Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook was interviewed at the D: All Things Digital conference. For the last few years, Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the same stage. Tim Cook has created some big expectations for the company as he said that they are getting ready to release some “incredible” new products.
When asked about whether Apple would develop a smaller iPhone or a TV, he refused to give any details. He also vowed that Apple will “double down” on product secrecy. “The juices are flowing,” said Cook. “We have some incredible things coming out.” However Cook said that Apple will be more transparent when it comes to issues related to social change like labor rights in China.
Cook said that he hopes that more components for Apple products will be made in the U.S.A. He noted that the iPhone processor and glass covering is being made in the U.S. “We will do as many of these as we can.” Cook said that he spends less time on design and marketing than Steve Jobs. Jobs had a passion and reputation for micromanaging these functions.
Tim Cook was asked about the lack of Facebook integration on iOS despite Facebook’s 900 million users and Apple’s partnership with Twitter, which has a lot less users. Cook kept saying “stay tuned” several times. ?Facebook is a great company.? Cook said, ?And the relationship is solid. I saw Sheryl [Sandberg, Facebook COO,] earlier outside. We have great respect for each other,? said Cook. Stay tuned could serve as an indication that an Apple and Facebook partnership is inevitable.
Cook was asked about Ping, Apple’s social network built into iTunes. He was asked if he would kill off Ping. Cook said ?some customers love it, but there?s not a huge number that do, so will we kill it? I don?t know. I?ll look at it.?
Cook added “Apple doesn?t have to own a social network, if that?s the heart of your question. But does Apple need to be social? Yes. But the ways that we express that today are integrating Twitter into iOS, and you?ll see us integrate Twitter into Mac OS with Mountain Lion. Some people think of iMessage as social.”
Cook cited Game Center as one of the social components that Apple has succeeded in. He said that Apple does not need to own a social network.
Although Tim Cook did not say anything about plans an Apple HDTV, he was ready to talk about the current Apple TV product. He said that it is a little different from other products because it is not a big hit. ?We?re not a hobby kind of company,? said Cook. ?Our tendency is to do very few things; put all of our wood behind a few arrows. And if something creeps in and isn?t a big success, we move on and put it away.?
Cook said that Apple TV is still a sort of hobby for Apple. He said that ?it?s not a fifth leg of the stool.? Cook said that they will keep plugging away at it.
?We?re going to keep pulling the string and see where it takes us. ? I think many people would say, [TV] is an area in their life where they?re not really pleased with it ? it?s an interesting area.?
Cook said that the Apple TV sales have been increasing. Apple had sold 2.8 million boxes in 2011 total. In the last six months, the company sold 2.7 million of them.
Tim Cook was asked about patents. Tim Cook said ?Well, they are a pain in the ass.? Apple is currently involved in multiple patent lawsuits with a number of different competitors in multiple countries.
?The vast majority of people suing us are suing on standards-essential patents,? said Cook. ?And that?s where the patent system is broken. ? No one should be able to get an injunction off a standards patent, because the owner is obligated to license it in a fair and reasonable manner.”
?Apple has not sued anyone over standards-essential patents that we own, because we feel it?s fundamentally wrong to do that,? Cook added. ?The problem in this industry is that if you add up what everyone says their standards-essential patents are worth, no one would be in the phone business. It?s maddening. It?s a waste. It?s a time suck. Does it stop innovation? Well, it?s not going to stop us, but it?s overhead. I wish we could settle this stuff.?
Cook is not interested in settling with companies that they feel are copying Apple.
?From our point of view it?s important that Apple not be the developer for the world,? stated Cook. ?We take all of our energy and all of our care, and to have someone else put their name on it? The worst thing in the world that can happen to you if you?re engineer and you?ve given your life to something is for someone to rip it off and put their name on it. We just don?t want people ripping us off.?
Apple’s product names seem to be very random. The first generation iPad is called iPad, second generation is called iPad 2, and third generation iPad is called iPad. The first generation iPhone is called iPhone, second generation is called iPhone 3G, third generation called iPhone 3GS, fourth generation is called iPhone 4, and fifth generation is called iPhone 4S.
?How did you guys go from an iPad to an iPad 2 to an iPad? And then from an iPhone 4 to a 4s?? asked someone in the audience to Tim Cook.
?Well you look back at iPod,? said Cook. ?We changed it a few times. We changed the size and came up with the ?iPod Nano.? Then we changed it massively and then we came up with ?iPod shuffle.??
Cook revealed that the naming conventions of Apple products do not stem from any sort of structure. Apple gives names on a product by product basis. ?We went from the MacBook Pro to the MacBook Air to the iMac. You can do it either way is the real story.?
? You can stick with the [same] name and people generally love that (I wonder why), and/or keep upping the number, or keep the same IDs like with the 4s? said Cook. Cook revealed that some choices are arbitrary. For example, the S in the iPhone 4S stands for “Siri,” but the S in iPhone 3GS stands for “speed.”
When AllThingsD co-founder Kara Swisher asked Cook was the name of the iPhone 5 will be, Cook said “Who had the next question?”
?Apple has gone through a tremendous change,? said Walt Mossberg when Tim Cook took the stage. ?How is Apple different with you as the CEO??
?I learned a lot from Steve,? said Cook. ?It was the saddest day of my life when he passed away. As much as you should see or predict that I really didn?t. It?s time to get on.?
Cook said that he admired Jobs’ “intense determination” the most. He described Jobs as being “laser-focused.” He said that the most important leadership lesson was that “focus is key.” Not just at running a company, but also in your personal life.
“Steve was good at not accepting things ‘good’ or ‘very good’ but only ‘the very best’,” said Cook. ?It?s so unique that I?m not going to witness or permit the change of it.”
?Life is fragile,? added Cook, ?We?re not guaranteed a tomorrow so give it everything you?ve got.?