Bailey isn't some new addition to the team -- she's been with Apple for years and previously ran the company's online store. But her prominent place at Apple's splashiest annual event was such a big deal because Apple, like other companies in Silicon Valley, has some pretty serious gender diversity problems.
According to Apple's latest diversity report, only 30 percent of the company's global employees are female. And women represent an even smaller proportion of those in technical and leadership roles.
That gap has been glaringly apparent during the company's public events. Tech blog Gizmodo said it could find only six women who had ever appeared onstage at main events during Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference and product launches. And only one of those was an actual Apple executive, then-chief technology officer Ellen Hancock back in 1997.
Before Monday, the last woman on an Apple event stage was model and activist Christy Turlington during the Apple Watch launch earlier this year. At the time, she was the first woman to make an appearance since Zynga exec Jennifer Herman in 2010, according to Gizmodo.
But Apple chief executive Tim Cook -- who is himself, a sort of icon for LGBT diversity -- seemed well aware of the problem. "I think it's our fault — 'our' meaning the whole tech community," he said in an interview with Mashable Sunday. "I think in general we haven't done enough to reach out and show young women that it's cool to do it and how much fun it can be."
He also told the Mashable reporter to keep an eye out for more women at Monday's event.
And he followed through: In addition to Bailey, Apple's vice president of product marketing, Susan Prescott, also showed up on stage to demonstrate a new app for reading news.