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‘Dear Tim Cook’ Letters from Apple Customers Helped Shape the Development of Apple Watch and Other Products

‘Dear Tim Cook’ Letters from Apple Customers Helped Shape the Development of Apple Watch and Other Products

It was well-known that late Apple CEO Steve Jobs would occasionally respond to emails he had received from Apple customers. It turns out current CEO Tim Cook also takes selected customer emails to heart.

CNBC report over the weekend revealed how those emails are handled and are often shared with other Apple executives.

According to people familiar with how the process works, Cook has an assistant whose job it is to read the mail, forward some to him for personal attention, and share others to a group distribution list of executives on the relevant teams. They forward the letters to their reports, and so on down the chain. Many of these “Dear Tim” letters are ultimately passed around by rank-and-file employees, according to one current and two former employees.

The Apple Watch is one Apple product which saw its development influenced by messages from Apple users.

After the Apple Watch launched in 2015, the company promoted a variety of features on it, including communications, entertainment, and health and fitness tracking. But then the missives started pouring in from users, describing how the device alerted them to potentially serious medical conditions and even saved lives. After this, Apple began shifting the emphasis of the watch more toward health features.

A former Apple employee described the emails to Tim Cook concerning the Apple Watch’s positive impact on users’ health as a “surprise,” given that the device hadn’t been developed to pick up heart-rate irregularities. Similar emails helped Apple realize the device was having a more positive impact on users’ health than anyone inside the company could have realized.

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