Tim Cook Discusses Apple, iPad at Investor Event

| News

Apple COO Tim Cook took the stage at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference on Tuesday to talk about Apple, the iPad and even Apple TV.

Mr. Cook said that Apple's strategy when acquiring other companies is to look for technology and talent, which often leads them to smaller companies. Apple has considered buying larger companies, but "they haven't passed the strategic or financial test. Unless we find something that really makes sense for Apple shareholders, we're not going to do it," he said.

He added that Apple is ramping up its retail store openings, and hopes to launch close to 50 stores in 2010.

On the company's relationship with AT&T, Mr. Cook said that Apple is happy with its exclusive carrier agreement for the iPhone. By limiting the iPhone to a single carrier in the U.S., Apple is able to more easily develop new iPhone features that would be difficult for multiple carriers to offer -- and he pointed out that in five of the top ten iPhone markets, Apple is working with single carrier deals.

The iPad, Apple's multimedia tablet and ebook reader, is set to launch some time in March, and Mr. Cook said the user experience "is absolutely incredible."

He doesn't expect the iPad will eat into sales of other Apple products, and he sees it as a tool to draw sales away from netbooks because it offers more than a low price tag.

Apple's own retail stores won't be the only place customers can buy an iPad. It will initially be available through Best Buy locations, too, and the company could sign distribution deals through other channels over time.

Despite Apple's strong forward movement with its product lineup, the Apple TV is still relegated to hobby status. Mr. Cook reiterated what Steve Jobs has said in the past about the company's stance on the home entertainment appliance, but added "We're continuing to invest in it because our gut tells us there's something there."

A video of Mr. Cooks talk at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference is available in QuickTime format at the Apple Web site.

Comments

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

So, Mr. Cook, how do you avoid corporate hubris?

...we are the most focused company that I know of, or have read of, or have any knowledge of. We say no to good ideas every day; we say no to great ideas in order to keep the amount of things we focus on very small in number, so that we can put enormous energy behind the ones we do choose, so that we can deliver the best products in the world.

Like they say “no” to a $500 convertible netbook mult-touch tablet with very realistic 6 hour battery life running Mac OS X. I picked up an ASUS Eee PC t91MT this week and am going to make a case for ordering 20 for the kids’ books project. Best part of all is that it already runs our software, already has access to thousands of culturally and age appropriate ebooks, and needs no approval from ASUS or Microsoft. Tweaking the reader portion of the software to take advantage of what a multi-touch capable screen gives us was a two day project. It’s a shame the kids will never see that kind of interaction on an Apple labeled machine.

Nick

@Che Bosco,

are you stupid? you should read what YOU qouted AGAIN. Apple doesn’t give a rats behind about pleasing every single want of every single person. THEY FOCUS ON A LIMITED NUMBER OF THINGS SO THAT THEY MAY PRODUCE PRODUCTS THAT ARE EXCEPTIONAL. and that is why they are a great company, THAT IS WHY THEY ARE SUCCESSFUL. so STOP ASKING THEM TO STOP BEING SUCCESSFUL. because that is really what you want. and the whole thought of it is oxymoronic.

quit whining like a baby and move on.

Magnus

Che - thanks for that insight.  I’ve been having a helluva time finding someone that’s an expert on what the iPad will and won’t be capable of so your post was really helpful.  I don’t know why people didn’t immediately shrug off the iPad and immediately point out your observation given the obvious superiority of Asus’s Eee PC, especially since it’s been such a runaway success.  It has always really bugged me that people tout Apple’s hardware and software as so good, discounting Windows obvious superiority given that so many people use it because they really just love using it and forgetting the superior build and design quality of manufacturers like Asus and Acer.  Why their obviously superior e-reader was even announced BEFORE iPad so Apple clearly ripped off their IP to produce the iPad.

p.s. - you’re an idiot.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@Nick. Actually, I’m not stupid. One of the most endearing things about Mac fanatics is that if you disagree with them, you’re “an imbecile” grin. (Edit: I hadn’t even seen Magnus’ posting when I wrote this. Some of you guys are too predictable.)

Previous generation Hackintosh netbooks are proof by example that Snow Leopard can run fine on this class of device. The processors and graphics chipsets, while not completely uniform, are uniform enough that Apple could be more than profitable licensing in this segment. Perhaps last year, cannibalization was a legitimate issue. This year, it is not. Windows 7 is 90% - 95% as good as Snow Leopard, and surely significantly better on netbooks because Microsoft has focussed on that segment so it could unload XP legacy. With a plethora of form factors and features that Apple cannot (and will not, according to Cook) explore with products that reach the market, the netbook segment of Windows 7 machine will now proceed to cannibalize the Apple MacBook lineup from the bottom up.

Let me give you a concrete example… As a hobby project, on a whim this week, I started writing a full screen alarm clock for my ASUS. I can put the thing on my night stand in “tent mode” (open screen up from tablet, set on keyboard and screen edge, orient screen upside-down). Hook up audio out to the iHome iPhone dock/speaker thingy. Now I have a bigger alarm clock with easier touchable controls than my iPhone in the morning, but still not too big for a nightstand. I’m thinking of throwing the key feature of the Alltock Procrastinators clock (Google it, I wrote that) in there, so I don’t cut waking up too close to 5:50 am. Then maybe it could annoy me enough to wake up by reading funny Twitter postings to me. Google “Tweet Your Sign”, I wrote that too. Or maybe it could grab message subjects from my mail server and give me a heads up about the disaster that awaits in my email box. Really easy project given the assets I have to throw at it. The best part of all is that my netbooks gets charged up for use all day the next day, like my iPhone does now.

