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Recapping the Keynote: This Is Now Tim Cook’s Apple

Apple had a big week. If you want to understand what, exactly, they announced, I won’t recap it here. Other sites do a better job of that than I ever will. In fact, I recommend you hop over to Apple’s mainsite to see new goods firsthand.

During the keynote, I posted to Facebook the thing that struck me most: this past Tuesday was the day Tim Cook made Apple his company.

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Since Steve Jobs’ passing, Tim Cook has lived in the shadow of the Silicon Valley icon. His performance and more awkward speaking style was criticized from day one, with some of the vitriol verging on damnation. He’s no Steve Jobs, they said. He’s not the same quality of showman, they said. He can’t work the famous Reality Distortion Field (RDF) as Steve, they said.

And they’re right, all the voices. He can’t.

He doesn’t want to.

Tim Cook just said namaste to Steve Jobs and gently took Apple from his embrace. Tuesday was Cook’s christening in which he took his own bottle of champagne and set Apple on a new course – his course. This keynote marks the time when Steve’s fingerprints probably weren’t on anything Apple announced – this is, for better or worse, Cook’s direction and vision. And from what we saw, it seems pretty compelling.

So much was evident in the keynote – Cook was overflowing with excitement, and even through the awkwardness, we saw a leader in full. The room vibrated with energy, and every single Apple presenter was brimming with confidence. Cook and company knew this was the biggest keynote since the original iPhone debut in 2007, and they were geared up, ready for battle. Other industry titans – Samsung, Amazon, Motorola – all tried to get their newest stuff out before this past Tuesday, to gain some sort of first-mover advantage. Apple remains, to its credit, the 800 lb. gorilla.

So then: Apple is a company that has found it’s stride – again – under a new leader.

Two new iPhones (finally, bigger screens), a direct attack on mobile payments and, to some degree, services like Paypal and Google Wallet, revamped operating systems across all their products, and, of course, Apple Watch. The latter, naturally, was the big news, as it creates a brand new product category for Apple. You know it’s a big deal when Cook invokes Steve Jobs’ famous “one more thing…” quip before the introduction. That was a nice homage, and the geeks went crazy.

Products will always be products – the march forward is indefatigable. What isn’t so sure is how a company transitions leadership teams, especially when the baseline is Steve Jobs.

Cook did exactly that, and it was fascinating to watch.

No pun intended.

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