Pundits have long acknowledged that the legacy of Apple’s late founder, Steve Jobs, was that he laid the foundation for innovation and creativity in the company’s production of both personal and business technology solutions. When Jobs’ tenure at Apple was cut short by his death in October 2011 from pancreatic cancer, the reigns to Apple Inc. were subsequently handed to Tim Cook who became Apple’s new chief executive. Initially, some Apple loyalists were skeptical about the future of Apple Inc. and of Cook’s capacity to focus on Jobs’ vision for the company and his ability to lead in Jobs’ absence.
Cook’s supporters are quick to point to the performance of Apple’s stock. Since Jobs death, shares of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), have experienced a steady increase in value in spite of a tumultuous period between January 2012 and June 2013 when the stock experienced extreme volatility with anomalous double-digit fluctuations in both directions. However, during the course of the last 12 months the stock price has increased a full 50 percent under Cook’s stewardship. The company executed a 7:1 stock split on Friday, June 6 when it was trading at $646 per share. When the market opened on Monday, June 9, AAPL was trading at $93 per share and investors found themselves with seven times more shares than they had before the split.
Technology experts who follow the company say that as Apple Inc. continues to focus on upgrades and improvements to products like the iPhone, iPad, iPod, iMac and the rest of its “i” hardware product line as well as iTunes and the iOS software platforms, the popularity and sales of those, and a host of other products and accessories, will continue to bolster Apple’s position as the world’s most valuable company. As of July 2014, Apple held the top spot in that category with a market capitalization of $469 billion. Reports speculate that with the impending launch of Apple’s next generation iPhone 6 and accompanying software upgrade to iOS 8 reportedly rumored to be unveiled sometime this September, Apple’s value is expected to rise even further.
According to Cook, the development of Apple‘s new Swift programming language is a substantial advance for the ecosystem created by the company’s proprietary iOS and is expected to be an integral part of its new partnership with IBM. Cook spoke at Apple’s “best ever” Worldwide Developer Conference where, alongside of Swift and iOS 8, he introduced the OS X Yosemite platform for Macs which is designed to enhance the relationship between the Mac and iOS devices.
In expanding Apple Inc.’s presence in the enterprise market, the company says it expects its relationship with IBM to deliver added value in the form of access to major data analytics to and from an employee’s iPhone or iPad. Cook also stated that the Swift coding language would facilitate the use of more than a hundred MobileFirst apps required by enterprise clients with connections to the healthcare, travel, retail, telecommunications and banking industries. Cook opined also that the partnership with IBM should give a boost to recently declining iPad sales.
As Tim Cook and the rest of Apple are coming into their own, there are reports indicating that Apple may be preparing to launch some major new products. According to the company’s third quarter 10-Q filing, $5.6 billion and $15.4 billion were committed to tooling and processing equipment, and the purchase of third-party manufacturing components respectively, for a total of a $21 billion commitment. Analysts say this represents a significant investment, the likes of which have historically been seen only when Apple Inc. was laser-focused on the launch of a new product line in the near future. There have also been sporadic reports of a possible iTV, however a more likely scenario would be an iWatch which has been in development since 2012. Apple analysts say they are expecting something very significant from the Cupertino CA tech giant fairly soon.
By Mark Politi