Apple Loses A Creative Genius

Jamie O’Donoghue
Jun 28 · 5 min read

Catch up with this week’s (new and improved) Five on Friday!

Note: This article was amended on July 2, 2019 to clarify that Steve Jobs unveiled the MacBook Air in 2008, not the MacBook Pro.

#IveOnFriday

Apple revealed yesterday that its chief design officer, the legendary Jony Ive, is leaving the company after more than 20 years.

What does this mean?

Considered a central figure in the company, Ive was responsible throughout his two-decade tenure for almost every design element of Apple’s major products, from the Mac to the iPhone. If the tech giant has become largely synonymous with portability, elegance, and beauty, a lot of the credit goes to Ive, who pioneered the likes of the iPhone’s white headphones (and surreptitiously launching a fashion trend) as well as the MacBook Air’s famously lithe frame. His contribution to the company was best captured this week by technology website The Verge, which announced that “the era of the singular genius at Apple is over.” While Apple previously prided itself on the extraordinary level of talent at its executive level, with Steve Jobs as the epitome, CEO Tim Cook seems to be moving towards a more team-led and anonymous approach to product-building. Ive’s departure is a fitting symbol for this shift.

Bet You Didn’t Know

At 2008’s Apple Event, Steve Jobs chose to reveal Ive’s super-thin design for the MacBook Air by pulling it from a thin manilla envelope, eliciting gasps of amazement from the audience.

#WheresTheBeef

McDonald’s revealed on Tuesday that its decision to switch to fresh beef has helped it gain market share for the first time in over five years.

What does this mean?

The fast-food giant launched fresh beef for some of its burgers just over a year ago, a move that cost it more than $60 million, the company revealed. As rivals such as Burger King embrace the plant-based food revolution, McDonald’s has chosen not to jump on the bandwagon — at least not for now — but instead to venture in a different direction by focusing on the quality of its products. While committing to fresh meat is difficult for a company with such a large and complex supply chain, it may help McDonald’s remain relevant in an environment that favors all things healthy and organic. In the same vein, the company announced that it will transition to using purely cage-free eggs in its menu-items by 2025. “We’re proud that taste and food quality drives sales,” commented Chris Kempczinski, U.S. President of McDonald’s.

Bet You Didn’t Know

As well as the fast food chain with the most locations, McDonald’s is also — mostly thanks to the free gifts included in Happy Meals — the world’s largest supplier of toys.

#AmazonBeauty

Shares of a number of cosmetic and beauty retailers, including Ulta Beauty, fell this week after Amazon said it had started selling beauty products.

What does this mean?

In yet another example of the e-commerce colossus threatening small businesses with the sheer diversity of its offerings, Amazon announced the launch of a “Professional Beauty Store” on Monday. This service will offer professional stylists and hairdressers the types of beauty supplies that are typically found in salons and spas, for “great prices with convenient delivery options.” Though the entry of Amazon into any industry is often enough to send competitor stock prices plummeting, a company like Ulta Beauty (a member of the MyWallSt family) should be relatively protected from an incursion for now. The new store is specifically targeting professional beauty workers, whereas Ulta Beauty deals more with the experiential side of the industry and has enough loyalty among its ranks to temporarily fend off the giant. It seems that it really is Amazon’s world, and the rest of us are just living in it.

Bet You Didn’t Know

According to The Washington Post “about 77% of Ulta shoppers own more than 11 lipsticks, and 68% own more than two curling irons.”

#HowardHughes

The Howard Hughes Corporation saw its shares spike more than 30% this week after it emerged that the company hired bankers to explore strategic alternatives, including a sale of the company.

What does this mean?

According to those familiar with the real estate development and management company, bankers at Centerview Partners were hired to explore options ranging from joint ventures and spinoffs to a complete sale. Howard Hughes management later confirmed on Thursday that it was conducting “a broad review of potential strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value” and that these included a possible sale or change in the “corporate structure of the company.” It is broadly believed that the company might not be well-suited to life on the public markets because it has a diverse collection of assets that does not lend itself to the recurring and predictable cash flows real estate investors may be looking for. Shares in the company have fallen more than 35% over the past five years vs. growth of just over 50% on the S&P 500.

Bet You Didn’t Know

Despite being best-known today for its real estate developments, the Howard Hughes Corporation began life in a very different fashion back in 1913 as a drilling tool business.

#AndFinally

Fans of beloved U.S. sitcom ‘The Office’ fell into a minor panic this week when Netflix announced that the show would be leaving its platform in 2021. The move came after NBCUniversal signed an exclusive deal to include it on its upcoming streaming service, revealing that it will fork out an astonishing $100 million per year to reclaim the folks at Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company. What makes this figure even more amazing is that NBC technically owns the show already, having co-produced it through a subsidiary studio. While ‘The Office’ was originally met with a mixed response from critics and audiences alike, it soon became a cult classic and a cornerstone of Netflix’s appeal. Indeed, it was the most streamed show on the service last year by quite a distance, with viewers collectively watching a full 52 million minutes (beating runner-up ‘Friends’ by a cool 20 million minutes). As more and more entertainment giants enter into the world of streaming, we can expect to see a jump in bidding wars like this in the future.

What does this mean?

Identity theft is not a joke, Netflix. (Some of you will get it)

Bet You Didn’t Know

John Krasinski, who plays Jim in ‘The Office’, visited Scranton for research and interviewed employees at actual paper companies.

The Week In Numbers

250

retailers will participate in the upcoming Amazon Prime Day, as the event increasingly becomes a nationwide shopping holiday.

12,000

job cuts in Europe were announced this week by Ford Motors.

$100 million

is how much ailing LCD technology venture Japan Display is set to receive from Apple as part of a bailout.

The Takeaway

This week, we saw two tech giants reluctantly gave up major components of their respective businesses: in the case of Apple, a top designer, and for Netflix, a massively popular piece of content. At the same time, McDonald’s is adapting (in a process familiar to those who’ve followed Coca-Cola’s foray into healthy beverages) to a world that values quality and health-benefits above mere convenience. And amid all this change, Amazon just keeps on doing what it does best, which is simply getting bigger and bigger.

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Jamie O’Donoghue

Written by

Content Specialist at MyWallSt

The MyWallSt Blog

Investing is for everyone, we show you how. MyWallSt is a multi-award winning company that helps you to become a confident and successful investor.

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