What Apple product launches say about Tim Cook’s leadership

Tim Cook Apple March 21 event
Under Tim Cook's leadership, Apple is innovating in a new way.
Photo: Apple

A cynic would call it greenwashing, but the most surprising thing about Tim Cook’s “Loop you in” event was what it said about how he’s running Apple.

When Steve Jobs was around, Apple’s product events were about the products, and little else. Yeah, Jobs would often start with corporate issues, but he usually boasted about how the company was absolutely crushing it.

By contrast, the first 25 minutes of Monday’s event — almost half of the hour-long presentation — focused on things only tangentially related to Apple products. Cook and his lieutenants discussed government snooping, privacy, recycling, the environment, renewable energy, creating platforms for sustaining customers’ health — and even protecting Chinese yaks.

Jobs used to touch on issues like these, but under Cook, they’ve taken center stage. Cook has turned Apple’s product events into showcases for corporate responsibility.

The biggest takeaways from Apple’s tiniest keynote in years

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A size for every hand.
A size for every hand.
Photo: Apple

Evolution, not revolution, was the tone of today’s low-key Apple event. Smaller is better, says Apple, with two big product “reveals” that show off compact new devices with impressive internals.

While most of the announcements today have already been discussed and dissected, like the 4-inch iPhone SE, new Apple Watch bands and a smaller 9.7-inch iPad Pro, there were a couple of surprises.

Here are the biggest takeaways from Apple’s oddly low-key “Let us loop you in” event.

China goes wild during Tim Cook’s week-long Apple Store tour

Tim Cook and Apple might be moving into San Francisco.
Tim Cook and Apple might be moving into San Francisco.
Photo: Apple

Tim Cook just finished a week-long tour of China, complete with stops at new Apple Stores across the country, as well as a visit to the elementary school at Communication University of China, and a meeting with China’s Vice Premier.

Cook created a Weibo account earlier this week to announce Apple’s new green initiatives in China, but the Apple CEO didn’t stop there. Rather than posting to Twitter, Cook stayed active on the Chinese microblogging all week, posting his interactions with customers and colleagues. In just five days, Tim has amassed over half a million Weibo followers (he’s got 1.3 million on Twitter) by keeping Chinese fans updated with seven posts during the trip.

Take a look at Tim’s awesome Weibo travelogue: