Apple CEO must ripen creative skills quickly, or else

October 13th, 2011

He was the man in the black turtleneck who turned a bitten apple into a multi-national icon. Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs has passed, leaving techies and others around the world mourning not only his death, but the future of modern technology without such a visionary. Intellectual comparisons of Jobs to Thomas Edison or Alexander Graham Bell are not outlandish; telephones and light bulbs became inventions we could not fathom living without, and now the same need has developed with our computers and mobile devices.

Jobs, in a way, was the great inventor of the modern era. So, besides the iPhone 4S, it has become a question of what is next for the world of Apple. Tim Cook, the new company CEO since Aug. 24, must be pressed to start charting his creative course, for now he has the world’s attention. Apple is in his hands, but without Jobs’ creative mind, have Cook and his team bit off more than they can chew?

According to the Bloomberg Review, Cook transformed inventory management to enable Apple to ship the iMac in a rainbow of colors, deviating from the typical beige box that sat upon desk tops. Years later, he orchestrated the speedy delivery of iPods, iPads and iPhones – often within 48 hours – to help build the army of Apple devotees.

The prestigous resume is there, but there needs to be something soon from Cook that’s going to make him a standout. Otherwise, nothing will set him apart from the rest of the 50,000 employees in Cupertino, Calif. and abroad. When Jobs stepped down in August, he left large shoes to fill for Cook. The world is going to look for the same “perfectionist” quality in Cook that they saw in Jobs, the co-founder’s sole characteristic that gave us these technology-defying devices.

A portion of the job is going to include rallying these employees effectively and with a creativity level as insurmountable as that of the late Jobs. The problem is, Cook and Apple’s competition is mounting. For example, Google’s Android mobile phone has become the biggest smart-phone operating system.

For Cook to continue Apple’s legacy in the technology world, he’s going to have to maintain Jobs’ continuous streak of innovations. Individuals are watching Cook a little closer than they did Jobs, and it’s up to him to now officially take the reigns and prove why Jobs chose him.

It was John Carroll alum, the late Tim Russert who wrote, “Some people, without ever realizing it, spend their wholes lives preparing for a single moment.”

For Tim Cook, this moment has come.