Apple chief Tim Cook speaks out in public interview: His five most fascinating comments

It’s a rare occurrence for an Apple chief executive to conduct a public interview – so whenever it happens, analysts, entrepreneurs and gadget fans all listen very closely.

Tim Cook took to the stage at the D11 conference in New York yesterday, and managed to cover a range of topics from Apple’s share price, taxes and the future of wearable computing.

It’s an apt time for Cook to appear. After a massive burst of growth following Cook’s ascension to the chief executive role, Apple shares have experienced a massive correction. Since its high in September 2012, Apple’s share price has fallen over 37% to $444.95.

The interview also comes as concerns continue to mount over Apple’s growth rate, which has slowed even by Cook’s own admission, along with competition from Samsung and its flagship Galaxy series of smartphones.

The departure of iOS chief Scott Forstall this year, and the promotion of long-time design head Jony Ive to overseeing software design is another dramatic change.

Given Apple is experiencing a period of change, Cook’s interview comes at a fascinating time. And he certainly had curious things to say – we’ve analysed five of his most interesting statements:

Apple is working on “game changing” products

Of course it is. But it’s always good to hear Apple is working on something new, rather than relying on just yearly iterations. As Walt Mossberg put to Cook during the internet, Apple hasn’t released a game-changing product for a while.

“Many people now say that innovation means a new category,” Cook said. “Yes, we’re still a company that’s going to do that… We have some incredible plans that we’ve been working on for a while.”

Google Glass won’t be that great

Google Glass has filled the news recently, with developers having received early iterations of the device. But Cook isn’t so keen, saying while the wearable computing market is definitely viable, Google hasn’t cracked it perfectly yet.

He makes a good point – no one wants to wear glasses unless they have to.

“…there’s nothing great out there,” Cook said. “There’s nothing that’s convinced a kid that doesn’t wear glasses, or a band, or a watch, to do so… It’s an area that’s ripe for exploration.”

Based on Cook’s language, and the recent rumours of an Apple watch, the company is clearly looking to experiment in this area.

He doesn’t care about Samsung

Apple certainly has a huge chunk of the market, but that market share has weakened due to the popularity of Samsung devices, including the Galaxy S3 and S4 smartphones.

When put to Cook yesterday that competition against Apple is increasing, he wasn’t too fussed. While Samsung might sell more of a particular phone, he says, Apple creates the phone used by the most people.

“For us, winning has never been about making the most,” he said. “What the numbers suggest is that people are using our products more.”

Television is still a priority

Remember back when all the rumours were flying about Apple introducing a television product? Those seem to have died down now, but yesterday Cook said the company was still focused on changing the game in this space.

Cook said yesterday Apple has sold 13 million Apple TV devices, and “about half” of those had been sold during the past 12 months.

“When you look at the TV experience, it’s not an experience that I think very many people love,” Cook said. “It’s not one that has been brought up to date for this decade. It’s still an experience much like 10 years ago or 20 years ago.”

“There is a very grand vision,” he said. “It’s an area of incredible interest.”

On taxes

Apple and Google have been the target of criticism from various governments over its low tax bills, which it accomplishes by setting up a complex structure and holding company in Ireland.

Cook testified before Congress last week regarding the low tax rates, and yesterday, repeated his suggestions for dealing with the issues: simplify the code.

“The subcommittee was coming to certain conclusions and we felt strongly that we looked at those very differently. We thought it was very important to tell our story and view it as an opportunity instead of a pain in the ass… and get people to understand what we believe the issues really were,” Cook said.

 

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