Apple Wraps Itself in the Bear Flag

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Apple ( AAPL) wrapped itself in the Californian flag at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) on Monday, unveiling a new ad which ended with the line "Designed by Apple in California."

"Those words mean a great deal to us and we hope that they mean a great deal to you," said Apple CEO Tim Cook, keen to end his eagerly anticipated presentation on a feel-good note.

While Apple's actual product announcements have elicited a decidedly mixed response, there's little doubt about Cook's desire to cement Apple's status as a Silicon Valley icon.

"The Valley has taken quite a few hits over the last decade," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, during a phone conversation with TheStreet. "Apple has an opportunity to become as much of a cultural influence in the 21st century as a company like HP ( HPQ) was in the 20th."

"We used to talk about 'the HP way', which was so central to the culture of Silicon Valley," he added. "I think that what Tim Cook would like to create during his tenure as CEO would be to create an analogous 'Apple Way' over the next few decades."

"The HP Way" was a famed management system which harnessed the collective brain power of company's employees. King, who lives in the San Francisco bay area, thinks that "The Apple Way" will focus on creating quality products, technological innovation and good corporate citizenship.

Big questions, of course, have been asked about Apple's innovation engine recently, something which prompted the funniest line at WWDC on Monday.

"Can't innovate anymore, my ass," quipped Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, while giving a glimpse of the company's new Mac Pro. Pointedly, he noted that the device will be made in California.

In recent years, Apple has come under close scrutiny for its use of overseas manufacturing facilities in China, which could explain the particularly U.S.-centric tone of WWDC.

"I think that the whole intent of the event was to really stress what Apple values -- they are an American company and trying to express what capitalism can be in the U.S.," explained Ernie Varitimos, who runs the AppleInvestor.com Web site. "California has been hard hit with budget issues and everything else -- I think that they Apple are trying to be an example of what an American company can be in California."

In particular, Varitimos highlighted Apple's decision to bring some of its Mac manufacturing back to the U.S., a move which was lauded by President Obama during his State of the Union address earlier this year. The Apple investor also pointed to the tech giant's trailblazing use of renewable energy, such as the vast solar panels that power its data center in Maiden, N.C.

Apple already uses 100% renewable energy at its data centers, its facilities in Austin, Texas, Elk Grove, Calif., Cork, Ireland and Munich, Germany, as well as its corporate headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.

A note on Apple's Web site says that 75% of the company's worldwide facilities have shifted to renewable energy, and the iPhone maker is targeting 100% green energy at all of its sites.

In another nod to the firm's Golden State roots, Apple named the latest version of its OS X Mac operating system "Mavericks" on Monday, in honor of the famous surfing site near Half Moon Bay in northern California. Previous versions of OS X were named after "big cats", such as "Mountain Lion" and "Snow Leopard".

OS X Mavericks will arrive this fall.

Emphasizing Apple's home-grown credentials may also be a subtle reminder to U.S. consumers at a time when the company's facing a major marketing onslaught from Korean arch-rival Samsung.

"Samsung is not a complete company like Apple," said Varitimos, a noted fan of the Cupertino firm. "Apple has the infrastructure, the ecosystem and the holistic approach."

Apple shares crept up 0.25% to $440 during Thursday's trading session.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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