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What Apple – and only Apple – can do


The buzz among Apple (AAPL) watchers this weekend is the piece John Gruber posted on Daring Fireball Friday called “Only Apple.”

He takes as his starting point a line from Tim Cook’s closing remarks at WWDC, in which Cook took a moment to boast that “only Apple” is in a position to build the platforms, devices and services that create a “seamless experience” for users.

Is that true? Apple may be the only company that is doing it, but is it the only company that can?

Gruber says he has been thinking about this for the past two weeks, and the thought he put into it paid off.

His insights into what makes Apple fundamentally different from its chief competitors — Google (GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Amazon (AMZN) and Samsung — is worth the price of admission.

But his greatest insight may be how Apple has matured under Cook.

“Apple didn’t need a reset,” after Steve Jobs died, he concludes. “Apple needed to grow up. To stop behaving like an insular underdog on the margins and start acting like the industry leader and cultural force it so clearly has become. Apple has never been more successful, powerful, and influential than it is today. They’ve thus never been in a better position to succumb to their worst instincts and act imperiously and capriciously. Instead, they’ve begun to act more magnanimously.”

It’s Gruber at his best. A must read.

LINK: Only Apple.

UPDATE: This was written before Matt Richtel and Brian Chen’s posted their their big piece in the Business section in Sunday’s New York Times. It’s a flattering profile of Cook with an unflattering view of the company, punctuated by some killer quotes. “They’ve lost their heart and soul,” MIT’s Michael A. Cusumano told the Times. (Cusumano stands by the quote; I checked.)

LINK: Tim Cook, Making Apple His Own