BLOOMBERG: Tim Cook Interview

The iPhone 6, the Apple Watch, and Remaking a Company’s Culture

Steve Jobs’s office remains Steve Jobs’s office. After his death in 2011, Tim Cook, his friend and successor as Apple (AAPL) chief executive officer, decided to leave the sparsely decorated room on the fourth floor of 1 Infinite Loop untouched. It’s not a shrine or place of mourning, but just a space that Cook sensed no one could or should ever fill. “It felt right to leave it as it is,” he says. “That’s Steve’s office.”

Almost everything else on Apple’s campus in Cupertino, Calif., is different. The executive wing once radiated nervous energy, with handlers scurrying to anticipate the whims of Apple’s temperamental co-founder. Now there’s tranquility in the hallways, a reflection of the new boss’s calm Southern demeanor. Downstairs, the cafeterias are packed—the workforce has almost doubled. A mile away, behind a ring of fences, construction crews are building the massive foundation for the circular “spaceship” campus that will accommodate 12,000 workers when it’s completed in a few years.

Until Sept. 9, all the other changes at the world’s most valuable and scrutinized company were largely invisible to the public. Then Tim Cook took the stage at the Flint Center for the Performing Arts and laid out much of what Apple has been working on over the past three years. The immediate aftermath is that Apple is swamped by a record number of preorders for the new iPhone 6 and supersize 6 Plus. Bank of America, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo, among other banks, plus the major credit card companies and a number of nationwide retailers have embraced the new mobile payment system, Apple Pay. Even the Apple Watch, the company’s first attempt at launching an entirely new product category in the Cook era, has garnered an encouraging early response, though it will face the only test that matters when it hits stores sometime in 2015.

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