Tim Cook took the stage at the D10 conference this evening, and as you might expect when he’s facing questions from no-nonsense business types, he was asked to defend the iPhone 4S’s personal voice assistant Siri, which has gone from a cool novelty to one of Apple’s biggest marketing campaigns of the decade, even though some suggest Siri doesn’t have the chops to back it up.
“Customers love it. But, there’s more that it can do, and we have a lot of people working on this. I think you’ll be really pleased with what you see in the coming months on this. We’ve got some cool ideas about what Siri can do,” he was quoted by Engadget as saying. That’s quite a different tone than previous company head Steve Jobs.
Jobs had an attitude that if Apple launched something, it was perfect. And if customers had a problem with it, that was only because the customer wasn’t using it properly. But from Cook, we’re seeing that he empathizes with the customer. Addressing the hot-button issue of Siri without saying dissatisfied users are wrong, and instead promising that brighter futures are ahead, makes Cook look like more of the traditional customer-centric CEO.
From the outset, people have questioned whether Tim Cook could usher in the same kind of enthusiasm as Steve Jobs, or at least manage to hold the fort down while everyone reels in the loss of the legend. And when we say people, we mean Apple fans, Windows fans, Google fans, Apple employees, and pretty much anyone else who doesn’t know the word “apple” as simply a kind of fruit.
And for good reason – Jobs was Apple in a way that no other CEO had ever been identified with a Fortune 500 company. Although Cook took the helm a while ago now, he still feels very mysterious to a lot of outsiders. Exposure at events like this can only be a good thing as long as there are no major flare-ups.