Tim Cook’s First Presentation

Tim Cook led his first product announcement for Apple. I think he did an okay job, after finally being able to watch the video of the event. His style is certainly different from Steve, which is good. For anyone to try to imitate Steve, such a performance would not have gone over well. Clearly, he had some coaching, but he did bring his own spin to the event. Tim’s style is definitely understated, but more “calm and cool” and less “logical and analytical”.

What is unfortunate for Tim is that he wasn’t announcing Something Big. Hs first event was, essentially, product upgrades. The general public was expecting more, built up by rumour and innuendo circulated by the media, and puffed up and hyped even further by that same media. Even Apple’s suppliers kept it toned down, with the more credible information (such as preproduction cases for the new phone) showing a device that would be similar in shape and size to the current iPhone 4. Unfortunately for Tim, his understated and more laid-back style will be influenced by the so-called “disappointing” product launch. It isn’t fair, but hey, that’s the way the world works.

I suspect that people would have had a more favourable opinion of Tim’s presentation style had the event included the fabled “iPhone 5” that was predicted (incorrectly) by many people. Everyone would be so focused or enamoured with the Next New Thing, that Tim’s first crack at this would have been a secondary consideration. Instead, the poor guy has to do his thing while pulling back the covers on updates that, while certainly good, aren’t nearly as impressive people had (wrongly) hoped.

I fully expect to see more tomorrow on “how bad Tim Cook was” and people lamenting that “he isn’t Steve”, ignoring the fact that Tim doesn’t need to be Steve and shouldn’t be Steve. These same so-called “experts” will also continue to slam Apple for meeting lofty expectations that weren’t met. Despite the fact that those expectations only existed in the imaginations of a vocal few. Apple didn’t promise anything truly new or ground-breaking here. They actually hadn’t promised or hinted at anything. We saw what iOS 5 was going to have back in June, and today’s announcement simply re-affirmed that. Apple made no mention, direct or indirect, about what was coming next for the hardware.

To my mind, Tim did just fine. He looked reasonably comfortable, although there were moments where he did look a little nervous. The nature of the announcement meant he couldn’t hide behind the glamour and hype. I expect that he will get more comfortable with this over time, and settle in with his own style. It may also allow people to put more focus on the product, and less on the presenter. But only time will tell.