(Adam Lashinsky is on vacation this week. Senior editor Verne Kopytoff is filling in today.)
Apple CEO Tim Cook will speak at length during his company’s quarterly earnings call with analysts today about the nuts of bolts of his company’s business. IPhone sales, rising App Store revenue, and the impact of foreign currency fluctuations will undoubtedly be on the agenda.
But just once, I’d like Cook to go off the script. I realize that he won’t—billions of dollars in Apple’s lofty market value depend on him staying positive and avoiding hot button topics. Still, many Apple followers would appreciate the candor (and the reassurance that some of their concerns are being addressed). If you’re reading Tim, here are a couple of ideas:
Apple innovation has ebbed and flowed over the years. And currently, it’s in an ebb. Although still huge sellers, new iPhones don’t elicit the same buzz they once did because of their incremental improvements. Moreover, instead of leading the emerging category of home automation speakers like Amazon’s Echo, Apple is late, with its me-too HomePod still at least four months away. Acknowledge the lack of innovation, as tough as it may be. Then promise to do better.
You’ve been relatively outspoken against the White House’s immigration policies and the recent edict to bar transgender troops. But you can do more to advance social change (and not just related to President Trump, but also any future administrations). I know that you’re walking a fine line in that Apple wants to curry favor with policy makers from both parties to maintain existing tax breaks plus create some new ones. Just don’t be too cautious. Speak up.
Apple (aapl) has mostly shied away from major acquisitions. (One exception is paying $3 billion for music headphone company Beats in 2014.) It may be time to reconsider. Buying would push Apple into new areas more quickly than it can on its own. Acknowledge that the company’s cash on hand—nearly $257 billion, as of April—isn’t doing much beyond funding investor dividends. Embrace some risk.
I’m sure you have some ideas about what Apple’s CEO should say (but won’t). Please, let me know.