SAN FRANCISCO —
The Beats deal looks like a distress signal to Yukari Iwatani Kane, the author of a new book called "Haunted Empire" that explores how Apple has changed since Jobs' death.
"When companies start expanding their accessory line-up, it's a worrisome sign for innovation," Kane says. "Accessories have always been an easy way for any company to beef up their sales."
Concerns about Apple's innovation drought have been heightened by Cook's management style.
Although he has always been a highly respected executive, Cook focused on managing Apple's product inventory and component needs before he had to start filling in for Jobs during the periodic leaves he took while battling cancer in the final seven years of his life.
Cook's adroit handling of the more tedious side of Apple's business proved to be an ideal complement for the visionary Jobs, who preferred to pour his energy into conceiving new devices and then driving Apple's engineering team to build them to his exacting standards.
Cook is "the guy who liked doing everything that Steve Jobs hated to do," Enderle says. "When you make Jobs' polar opposite the CEO, it's probably not going to work out well."