|Apple CEO Tim Cook has topped a "Power List" of influential Americans by Out Magazine, a lifestyle publication aimed at the gay and lesbian demographic segment. This is the third year Cook has received the honor, but has never acknowledged his sexual orientation publicly -- leaving the magazine to make a presumption based on his unmarried status and other indicators. While not a factor in running Apple, Cook has been known to be unusually circumspect about his private life -- apart from his devotion to Auburn football.
The list ranks prominent gay people who have strong influence in American culture, and Cook is joined on the top 10 list by (in order) Ellen Degeneres, writer-director Ryan Murphy (best known for Glee), news analyst Rachel Maddow, news host Anderson Cooper, statistics guru Nate Silver, venture capitalist Peter Thiel, Fox news anchor Shepard Smith, Senator Tammy Baldwin and musician Frank Ocean.
Under his leadership, Apple's stock rose to its highest-ever level, though it has also fallen significantly from that perch. The company was also briefly ranked as the most valuable company in the world, taking the crown away from ExxonMobil for the first time in years (the oil giant has since -- barely -- reclaimed the title). Though Apple is still working on products and updates former CEO Steve Jobs set in motion, Cook has made a number of successful changes at Apple during his two-and-a-half years at the helm.
The company's iPhone and iPad products continue to sell strongly as brands (and in the case of the iPad, completely dominate the fast-growing field of tablets), and the latest iMac models have received rave reviews from publications, pundits and customers alike (though they were severely constrained until last month). The company has successfully battled Google and its subsidiary Motorola as well as rival Samsung on a number of legal fronts, winning important victories and sustaining mostly minor (and few) losses on the broad overall issues of standards-essential patents and protecting its own IP from copycats.
Apple has taken a leading role in reforming the industry-wide problem of worker exploitation and abuse in China, making very transparent and successful efforts to curb instances of underage hiring and forced overtime. It has taken a similar stand on environmental responsibility, though its position as industry leader means that it receives much more attention to its progress and occasional missteps than other companies that deal with the same issues.
Though software has been seen to be less frequently updated under Cook's reign thus far, this year's WWDC is expected to preview the next major version of OS X and iOS, both of which will be receiving design overhauls under the guidance of industrial design chief Sir Jonathan Ive. In addition, the company is seen its iPad mini take off and dominate the formerly Android-centric 7- to 8-inch tablet space, and is rumored to be working on a new television device, a possible smartwatch, and the expected new models of iPhone and iPad for release later this year.