At today’s iPhone 5 and iPod event, Apple CEO Tim Cook was bullish on Apple’s ability to develop hardware and software products that work together. “Only Apple could do this. Apple has never been stronger. And that’s because of our employees. They are doing the best work of their lives.”

The reference to the employees is an interesting one, as there has been some recent talk about Apple Retail Store employees being laid off and their hours being cut. Apple’s new head of retail John Browett was blamed for the mistakes by many in the tech press and Apple was quick to call the changes a ‘mistake and say that they were being reversed.

Obviously, Cook was referring to the employees at Apple HQ making iOS devices and other products, but the wording seems tuned to give all Apple employees a nod and the timing makes it even more likely.

“Now, when you look at each of these,” said Cook, when referring to the new devices revealed today, “they are incredible industry leading innovation by themselves. But what sets them apart and what places us way ahead of the competition is how well they work together.”

At the event, Apple introduced what it called its best phone ever, the iPhone 5.

“It’s a jewel. It’s the most beautiful product we’ve ever made, bar none,” said Apple’s Phil Schiller.

“”We take changing the iPhone really seriously. We don’t want to just make a new phone, we want to make a much better phone,” Apple’s Jony Ive opined in a promotional video shown during the event. “iPhone 5 is the result of this. For the first time, we’ve increased the size of the display. You can see more of your content, but still comfortably use it with your hand…Never before have we built a product with this level of fit and finish.”

The iPhone has become the most important announcement that Apple makes each year, as the device now provides over 60% of the company’s revenue every year, far eclipsing its Mac business. Recently, the iPhone’s revenue actually surpassed all of Microsoft’s.

The iPhone has grown exponentially every year since its release. The curve in a recent Comscore chart displays just how dramatically the iPhone has become an essential component of Apple’s success each year.

 After recent controversy, Apples Cook praises employees “Theyre doing the best work of their lives

Image Credit: The Verge