It’s rare for the chief executive of a major tech company to make a public appearance, and even rarer for the head of Apple to do the same. But Tim Cook took to the stage at the All Things Digital D10 Conference yesterday – and revealed some interesting tidbits about what’s happening at Apple.
This is Cook’s first public appearance since he took over the top job last year, and already spectators are noticing the difference between him and his predecessor.
He’s more softly spoken; carefully choosing his words to make sure no information slips by unintentionally.
But what he did say provides good insight into what’s happening at Apple under his reign.
The interview wasn’t so much about Cook’s management style, but rather the direction of the company as a whole – here are five of the best tidbits from Cook’s appearance.
1. Improvements coming for Siri
Apple’s voice-recognition technology has been branded as a type of personal assistant, and it’s definitely filtered through tech culture in a big way.
But as Walt Mossberg pointed out on stage, sometimes it doesn’t work. How does Apple intend to address this?
“I think you’re going to be really pleased with where we’re taking Siri,” Cook said. “We’ve got some cool ideas about what Siri can do. Siri proved to us that people want to relate to the telephone in a different way.”
The new iOS is set to be previewed next month, and analysts expect an update for Siri will make an appearance there.
2. Possible integration with Facebook
The new iOS is integrated with Twitter, allowing users to tweet photos directly from the camera app and so on. But what about Facebook? As it turns out, Cook says there may be something happening here.
“I think we can do more with them, so just stay tuned on this one,” Cook said, also adding he still had respect for the company as a whole.
3. The worst kept secret – an Apple TV
It’s the biggest rumour at the moment, that Apple will enter the TV space in some form. When pressed, Cook certainly didn’t say they’re not making one.
“This is an area of intense interest to us,” he said.
Cook also expanded on the Apple TV, saying it was unusual for Apple to sell a type of experimental device. But if the rumours are true, the existing Apple TV may turn out to be a great stepping stone.
“We’re not a hobby kind of company, as you know. Our tendency is to do very few things. And, if something creeps in and isn’t a big success, we get it out of the way and put our energies on something else.”
4. Would manufacturing ever come to the United States?
This has been a big area of contention for the company, with activists having protested over conditions for Chinese workers. There has been some talk of whether Apple would ever bring manufacturing back into the United States. But is that something Cook would consider?
“I think there are things that can be done in the US, not just for the US market, but things that can be exported for the world.”
5. On keeping the culture of secrecy
Apple has always been a secretive company, making sure no information leaks out ahead of its carefully planned announcements. That policy was paramount under Steve Jobs – and it looks like Cook isn’t keen on changing that approach.
“I feel strongly that being secretive on the product side of our business is so important,” he said.
And when questioned on Apple’s need to keep creating quality products, he was adamant – “I’m not going to witness or permit the change of that”.
This article first appeared on SmartCompany.