and how they have affected his leadership of Apple, Kahney sheds light on the values and other qualities that have led to Cook’s success. The result is an interesting look at Cook’s background growing up in Alabama and his career before joining Apple, about which little has been previously written, but the book’s recounting of Cook’s Apple years may be less informative to close observers of the company.

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Apple in 2018: The Six Colors Report Card

Jason Snell:

It’s time for our annual look back on Apple’s performance during the past year, as seen through the eyes of writers, editors, developers, podcasters, and other people who spend an awful lot of time thinking about Apple.

This is the fourth year that I’ve presented this survey to a hand-selected group. They were prompted with 11 different Apple-related subjects, and asked to rate them on a scale from 1 to 5, as well as optionally provide text commentary on their vote. I received 55 replies, with the average results as shown below:

It was my pleasure to participate (again) in the latest edition of the Six Colors Apple report card, which features average scores and answers on a variety of Apple topics. As usual, it is a solid, balanced overview of where Apple stands today in different areas of its business. Personally, I was positive about iPad Pro hardware, iOS 12, and Apple Watch, but I noted I’d like to see Apple do more on iPad software, iPhone camera, and HomeKit in 2019.

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Apple Adds AI Head, John Giannandrea, to Executive Team

Today Apple announced that one of its most recent high profile hires, John Giannandrea, has been added as the twelfth member of the company’s executive team. His title is now Senior Vice President of Machine Learning and AI Strategy. From the press release:

“John hit the ground running at Apple and we are thrilled to have him as part of our executive team,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “Machine learning and AI are important to Apple’s future as they are fundamentally changing the way people interact with technology, and already helping our customers live better lives. We’re fortunate to have John, a leader in the AI industry, driving our efforts in this critical area.” 

News of Giannandrea’s hiring at Apple first broke in April at The New York Times. Apple didn’t formally announce the hire, however, until July. And here we are just a few short months later, with another press release from Apple announcing his promotion.

Giannandrea’s role involves leadership of Siri, machine learning, and other artificial intelligence projects, all of which are right up his wheelhouse due to his former role as Google’s chief of search and artificial intelligence. While it’s hard to say from the outside what kind of difference his influence is making at Apple, this move is a good sign that the company’s pleased with his early months of work. Perhaps we’ll get to see the fruits of his labors at WWDC 2019.

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Hopes and Expectations for Apple’s 2019

Forward-looking columns about Apple’s business in the new year are usually saved for late December, but I wanted to get ahead of all those pieces because we now know what Apple’s full 2018 product lineup looks like. While new AirPods and the AirPower charging mat are both suspiciously still absent, and one or both could in theory be launched via press release any time, most likely what we have now from Apple is what we’ll be left with until after the new year begins. As such, today seems like a great time to start sharing hopes and expectations for the year ahead.

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John Giannandrea, Former Google Executive, Is Apple’s Chief of Machine Learning and AI Strategy

Earlier this year The New York Times reported that Apple had made a big new hire: John Giannandrea, at the time Google’s Chief of Search and Artificial Intelligence. Today Giannandrea officially joined the ranks of Apple’s leadership page on Apple.com.

As part of Giannandrea’s employee profile, we learn his official title with Apple: ‘Chief of Machine Learning and AI Strategy.’ He reports directly to Tim Cook and oversees technologies related to Siri and machine learning.

Breaking the news of Giannandrea’s new role, Matthew Panzarino wrote for TechCrunch:

Apple is creating a new AI/ML team that brings together its Core ML and Siri teams under one leader in John Giannandrea.
[…]
The internal structures of the Siri and Core ML teams will remain the same, but they will now answer to Giannandrea. Apple’s internal structure means that the teams will likely remain integrated across the org as they’re wedded to various projects including developer tools, mapping, Core OS and more. ML is everywhere, basically.

The last two years especially, AI and machine learning have been heavy focuses of Apple, particularly on iOS. Giannandrea is a major hire for the company, and while it may take some time for his impact to be seen in user-facing products, bringing together Siri and machine learning teams under this new leader is a key step toward realizing future potential in an area that’s bound to grow more important as time passes.


Small Companies Can’t Play by Apple’s Rules

Haje Jan Kamps, writing for TechCrunch:

Walking into my first ever meeting with a structural packaging designer, I started rooting around in my bag before exclaiming, “This is the sort of thing I want!” She leaned forward in her chair, delighted to have a customer with a strong guide, then groaned audibly when she saw what I had placed on the table: the packaging from my new iPhone.

“You can have anything you want,” she countered, “but if you want your packaging to look and feel like Apple’s, you’ll have to increase the unit cost for your packaging by 10x.”

Packaging is just one example — there are dozens — of why Apple is a rank outlier in almost every way. Or, put differently: Using the Cupertino-based company as your template for how to build a startup is not a great idea.

Kamps’ piece is a fascinating exploration into why it’s not so easy to follow Apple’s lead – and why, in many cases, a company shouldn’t even try. Some of the benefits that come with having a quarter-trillion dollars in the bank, and manufacturing products at massive scale, are completely unattainable for nearly every other company in the world.

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What Apple Must Do to Establish Its New Video Service

It’s clear that Apple is building a video service. That much was obvious the moment it hired veteran entertainment executives Zack van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht. But you can’t flip a switch and create a streaming service—not even if you’re Apple. (You could buy one, but Apple has apparently chosen to build, not buy, at least for now.)

What has to happen between now and the day we all sit down and watch the first episode of van Amburg and Erlicht’s first major acquisition to play through our Apple TVs or on our iPads and iPhones?

Great article by Jason Snell on the challenges Apple is facing in building their video streaming service – which, if you’ve been keeping an eye on entertainment news, is perhaps the company’s worst kept secret. (Jason Snell and Myke Hurley have a regular segment about this topic on their Upgrade podcast, which you should listen to.)

Unlike Snell, though, I have a hard time believing Apple will not offer their service on multiple platforms. If the company’s goal is to generate more Services revenue with this product, it’s only reasonable to expect as many people as possible could sign up for it.

Also, from a cultural perspective, I think it’d be wrong to have TV shows (and eventually movies too?) be locked to Apple devices. I was watching the Grammys last night, and there were plenty of Apple Music mentions (and ads) throughout the show; Apple Music, of course, is available both on iOS and Android, which meant everyone watching could access Apple’s Grammys page and playlists. If Apple hopes to create shows that become cultural phenomena like Game of Thrones or Stranger Things, wouldn’t it be best to ensure everyone can enjoy them?

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