Tim Cook is twisted sideways in the deep passenger-side backseat
of a black Cadillac Escalade, rolling through Manhattan from the
Flatiron district up to the company’s flagship Fifth Avenue Apple
Store — where a great glass cube sits atop Apple’s subterranean
retail center. Nobody at the store knows he’s coming. Not the
manager. Not security. There’s no timetable for him to appear. And
so for the 20 minutes or so it takes the car to wind through the
late afternoon Manhattan traffic, I have him largely to myself.
Cook likes the secrecy. He does these store drop-ins periodically
and has found that surprise visits are far better for everyone
involved, himself included. The CEO of Apple visiting one of
Apple’s many retail stores is de facto a big deal, particularly
for store employees who’d likely agonize over preparations if they
knew he was coming. So Cook keeps it quiet. “I almost always go in
unannounced,” he says. “It’s rare that I tell anyone that I’m
going. But I do try to go to stores every time I’m traveling to a
new city. It’s important.”
Interesting, but not surprising, that Cook just pops in unannounced.
Cook will appear on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert tonight.