How technocrats triumphed at Apple

The new scheme freed Mr. Ive from regular commutes to company offices in Cupertino. He switched from almost daily product reviews to an irregular schedule as the weeks went by without weighing in. Sometimes one spread through the studio that he unexpectedly came to the office. Employees compared the ensuing moments to old footage of the stock market crash of the 1920s with papers being tossed in the air and people whizzing around in a furious haste to prepare for his arrival.

With the expectation of rising on Wall Street for a 10-year anniversary iPhone in early 2017, Mr. Ive the company’s leading software designers to San Francisco for a product review. A team of about 20 arrived at the city’s exclusive social club, The Battery, and began spreading 11 x 17-inch prints of design ideas in the club’s penthouse. They needed Mr. Ives approval for more features on the first iPhone with full screen display.

They waited that day for almost three hours for Mr. Ive. When he finally arrived, he did not apologize. He reviewed their transcripts and provided feedback. He then left without making any final decisions. When their work came to a standstill, many wondered: How did this come about?

I Mr. Ive’s absence began Mr. Cook to transform the company into its image. He replaced the outgoing corporate director Mickey Drexler, the gifted marketer who built Gap and J. Crew, with James Bell, the former chief financial officer at Boeing. Mr. Ive been angry that a leader with a left brain had displaced one of the board’s few leaders with a right brain. “He’s another one of those accountants,” he complained to a colleague.

Mr. Cook also encouraged the company’s finance department, which began auditing external contractors. At one point, the department rejected a legal invoice submitted by Foster + Partners, the architectural firm that works closely with Mr. Ive to complete the company’s new $ 5 billion campus, Apple Park.

In the midst of these struggles, Mr. Cook to expand Apple’s strategy to sell more services. During a corporate retreat in 2017, Mr. Ive stepped outside to get some fresh air when a newcomer to Apple named Peter Stern stepped in front of the company’s top executives. Sir. Stern clicked for a slide of an X-shaped chart that showed Apple’s profit margins from sales of iPhones, iPads and Macs declining, while profit margins increased from sales of software and services like its iCloud storage.

The presentation alarmed some people in the audience. It depicted a future in which Mr. Ive – and the company’s business as a product manufacturer – would mean less, and Mr. Cook’s growing emphasis on services such as Apple Music and iCloud would mean more.