Did Tim Cook measure up to Jobs at new iPad event?

The announcement Wednesday of the new iPad and the new Apple TV wasn’t chief executive Tim Cook’s first time leading an important Apple launch event. After Jobs’s resignation in August, Cook was tasked with introducing the iPhone 4S, which fast became the company’s best-selling smartphone.

But the arm-chair quarterbacking about Cook’s performance was cut short by the announcement just one day later that Jobs had died.

So how Cook fare this time around? Many analysts seem to agree that he held his own on the Yerba Buena Center stage: He was steady, in control and managed to project the casual-cool that seems to define the Apple brand instead of the stodgy, corporate image it typically tries to avoid. And the aesthetics and theatrics of the presentation seemed consistent with previous Apple events. The projections on the backdrop behind him were spare and uncluttered in their design and delivered only the most need-to-know facts about the product.

Jobs’s onstage persona will be difficult for Cook to match. For many years, the Apple co-founder was the fulcrum that made these events work: His enigmatic nature coupled with his almost palpable enthusiasm for the devices gave the presentations a special sort of luster.

Tim Bajarin, an analyst with California-based Creative Strategies, told Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail, “Nobody whipped up the Mac faithful like Steve Jobs did. It would be unfair for Tim to even have to try to play that exact role.” 

Still, it seems many analysts agree that Cook’s easy demeanor and obvious knowledge of the products were enough to keep investors and consumers from doubting Apple’s new leader.

Related content:

Apple iPad goes after the small screen

How the iPad stacks up to other tablets

First impressions of the new iPad

Sarah Halzack is The Washington Post's national retail reporter. She has previously covered the local job market and the business of talent and hiring. She has also served as a Web producer for business and economics news.
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