Apple’s dividend heralds ‘changing of the guard’

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Forgetting Jobs would be nearly impossible for Cook to do anyway, given the comparisons that are regularly made between the two. Some Apple fans even comment on how Cook’s fashion tastes deem to differ from Jobs, who adopted a pair of jeans and a mock black turtleneck as his daily uniform. Cook seems to favor button-up shirts in his public appearances.

Cook hasn’t come close to matching Jobs‘ panache. The missing pizazz stood out earlier this month at Apple’s unveiling of its latest iPad. Cook spent relatively little amount of time on stage, leaving most of the presentation to several of his top lieutenants. “Steve was a vibrant and charismatic figurehead, so it’s really not fair to compare Tim’s persona to that,” says Creative Strategies analyst Tim Bajarin, who has been following Apple for 32 years.

Apple didn’t even bother anointing the third-generation iPad with a distinctive name, prompting some Apple pundits to wonder whether the company might have tried to come up with something more creative if Jobs were still running things.

Not that it mattered. The latest iPad set a new sales record during its first weekend in stores, Cook said during a Monday conference call to discuss the dividend.

That’s just the latest example of Apple’s growing prosperity under Cook’s leadership.

The company’s stock price has soared 60 percent since Cook became CEO to propel Apple’s market value to $560 billion _ the most in the world. The shares hit a new high Monday before closing at $601.10, up $15.53. In Apple’s first quarter following Jobs‘ death, the company generated more revenue than any other three-month period in its 36-year history.

Apple is doing so well now that analyst Wu expects Apple to add another $70 billion to $85 billion to its cash hoard this year. That works out to an average of $1.3 billion to $1.6 billion in cash per week.

“You would have to give Tim an `A plus’ as CEO so far,” Bajarin says. “This is probably the best transition in corporate leadership that we have ever seen. And you really have to give Steve credit for that. He really spent the last four years of his life making sure the company would be prepared to carry on without him.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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