February 6, 2013
When Apple issued a press release last week to announce it was upgrading its mobile operating system, it was the first time since 2010 that the company had put out a press release unrelated to a new device.
As The Wall Street Journal reports, Apple’s new mobile software lets users order movie tickets through a “virtual assistant” and adds faster network support for some European carriers. The news release is part of an increase in PR activity from a company that is usually secretive and press-shy but lately has been recognizing competitive threats.
Apple has sent journalists favorable third-party reports about the company five times since the start of the year, mostly related to its mobile market share. Even as rivals such as Samsung Electronics are starting to steal buzz and sales, in the fourth quarter Apple reportedly became the top mobile-phone vendor in the U.S. for the first time, and sales of its most important product, the iPhone, remain strong. Apple is seeing growth in countries like China, where CEO Tim Cook gave an interview to local media earlier this year.
Since taking over the company in 2011, Cook has granted only a handful of interviews, and Apple rarely allows even senior executives to speak to the media. Despite its successes, the company’s growth has slowed and its profits have flattened, with Apple shares falling about 35 percent since their record-high close of $702.10 last September. — Greg Beaubien