Tim Cook “Only thing we’ll never do is make a crappy product”

Tim Cook spoke today at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. Cook spoke about a range of topics that included the culture at Apple, competition and responded to questions regarding an iPhone with a larger display or a lower-cost iPhone to address the prepaid and emerging markets.

Tim Cook

Cook spoke at length about Apple’s culture and the current executive team.

” Innovation is so deeply embedded in Apple’s culture.. the desire among our people to make the best products. There is no better place for innovation. Apple is at the center of innovation. “

With recent concern that perhaps Apple had reached a limit in growth due to the success and sales of iOS devices, Cook refuted that entire notion.

“We don’t have that word limit at Apple”.

The current smartphone market consists of 700 million and Cook sees a tremendous amount of growth moving forward.

“Projected to double to 1.4 billion in next four years. People love to upgrade their phones. I see a market that is incredible to be in. Maybe, one of the best markets of all time. Apple is only available to 50% of subscribers in the world. I see a wide open field. We built an ecosystem that is the best customer experience on the planet. Look at the PC market, there is money flowing to 2 or 3 people. The innovation has all moved to tablets and smartphones.”

During the Q&A session, the interviewer question if Apple would be able to offer a viable (low-cost) product that would appeal to prepaid customers and emerging markets.

“Our North Star is great products. We wouldn’t do anything that is not a great product. That’s not why we are on this earth. That said, if you look at what we’ve done to appeal to people are more price sensitie—— lowered price iPhone 4, iPhone 4S. We didn’t have the supply for that iPhone 4. Surprised us the level of demand.”

Cook used the iPod as a prime example of how they make product decisions. Lower-cost does not necessarily mean poor products. Using an example of how many analysts called for Apple to produce a sub $1K Mac, the company couldn’t do it, so they invented the iPad. He went on to talk about other products where they were able to make things more affordable. The iPod was $399 and today you can buy one for $49.

“Instead of how can we cheapen. How can we do a great product…”

With recent talk about Apple somehow needing to create an iPhone with a larger display, Cook used the classic megapixel argument.

“You want a fabulous experience. If you look at displays, some people focus on size. Thre are a few other things that are important. Retina display twice as bright as OLED display. Many attributes, what Apple does is sweats every detail. I think we’ve got it. Not going to comment on what we do in the future.”

Regarding the notion that perhaps Apple would not be open to either a larger display iPhone or lower cost iPhone, Cook left the door open saying,

The only thing we’ll never do is make a crappy product. The only religion we have, is that we must do something great.


  1. Baz says

    Two things here –

    1. When did ‘North Star’ fall into the lexicon of Boardroom Bingo-speak? I’ve heard it used twice in the last 24 hours – once during Obama’s ‘State of the Union’ address and the other, now with Cook. I’m feeling it’s overused already.

    2 “The only thing we’ll never do is make a crappy product…” Really, Tim? Apple’s history is pretty rife with some real clangers, while not too long ago you were apologizing for a particularly ‘crappy’ piece of software. Perhaps he meant to say, “The only thing we’ll never do is freely admit to a crappy product”?

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