The lat­est Ap­ple re­leases

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“Ap­ple is a cham­pion of hu­man rights, ed­u­ca­tion and the en­vi­ron­ment.”

Ap­ple learns; and now, led by CEO Tim Cook, it also lis­tens. Nu­mer­ous sig­nals sug­gest Ap­ple seeks to be­come more open than ever, even while it works to be­come a good cor­po­rate cit­i­zen.

Speak­ing to the US Se­nate, Cook ex­plained: “Ap­ple is a com­pany of strong val­ues. In ad­di­tion to cre­at­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of Amer­i­can jobs and de­vel­op­ing prod­ucts that en­rich the lives of mil­lions, Ap­ple is a cham­pion of hu­man rights, ed­u­ca­tion and the en­vi­ron­ment. Our be­lief that in­no­va­tion should serve hu­man­ity’s deep­est val­ues and high­est as­pi­ra­tions is not go­ing to change.”

Just to be clear

Ap­ple has re­cently been slammed for for­eign labour con­di­tions; en­vi­ron­men­tal com­mit­ments; man­u­fac­tur­ing prod­ucts out­side the US and its han­dling of tax af­fairs. The com­pany has re­sponded by of­fer­ing more trans­parency into work­ing con­di­tions and won praise from longterm critic Green­peace, which calls Ap­ple “the most in­no­va­tive and ag­gres­sive” Sil­i­con Val­ley firm when it comes to clean power.

The ev­i­dence that Ap­ple un­der Cook is pre­pared to en­gage with its cus­tomers cuts across the cor­po­ra­tion: VP Craig Fed­erighi’s jokes at WWDC 2014; plans to make OS X Yosemite avail­able to a mil­lion Mac users in pub­lic beta; and the open­ing up of APIs to its mo­bile OS. “On the gen­eral topic of open­ing up APIs, I think you’ll see us open up more in the fu­ture,” Cook told Walt Moss­berg, though he stressed this wouldn’t put the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence at risk.

Cook is per­son­ally leading the search for a re­place­ment for re­tir­ing PR chief Katie Cot­ton, seek­ing an ex­ter­nal can­di­date who can put a “friend­lier, more ap­proach­able face” on the com­pany, said Re/code. Ap­ple PR has al­ready be­come more proac­tive; “com­mu­ni­ca­tions staff have sent re­porters more favourable third-party re­ports,” the Wall Street Jour­nal said last year.

Ap­ple CEO, Tim Cook

This drive to proac­tively en­gage with au­di­ences across all its chan­nels is also re­flected in the com­pany’s mar­ket­ing mes­sages. AdAge claims Ap­ple’s as­sem­bling its own in-house mar­ket­ing team to sup­ple­ment long-term part­ner TBWA\Chiat\Day. The new mes­sage fo­cuses on how its so­lu­tions can be used to make a pos­i­tive im­pact on cus­tomer's lives. Cook’s use of Twit­ter to sup­port gay rights and en­vi­ron­men­tal causes puts him “on the cut­ting edge of an emerg­ing new mind-set in cor­po­rate lead­er­ship about val­ues and value cre­ation,” James Austin, emer­i­tus pro­fes­sor at Har­vard Busi­ness School, told The New York Times.

This drive to be­come iden­ti­fied with core val­ues seems cen­tral to Cook’s Ap­ple recipe: "We do things be­cause they’re just and right," he told

Does the de­par­ture of Katie Cot­ton (mid­dle), Ap­ple’s PR chief, presage a shift in Ap­ple’s top-down at­ti­tude?

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