Apple’s rising star: Craig Federighi

“A new frontman for Apple Inc. is emerging,” Jessica E. Lessin reports for The Wall Street Journal. “At the company’s annual developers conference Monday, little-known executive Craig Federighi got the most airtime during the keynote—and strong reviews.”

“With the spotlight came an important task for the senior vice president of software engineering: maintaining the loyalty of developers and impressing technology insiders with Apple’s latest software and designs,” Lessin reports. “The lanky, 44-year-old engineer has a long Apple pedigree. He worked at Next, the other computer company founded by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, and joined Apple when it acquired the company in 1997. But despite earning the respect of colleagues for his focus and affability, he has remained behind the scenes for years.”

Lessin reports, “Federighi’s rise caps a long climb that began alongside [Scott] Forstall — but quickly diverged. In the early 1990s, both were bright, rising stars at Next, where Mr. Forstall worked on technologies behind consumer software and Mr. Federighi worked on databases. While Mr. Federighi developed a reputation as an enterprise guru, Mr. Forstall closely aligned himself with the consumer side and Mr. Jobs.”

Read more in the full article here.


  1. “Mr. Federighi developed a reputation as an enterprise guru…”

    This is a very good thing for cementing iOS in business environments. Every business sale is a long term win for Apple.

    1. Agree, but WSJ was trying too hard with their article as Craig is no way “emerging”: he has emerged years ago, participated in many Apple presentations in Jobs’ times and later.

  2. If you put up “Read more in the full article here.”, I think a note saying “if you have a subscription” would be a good postscript to add.

    I hate wasting time going to a site that just wants to sell me.

  3. Craig is AWESOME.

    I remember seeing him for the first time a year or so ago and I thought he was funny, smart, likeable, and had great stage presence.

    Jony would be the ideal choice to lead the keynotes but it seems like he doesn’t care for the spotlight so Craig is the best presenter they have – miles away from Tim and Phil. But I just don’t get the ‘visionary’ vibe from him which Jony could definitely pull off.

    Still, major points for Craig

    1. No. He’s good; very familiar with the detail of the product (something Jobs once or twice lacked when introducing the software features). He presented well and was confident in talking to a knowledgeable audience. The pace of demo and feature description was good – possibly not so good for ‘Joe public’ in a way that Jobs seemed to be able to achieve.
      In consumer electronics form factor, design style and UI are king and that makes Jony Ive the true star. But that does not make him a good orator and in a superficial, judgemental scenario he may have chosen to leave the salesman’s ‘spiel’ to others. There is no denying Ive’s depth when speaking in video clips from the key executives involved in the latest product – but he is not going to replace Jobs’ RDF and as that is not his role in the company. It is therefore better to leave that stressful task to others better suited.

      1. Jony Ive designs the look and feel of the hardware and software. That doesn’t necessarily make him knowledgable to demo features of products… leave that to the engineers (or in Phil’s case, the marketing guy).

        These keynotes demonstrate that Apple is a very solid company with an extremely capable executive team; unlike most companies that put on circus shows, the executives at Apple KNOW their products, and demo them with excitement and confidence.

    2. Craig did an excellent job. Tim does the best he can as does Phil. You’re either a natural or you’re not. Tim looked better this time than previously so he has probably had some very good coaching. Jonny Ive is apparently not happy with doing things live. Perhaps he is the Oz of Apple? Never seen live. Doing his thing behind the curtain. That will work.

      1. Craig was fine but doesn’t have the more dramatic gravitas of Jony Ives. When you see Jony you think to yourself “THIS is the guy who actually designed all this stuff!” You really want to hear what he has to say in a similar way as it was for Steve Jobs. Phil is like the joking subversive younger brother or jovial Uncle at Apple. In many ways it’s humanity. It’s entirely excusable for Phil to make a verbal mistake or slip-up as he did calling Thunderbolt ports “Firewire” on the new Mac Pro. But that “Can’t innovate my ass” was priceless.

  4. He doesnt need the visionary points he just needs to be a good presenter. Jony seems to be more of a background not live keynote guy. And thats just fine some people dont like to do that. He is always on the videos so maybe he doesnt like live speaking or something.

    IT all comes down to there is a good team there between him, craig, phill and tim and others. They are a win win combo

  5. Phil & Craig makes a great team for presenting Apple. Craig can keep things interesting, funny and is able to impart his enthusiasm and joy of the products to his audience. While at the same time showing us how comfortable he is at actually using the products presented. Just like Steve!

    Phil is also just as passionate and gets into the technical details of the hardware, with a slightly toned down style of Craig. Phil has the unique ability to channel SJ and give the competition, naysayers, iHaters, slavish copiers a SMACK DOWN IN YOUR FACE liners to put them back in their place. Just like Steve!

    The two makes a great team.

  6. Personally I sympathise with Jony, I hate presenting and will do pretty much anything to get out of it! Some people are just a lot better at presenting under pressure. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re good at everything else!

  7. gonna sit back and enjoy the microsft and google fanboys squeal with jealousy. Yep, that’s right boys and girls, Steve Jobs surrounded himself with these kinds of people. Apple looks very bright indeed, and Jobs legacy continues.

  8. Craig had plenty of charisma and was very smooth.

    One of the most entertaining things (aside from the tech) was the recurring swipes at the worst elements of skeuomorphism. I don’t mind a little skeuomorphism, but the game center and calendar were awful. When significant changes are made, addressing the elephant in the room can be tricky and can distract from the new thing. The way he did it was not only funny, but kept the viewer focused about the new interface and not why the old one was even there.

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