Apple CEO Tim Cook could step down after Apple Glasses launch

Apple Event Sept. 15
(Image credit: Justin Sullivan via Getty Images)

For Apple CEO Tim Cook's reportedly final trick, he's going to launch a whole new category for the company. Cook, who filled the shoes of the seemingly irreplaceable Steve Jobs, is expected within Apple to step down as soon as four years from now, in 2025. 

This comes to us via the ever-reliable Mark Gurman at Bloomberg, whose latest column suggests that a multitude of factors could mean that Cook is "going to retire sometime between 2025 and 2028." His reported departure is tied to the release of the long rumored Apple glasses, which would be the company's first standalone AR product.

Specifically, Gurman notes that the common "belief inside Apple is that Cook just wants to stick around for one more major new product category, which is likely to be augmented reality glasses rather than a car." 

And when we took a moment in the Tom's Guide Slack to think back about Tim Cook's big successes, we're thinking there's a strong chance these glasses will be a hit. Cook's been at Apple for 10 years, and during that time has seen the launch of multiple successful categories, as well as a revolution in Apple's component strategy.

Analysis: Tim Cook's big wins (and fails)

Not that Apple ever explains who is responsible for what product, but let's look at the major launches since 2011. While the acquisition of Beats Electronics from Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine may not have seemed like a huge deal in 2014, it was one of the first big moves Apple made into the audio and headphones world since the failed iPod Hi-Fi. And it would be proceeded by the 2016 launch of AirPods, one of Apple's biggest success stories in Tim Cook's first decade with the company. Beats' app technology was also seen as an influence for Apple Music.

AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Speaking of Apple Music, it's just one of many services that Apple's launched in recent years, including Apple TV Plus. That services division is growing and growing, accounting for 21.47% of the company's total revenue according to Statista — with 26% growth revealed in the latest Apple quarterly earnings announcement . Apple TV Plus may have taken a while to find its first critical hit with Ted Lasso, but the imminent arrival of Jon Stewart's new show on the service could make it a must-have.

Plus, there's the Apple Watch, the industry leader in wearables and smart watches. Released in April 2015, the Watch didn't exactly take off at first, but once Apple pivoted to a stronger focus on fitness in 2014, the device truly found an audience. 

And we can't use the word "pivot" without mentioning Apple Silicon. Intel is clearly in the rear view mirror for Apple right now, as the company launched the M1 MacBook Air and Pro in late 2020, followed by the M1 Mac mini and M1 iMac. These notebooks provided huge leaps forward in battery life and performance, and the April 2021 Apple earnings call revealed Mac revenue of $9.0 billion, up 70% according to MarketWatch

MacBook Air (M1, 2020)

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

But until the most recent iterations of the MacBook, Apple's laptops and Macs had some difficulties under Cook's term. The butterfly-switch MacBook Pro and Air proved highly controversial, as lawsuits and repair programs arose due to the thin design which was claimed to be prone to failure.

Then there's the big shiny 2013 Mac Pro. Sold on a reputation for upgradability, that future never exactly happened. Referred to be many as "the trashcan" for its cylindrical design, this was not a hit, and pushed Apple to redesign the system for the 2019 Mac Pro, which is colossally expensive with a starting price of $5,999.

Apple under Cook has also faced increased scrutiny for how it manages its iOS App Store, and had serious dust-ups with the EU over its proprietary ports. Then there's the big fight with Epic Games, which saw Fortnite leave Apple devices.

The next Apple CEO: Who could be next?

Major contenders for the title include Greg Joswiak, aka "Joz," (a senior vice president of note in the company), Deirdre O’Brien (who leads Apple's retail) and COO Jeff Williams.

If Apple is looking for a CEO in the vain of Cook, then Williams could be the most likely internal candidate. He's known for running the supply chain for Apple, which is what Cook was famous for before he took the role at the head of the table. 

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.

    Please --- "vein", not "vain", unless you are making a comment about Cook's personality (and I don't think most people would call him vain.)
  • Sally G
    I’ve recently been lamenting how much has changed at Apple since that first Macintosh Superbowl computer; yes, I still happily use a MacBook Pro, but the corporate culture is far from what it once was—especially the creepy “we want to scan all your photos for child porn”, not all that long after they very appropriately stood down the FBI’s request for a back door into the iPhone. I don’t follow the ins and outs closely, but it certainly has been a wild ride.
  • Sally G
    MRHOR said:
    Please --- "vein", not "vain", unless you are making a comment about Cook's personality (and I don't think most people would call him vain.)
    Ack, did I miss a typo? Unlike me!