So Nick, how stupid is it of me to wish that I could do that with a Mac and get that extra 5% or 10% good experience? How stupid is it of me to want to sell that to people who use Macs? I’ll probably still offer it, but it will be completely useless to Mac users because they lack a form factor where the interaction makes sense.

Doug Petrosky

And why couldn’t you write the same thing for the iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch?

Maybe I’m missing your point but assuming you have something to prop the device up with (I use a business card holder) or better yet a doc designed for holding the device, wouldn’t you get the same benefits? The SDK is free for personal use!

In general I find that many people don’t get or don’t agree with the vision Apple put forth with the iPad. To understand the idea behind it, you first have to accept what it is not. It is not trying to be a laptop because laptops are better at being laptops than tablets or netbooks.

So, now think about how you use your laptop and when it is not comfortable. Walking around, Sitting on the couch, even in those small airline seats. Now, how much better would a iPad work in those situations? What would work better?

The idea is that there are enough situations that happen often enough that people will see the value in having an iPad. Now, are you in that many situations? I don’t know, but apple is betting that enough people are that it will sell very well and I think they are correct.

Try to wrap your head around this idea…...Having a physical keyboard is a negative in some situations. Booting a full OS is not always a benefit!

webjprgm

I agree with Che Bosco.  I also find, however, that anything I want to do that Apple doesn’t let me (Mac OS X on netbook, build my own mutli-core computer with Mac OS X and a couple large LCD monitors) isn’t so important to me that I’ve switched to Windows or Linux.  If Apple would support it, I would probably do it, but I obviously don’t need to.

But who knows, I might switch one day if Apple doesn’t keep making it’s Mac OS X systems useful enough.

p.s. I think your alarm clock sounds pretty cool.  I gave up blaring-bleeping alarms long ago and have been using music on my cell phone and now iPhone.

Fretboard

Some people may have complaints about Apple.  But that’s how Apple got and stayed successful, by not doing everything for everybody.

The iPad has the potential to boost the entire tablet market and become its golden child.  Considering the App and iTunes stores, and the apps themselves, Apple will continue to grow successfully as a company and gain more customers - most importantly, repeating customers(apps/itunes not just Apple hardware).

I’m glad to see the iPad being sold at Best Buy too.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

@Doug, My iPhone on that iHome dock/speaker is my alarm clock now. My alarm clock used to be my iPod Touch. Just in my first morning of experimenting with the mockup on the ASUS, it’s a better target for sleepy fingers, hands down, pardon the pun. In particular, the home button on the iPhone and iPod Touch is just a little tricky when docked. And you need that to switch between apps. And iPhone/iPad doesn’t have text to speech as a service that apps can call, so that puts a chill on some of the features I want to do.

I can’t speak authoritatively to the ergonomics and practicality of using an iPad similarly because I don’t have one to prop up on the nightstand and just try it. Likely top heavy unless you have a heavy stand that supports the bottom 1/3 or 1/2 when standing it up. But hey, I’m more than willing to see what kind of stands third parties deliver and give one credit if it suits the general purpose.

Having a physical keyboard is a negative in some situations. Booting a full OS is not always a benefit!

In the circumstance I outlines, the physical keyboard actually makes the device stable enough to stand up :o). What the full OS does is make it so I can take code from other projects I’ve already done, and easily incorporate into my mockup. I can use a high level development environment like REAL Studio (n?e REALbasic) that spits out Mac, Windows, and Linux versions today. As mentioned previously, I get text to speech for free. And it’s quite good on Windows 7 if you haven’t heard.

You know, with Apple, it all boils down to “Not Invented Here”. Apple can’t be bothered leveraging what is cheap and available in the marketplace and adding their little special touch to it. No, they have to go out an invent a whole new platform that will only be available in form factors Steve Jobs imagines and approves of. Developers have to incur greater (often much greater) expense to target those devices, and may not be able to leverage product assets they already have. And is someone things they see a boobie, the developer’s products might be banned to quarantined in an explicit category.

iphonzie

I believe Bosco is a shill from TMO, intentionally inserting controversial opinions to get the shackles up among the Apple defenders and provide fresh comment fodder. Awesome job, keep up the good work, Bosco!

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Close. I am actually doing undercover research into cults and adherents. But seriously, Che Bosco has been around since TMO’s inception, when one Dan Hughes of FriscoSoon branched out from Cyberdog Pound and Webintosh. Here’s a mention of that history:

http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/TMO_Welcomes_Webintosh_Back_To_The_Mac_Web/

Coincidentally, it’s around that time that a younger, brasher Steve Jobs laughed as he went out of his way to p*ss all over OpenDoc (a cancelled technology after the NeXT acquisition) at his WWDC fireside chat. People don’t change. They may go into hiding for a decade or so, but they don’t change.

Log-in to comment