With its top executive team still in place, Apple is set to close out its most profitable year ever. Its stock has had a 52-week range of $363.32 to $705.07, and Apple has a market value more than Google's and Microsoft's combined.
The iPhone 5 is just one in the long line of hits that Cook has overseen as head of operations and then CEO. The iPhone 5 is selling at a record pace, with 5 million sold in its first weekend last month.
Cook was Jobs' handpicked successor, and he served as interim CEO during periods when the Apple co-founder was on medical leave from the company. After Jobs died, Cook wrote to Apple employees: "I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change. I cherish and celebrate Apple's unique principles and values. Steve built a company and culture that is unlike any other in the world and we are going to stay true to that -- it is in our DNA. We are going to continue to make the best products in the world that delight our customers and make our employees incredibly proud of what they do."
Cook is known as a master of supply chain and operations, working with contractors like Foxconn to get millions units of an iPhone or iPad at the lowest cost and highest quality to meet demand. He isn't the relentless visionary that Steve Jobs was, but he is relentless and will have to coax the vision out of his well-seasoned team.
Cook has been more outgoing than his predecessor, visiting more countries to carry the Apple flag, responding publicly to critics, as well as engaging with the U.S. government in trips to Washington, D.C.
After reports of labor abuses at Apple contractor Foxconn, Cook went to China and talked to the Chinese vice premier about worker rights and intellectual property protection. In an e-mail to employees, Cook said, "Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don't care is patently false and offensive to us."
After the most recent product launch praising Apple's products as the best or most powerful, Cook backtracked, apologizing for the flawed Apple Maps in iOS6 and deleting the claim that its map app is the "most powerful mapping service ever."
Nearly three years since the the iPad was released, longtime Apple watchers are wondering when Apple's next big thing will arrive. It has to be more the an iPad Mini, which is expected to be unveiled at this month.