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.