Apple Wraps Itself in the Bear Flag

Tickers in this article: AAPL HPQ

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Apple 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 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."