Not that there's anything fundamentally wrong, but while it remains the most highly capitalized company in the U.S. as measured by valuation, Apple has now missed Wall Street's earnings expectations for two consecutive quarters. Also, he needs to find someone to run Apple's stores after firing retail chief John Browett, who got booted after eight months in the job.
Meanwhile, reactions to the introductions of the iPhone 5 and iPad Mini have been relatively restrained. Maybe it's just a temporary hiccup. Still, people have grown so accustomed to flawless execution and heart-palpitating new technology out of Apple that anything less gets treated as a disappointment. That unique history is a big burden for Cook -- or any other mortal -- to shoulder.
Eddy Cue, the exec who convinced Steve Jobs why Apple ought to reconsider making a smaller tablet, has earned a reputation as Apple's Mr. Fix-it. As a result of the corporate changes, he will oversee Siri and Maps as part of a new "online services" group that includes iTunes, iCloud, and Apple's various digital stores.
Few people in this life are indispensable, but Jonathan Ive comes close. The exec in charge of industrial design, Ive has put his stamp on myriad Apple products, including the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and several others. (Steve Jobs once told Tim Cook "that the future, the soul of Apple will probably be represented by Jony Ive." ) As a result of today's changes, Ive is now in charge of "Human Interface across the company" while continuing as Apple's top designer.
Apple has returned Bob Mansfield to a leadership role. Apple's former hardware chief will now lead a "Technologies" group within the company, which is made up of wireless and semiconductor groups. Mansfield was replaced by Dan Riccio earlier this year, though he stayed on to "work on future products" for Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Scott Forstall worked for Steve Jobs, first at Next and then at Apple, where he had recently served as the executive in charge of mobile software. For the record, his departure was portrayed amicably; Apple said in a release today that Forstall will remain as an adviser to Cook until "next year." Yet the timing, coming so soon after Apple's recent mapping fiasco, raises the obvious question of whether Apple was looking for a fall guy to take the blame. Meanwhile, stories circulated that Apple fired Forstall for refusing to sign a written apology over the maps mess.