company ▪ February 10

company ▪ August 29, 2014

Cotton:Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook with former VP of Worldwide Communications Katie Cotton

“Beautifully, unapologetically plastic.”

“Feature for feature, it’s identical to iPad Air in every way.”

“Just avoid holding it in that way.”

Apple’s public relations (PR) department is probably the best in the world — certainly more impressive at shaping and controlling the discussion of its products than any other technology company. Before customers get their first chance to see or touch a new Apple product, the company has carefully orchestrated almost every one of its public appearances: controlled leaks and advance briefings for favored writers, an invite-only media debut, and a special early review process for a group of pre-screened, known-positive writers. Nothing is left to chance, and in the rare case where Apple doesn’t control the initial message, it remedies that by using proxies to deliver carefully crafted, off-the-record responses.

Except for a few big exceptions, such as the memorably off-pitch quotes above, Apple’s “tell them what to believe” PR strategy has worked incredibly well for years. But it has also created tensions between the company and the people who cover it, as well as within Apple itself. The company’s long-time head of PR, Katie Cotton, left the company earlier this year as CEO Tim Cook openly sought to make a major change in the way Apple interacted with the press and its customers. As the hunt for Cotton’s replacement is still in progress, and the depth of Apple’s commitment to change remains unclear, we look today at the techniques Apple has used to quietly manipulate its coverage over the years.

You can navigate between the chapters, below:

– Part 1) Apple Events and Shredded White Booklets

– Part 2) Introducing the Teams: How PR Is Organized at 3 Infinite Loop

– Part 3) Strategies: The “Art of Deep Background” and Controlling the Press

– Part 4) The Departure of a “Tyrant”

– Part 5) Two Heads In Place Of One

– Part 6) Controversies: From Maps to Beats to Haunted Empires

– Part 7) Product Reviews, Briefings, & Reviewer’s Guides

– Part 8) Steve Jobs and the Process Behind Press Releases

– Part 9) A Friendlier, More Transparent Future?

Two months in the making, this article is the product of over a dozen interviews with journalists, bloggers, and PR professionals, including many who have worked at Apple.

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company ▪ January 22, 2014

company ▪ December 27, 2013

Apple today issued its Preliminary Proxy Statement via its Investor Relations website. As a publicly traded company, Apple issues this document annually, and it discusses pay packages for both executive team members and board members, company practices, and topics which shareholders will vote on at the upcoming shareholder meeting. Apple says that the next shareholder meeting will take place on February 28, 2014. Some interesting tidbits include that Apple’s board met seven times in 2013 with 75%+ attendance during each meeting. Additionally (to be voted on), a shareholder wants Apple to create a board committee related to human rights. Apple says that it is against this additional committee:

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company ▪ April 24, 2013

An insightful Reuters blog by financial journalist Felix Salmon suggests that Apple’s surprisingly low share price may be due to the evolving nature of the company leaving it between two sets of investors.

Conservative investors, who like slow-growing stocks with high dividends, are constitutionally uncomfortable with the volatility inherent in the tech world. And technology investors, who are happy taking that kind of risk, want to see substantial growth. Apple, notwithstanding the fact that it’s one of the most valuable companies in the world, is falling through the capital-markets cracks.

Apple always used to be the company which surprised and delighted investors and customers alike. Its guidance to investors was deliberately pessimistic, blowing through those figures when it reported actual revenue and earnings. It was notoriously secretive about new products, launching new ones in a playful manner with Steve Jobs’ famous ‘One more thing‘ moments… expand full story

company ▪ April 23, 2013

Update: AAPL blew away expectations.

At 4.30pm Eastern, Apple will report its Q2 results (and we’ll be covering it live). It’s the day when the last three months of analyst predictions and forecasts come home to roost.

Apple’s newly-realistic guidance revenue is $41b to $43b, with margins of 37.5 – 38.5 percent. These numbers would suggest earnings per share of just over $10 … expand full story

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