Re: The iPhone 7 is a fine example of Cook-era Apple
"I never really saw any evidence of his supposed genius for design anyway tbh."
I think you're underestimating Apple. A lot of the design goes into things like their stores, promotional material, website and print advertising, product placement and so on. It's still design. The product is just the thing you hold in your hand at the end of it, and the way you perceive it is partly due to your expectations.
Think scent, if you don't mind. The stuff pongs. Some of it is OK, some of it is a bit overpowering, but when you're young and male and your hormones are working you're more likely to be affected by the erotic associations of the woman friend who used it. [or I am just unusual, which I doubt. I can honestly say that Chanel no. 5 still has strong erotic connotations for me. However.] But the image of the stuff with the buyer is all about the advertising, the packaging, the bottle, and everything else that goes to the 5000% markup.
Apple have a very good product. Single threaded it will be significantly faster than the Kirin chip. There's no doubt that the UI is smooth and no particular IT skill is needed to make it work properly. But the product is probably no more than 10-20% of Apple's design efforts.