A similar move may be occurring with the iPhone. Jobs was a firm believer in the iPhone’s original 3.5-inch screen size, even as Android phones started to get bigger and bigger. Many iPhone users like the smaller form factor, but as Android devices — particularly Samsung’s Galaxy S lineup — have gained share at the high end, it’s become clear that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s “one-size-fits-all” approach is a hindrance. Apple broke this barrier by moving to a 4-inch screen for the iPhone 5, but the company is still well behind Android on the “size curve.” Whereas Jobs would probably have resisted further fragmentation, I expect Cook to OK an even larger iPhone for late 2013 or 2014. This is just good business sense — giving customers what they want.
Steve Jobs’ dogmatic perspective on product engineering was probably the most important cause of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s success. However, now that Apple has reached the top of the mountain, the company needs a more flexible, opportunistic approach. Since screen size is apparently a barrier to iPhone sales, I expect Tim Cook to fix the problem by offering an iPhone with a larger screen. I’m not sure Jobs would have done that.
Obviously, there is some risk of missing other opportunities with a CEO who doesn’t have Jobs’ penchant for driving innovation. That said, I remain optimistic that Jobs’ death didn’t suddenly turn off the innovation machine at Apple. In any case, I believe that the opportunity for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s existing product lines is so large that having a CEO who will maximize the profit from those devices (Tim Cook) will be better for Apple than having a CEO whose focus is on dreaming up the next big thing (Steve Jobs).
The article Tim Cook Might Be a Better CEO Than Steve Jobs for Apple Right Now originally appeared on Fool.com and is written by Adam Levine-Weinberg.
Fool contributor Adam Levine-Weinberg owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple and Google.
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