Cook is fixing big problems like working conditions in China, but many wonder if he can launch the next big product

Reuters recently reported how Apple has shifted since former CEO Steve Jobs stepped down and Cook took over. Stepping in after Jobs wasn't an easy task -- especially when Cook has a completely different style when it comes to running the company.

Jobs was a temperamental, and wasn't afraid to jump down someone's throat and scream if they did something wrong. He was passionate and very involved in the creation of each product. This passion and drive led Apple to have a cult following, where Apple fans would wait outside of retail stores waiting for a new iPhone to be released. 

Cook, on the other hand, is quiet and laid back. He delegates orders, and is known to sit quietly in meetings with his hands folded in front of him. Employees judge what he's thinking by the pace in which he rocks his chair. If something is wrong, he'll simply say "That's not good enough," and that's the end of it.

Since Jobs left, the environment within Apple is a bit more relaxed and the intense pressure one would feel in Jobs' presence is a thing of the past. In some ways, this is a good thing. Many employees feel they can breathe for once (although Silicon Valley recruiters and Apple competitors say they've seen applications from Apple employees now more than ever -- mainly hardware engineers).

Tim Cook with the late Steve Jobs

In other ways, this can be seen as a bad thing. Apple hasn't pushed itself to launch anything revolutionary in the last couple of years. In fact, the company has only released newer versions of iPhones and iPads since Cook took over, and these newer versions haven't exactly rocked the mobile industry. Sure, sales are great and Apple is certainly still raking in the cash, but simply changing the screen size of the iPhone from 3.5 inches to 4 inches and offering an iPad mini (change in screen size from 9.7 inches to 7.9 inches) isn't exactly enough when competitors -- like Android smartphone makers -- have had screens of varying sizes for years. Apple has made other changes to its iPhones and iPads as well, but you get the picture -- competitors are either ahead of the game or keeping up. 

The upcoming iPhone is expected to see a completely revamped version of iOS, which was a big move by Cook. He put head industrial designer Jony Ive in charge of the creation of iOS 7, which also hasn't been done yet within the company. The color scheme is much brighter and gone is the skeumorphic design of icons attempting to mimic real-world objects. Many have described it as "flatter" but with a new sense of depth thanks to layers and the frosted glass effect. 

"The vision that Tim had to involve Jony and to essentially connect two very, very important Apple initiatives or areas of focus - that was a big decision on Tim's part and he made it independently and very, very resolutely," said Bob Iger, CEO of Walt Disney Co. and an Apple director.

The new iPhone's success is important for Cook's career, but many are wondering when a completely new product will make its way to store shelves.

Apple TV is one product many are waiting on. There's been a lot of talk about it, such as Apple creating a full television set to accompany its TV software. According to Quartz, Apple is in talks with Disney’s ESPN, Time Warner’s HBO, Viacom (which owns MTV Networks), Nickelodeon and Comedy Central for possible Apple TV partnerships. There's even rumors of Apple launching a pay TV service, which would make it a sort-of cable company of its own. However, all of this is just talk and rumors -- and many believe that Jobs would have put the pressure on to release the product by now.

Aside from Apple TV, many are waiting on a wearable device by Apple. Back in March, it was announced that the device would be released later this year, but there's no further word on that quite yet. Although, Apple has been trying to trademark the name "iWatch" in Japan. 

Competitors, such as Google and Samsung, are hoping to beat Apple to the punch. In March of this year, Samsung revealed that it had been working on a smart watch for a while, but didn't give any details on price, features or availability. And Sony recently announced its third generation Smart Watch 2. Dell recently hopped on the smart watch bandwagon as well, making an announcement last month. 

Apple's lack of revolutionary products has certainly hit the company's stock hard as investors worry over whether Apple still has that spark it once possessed when Jobs was at the helm. Just two months ago, Apple's stock dipped to $400, falling 24 percent this year and 43 percent compared to its record high of $705 in September 2012.

But Cook is no slouch. He has dealt with many issues at Apple professionally, such as the Apple Maps fiasco last year. The app was a disaster, offering inaccurate navigation and geography. But Cook apologized to the public (even telling people to use Google or Bing), fired vice president of iOS software Scott Forstall and had Eddy Cue step in to fix the mess. 

Cook has also addressed other huge Apple issues, such as working conditions in its supplier's factories in China (the company now conducts regular and surprise audits to make sure there are no violations of any kind) and even discussed Apple's use of the tax system at a U.S. Senate hearing back in May.

Cook has done a lot of good for Apple, offering fixes to morale and a more laid back environment where people are no longer scared to admit when they've made a mistake. But many wonder if Jobs' crazy method of management paid off in the end when it came to product innovation. We'll have to see what happens with the new iPhone, Apple TV and a wearable device to see if Apple still has that fire -- and if Cook is the guy with the light.

Sources: Reuters, Quartz

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