Tim Cook Discusses Apple, iPad at Investor Event

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.