The Macalope Daily: Under pressure

[Editor’s Note: The Macalope Daily is an exclusive benefit for our Macworld Insider members, but is being made available to all Macworld readers for a limited time. To learn more about this and other features, visit our Macworld Insider information page.]

Happy iPhone day, kids! Enjoy it while it lasts, because the Los Angeles Times’s Andrea Chang and Jessica Guynn think Apple’s in dire need of a shake-up. For some reason.

“After iPhone 5, can Tim Cook make Apple his own?” (tip o’ the antlers to Phil Michaels)

Does the L.A. Times know Cook actually runs Apple … right now?

Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs…

No denying that, Apple fans. Might as well close up shop and return the money to the shareholders. Damn you and your non-Jobsian genes, Tim Cook!

…and so far, that hasn’t been a problem for Apple Inc.

So far. Inflection point in 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 …

Oh, sure, Apple’s managed to chug along on Steve Jobs momentum for a year now …

But all that may not be enough.

DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNN.

Wait. May not be enough for what?

With Apple poised to announce the long-awaited iPhone 5 on Wednesday and reap heavy sales from it, analysts and software developers are looking beyond the product launch to whether Cook can set his own course at the company after the death of its co-founder.

Let us pause for a second and wonder why, exactly, Cook—who’s been at Apple since 1998 and helped architect the “Steve Jobs course”—needs to “set his own course.” The course Apple has been following seems to be working kinda well and, you know, he was involved in setting it. It’s like some people won’t be satisfied until Cook licenses iOS or does something else incredibly stupid.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Or, in Apple’s case, if it ain’t broke, iteratively keep improving it anyway.

“I think we are definitely still riding Steve Jobs’ stewardship,” said Matt Brezina, chief executive of mobile start-up Sincerely Inc.

Well, yes, that comment from a guy who sells a postcard-making app is certainly damning.

“Tim needs to define what kind of leader he is externally. As a developer on their platform, I’m not quite sure what kind of leader he is yet.”

The Macalope is sure that keeps Cook up at night.

[eye roll]

Much of Apple’s success can still be traced back to Jobs. So far, Cook has delivered only incremental product improvements with the Siri-equipped iPhone 4S and an iPad tablet with better screen resolution—not the showstopper that Apple will eventually need in a fast-paced, hits-driven business. Both the iPhone and the iPad are credited to Jobs.

Who did all the soldering himself.

Despite the fevered imaginations of L.A. Times reporters, Apple did not churn out products that reinvented whole markets every year under Steve Jobs’s leadership. But the fact that Cook has not released an iPhone in the year he’s been fully in charge is somehow a big problem.

So the pressure is on Cook to deliver some of that old Apple magic…

What pressure is that, exactly? The Times reporters go on to detail how happy everyone is with Cook—from Twitter CEO Dick Costolo to Apple investors to a random kitten they interviewed—so other than the idle musings of those in the iOS postcard-making app industry, the Macalope’s not sure where this pressure is coming from.

Cook’s dad, maybe? Maybe it’s his dad. You know how dads can be.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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