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TheStreet Open House

Apple's CEO Bubbling in Pressure Cooker?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- According to All Things D, Apple (AAPL) will introduce its next iPhone at a September 10th event.

As Ina Fried -- the reporter who broke the story over the weekend -- noted, the big questions are: Will Apple release a less expensive iPhone to target the relatively thrifty segment of the smartphone market? Or will the company stick with the practice of discounting previous iterations of the device?

I vote for the latter. However, if Apple takes the less expensive route, I hope it's in the spirit of iPad mini. Rumors ahead of that launch, almost to a person, had it priced "cheap" at $199. Of course that didn't happen and, as your humble servant predicted on international telly-vision, a relatively high-priced iPad mini has been a smashing success.

Unless we get something remarkably different at this event -- as in, a considerable surprise -- we're probably not going to see innovation worth texting home about.

That said, I don't want or expect Apple to change the iPhone too much. If it ain't broke -- and don't believe the hype, it's not broke -- why fix it? iPhone doesn't need to be revolutionary.

However, Tim Cook is absolutely -- no question in my mind -- feeling the heat.

Lots of people took Charlie Gasparino's report on Fox Business News the wrong way last week. If you actually watch the way he presented the information, I thought he was quite responsible. Here's the gist of what Gasparino said:

I'm not a tech guy, but I'm a good reporter. My sources are solid. The Board at Apple is concerned about the pace of innovation. This does not mean they're to the point where they're thinking about replacing him. They just want to see something noteworthy happen.

Fair enough. And, again, responsibly stated.

That's also very different from the article I published, by pure coincidence, at around the same time as Fox had its apparent scoop. In I Don't Believe Steve Jobs Wanted Tim Cook to Be Apple CEO, I simply reiterated a position I articulated in April. In fact, I view the Board as not putting enough heat on Cook. They went all-in on the wrong guy for the job.

So, to meet somewhere in the middle, it's not much of a surprise if the Board is pressuring Cook. As part of the Board, I'm sure he's pressuring himself. My criticism of Cook isn't that he doesn't want to innovate and do great things; it's that he's simply incapable of doing so on his own and unable to will those around him to get extraordinary things done. Of course, this is all relative to Steve Jobs's performance as Apple CEO, which, admittedly, puts Cook in a near-impossible situation.

That's why I argue that if Apple wants to maintain its greatness, it needs a CEO/founder/entrepreneur with otherworldly accomplishments, such as founding Twitter and Square. Disruptive game and world changers.

No matter what's happening behind closed doors, there's a pressure cooker at Apple and it's plugged into an outlet inside the CEO's office. It shouldn't be any other way. Nor should it come as a surprise that this is the case.

I highly doubt Tim Cook is surprised.

-- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.

Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.

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