It’s not often that a publication is offered the opportunity to have a sit down with Apple’s CEO Tim Cook. On the heels of learning that Apple had purchased back $14 billion of their own stock, the Wall Street Journal were granted a rare interview with Cook where he talked extensively about Apple’s product philosophy, new product categories and the ‘European’ state of Android.
There was interesting dialogue when Cook was asked if market share in smartphone matters to him. It’s not the first time a reporter has quizzed him on Apple not wanting to take part in low-end smartphone sales, which in past interviews he’s referred to as the ‘junk business’. Cook clarified how he sees the market, summing it up by categorizing phone products in three groups. Feature phones, smartphones that function as feature phones and smartphones.
“I don’t care how many feature phones are sold. The more that are sold I look at as good because those are all potential future customers for real smartphones. The same thing goes for the second category. I’d like to convert as many of those as possible to real smartphones.”
Keeping in pattern with a line of questioning we’ve heard before, Cook was asked if he was against a bigger screen iPhone. Like before, Cook isn’t opposed to an iPhone display, provided the technology can deliver a fabulous experience.
What we’ve said is that until the technology is ready, we don’t want to cross that line. That doesn’t say we’ll never do it. We want to give our customers what’s right in all respects – not just the size but in the resolution, in the clarity, in the contrast, in the reliability.
Speaking about the current state of the smartphone market, Cook was asked if it would follow the PC market, where Apple has been relegated to a niche player. While I’d highly recommend reading the full text of his comments, he didn’t pull any punches, proudly exclaiming that over a half million apps are optimized for iPad, as compared to only 1,000 for Android tablets.
“…although not the only reason, why the experience on Android tablets is so crappy because the app is nothing more than a stretched out smartphone app.”
Android is like Europe. Europe was a name that somebody came up with for Americans who didn’t understand that Europe was a lot of countries that weren’t like U.S. states. They were very different. Android is many things. How many people who use a Kindle know that they’re using Android? And you see what Samsung is doing by putting more and more software on top. I think it’s night and day. The compare is so off.
As rumors continue to swirl amid new hires about a potential smartwatch, Apple is working on products that would fit Cook’s definition of a new product category.
There will be new categories and we’re working on some great stuff. We’re not ready to talk about it. We’re really working on some really great stuff. I think no one reasonable would say they’re not a new category.
Apple’s always working on ‘great stuff’, but these quotes appears to be specific to new products. One thing is for certain, Cook appears more confident than ever. It should certainly make for an interesting year.