The untold story inside Apple after the passing of Steve Jobs by following his top lieutenants—ony Ive, the Chief Design Officer, and Tim Cook, the COO-turned-CEO—and how the fading of the former and the rise of the latter led to Apple losing its soul.
The book traces the evolution and end of Ive and Cook’s partnership, involving compendious review of public sources and over 200 interviews with current and former Apple employees and advisers ... Mickle builds a dense, granular mosaic of the firm’s trials and triumphs ... In the epilogue, Mickle drops his reporter’s detachment to apportion responsibility for the firm’s failure to launch another transformative product. Cook is blamed for being aloof and unknowable, a bad partner for Ive ... By the end, the sense that the two missed a chance to create a worthy successor to the iPhone is palpable. It’s also hooey, and the best evidence for that is the previous 400 pages. It’s true that after Jobs died, Apple didn’t produce another device as important as the iPhone, but Apple didn’t produce another device that important before he died either. It’s also true that Cook did not play the role of C.E.O. as Jobs had, but no one ever thought he could ... Ive and Cook wanted another iPhone, but, as Mickle’s exhaustive reporting makes clear, there was not another such device to be made ... Epilogue aside, the book is an amazingly detailed portrait of the permanent tension between strategy and luck: Companies make their own history, but they do not make it as they please.
There’s little confusion as to Mickle’s sympathies. From the get-go we see Ive through a gauzy lens ... Cook, in contrast, is a stiff intruder in Apple’s magical kingdom, and damned by faint praise ... The Cook-versus-Ive narrative is an effective, if reductive, device for telling the post-Jobs story of Apple. It injects human drama into a spot-on portrayal of a thriving, if angst-ridden, corporation ... Mickle argues convincingly that Cook did what needed to be done for the company to prosper, to the benefit of shareholders, employees, and himself ... This is an exhaustively reported, deeply sourced, and lively book that will delight Apple obsessives for its revealing look behind the curtain at one of the world’s most secretive companies ... There is a delicious level of detail on everything ... The book has its issues. Jobs’s biological father was from Syria, not Iran. The text can be repetitive ... The writing can also be breathy ... The author correctly gives Cook his due.
Informative, if myopic ... Apple’s ethical stances have been pliable, but Mickle doesn’t always hold the company to account ... It’s hard to understand why a spate of worker suicides at a factory assembling Apple products, which continued into the period covered in this book, is only fleetingly mentioned in After Steve ... We’ve allowed Apple’s impressive, addictive devices to reshape our world, but what have we sacrificed in the process? Unfortunately, Mickle’s intense focus on two executives — Cook and Chief Design Officer Jony Ive, who left Apple in 2019 — leaves little room for such considerations ... In its fixation on Apple’s tip-top leadership, After Steve recalls countless exec-obsessed business titles. Nonetheless, Mickle’s reporting yields a thorough, entertaining dual portrait of his protagonists ... Uneven but never boring.