Summary, quotes and hints from Tim Cook at D: All Things Digital conference


In his first appearance at a non-Apple event, Tim Cook appears on stage at D: All Things Digital conference for an in-depth interview with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg. Here are the summary of the interviews, with our hints on what to expect for Apple’s future products.

  • On Mac: “We’re never going to make the most computers, but we’re going to continue making the best.”
  • “We’re going to double down on secrecy on products. …We’re going to be the most transparent company in the world” on social change and supplier responsibility.
  • About Apple product made in the USA: “I want there to be. The engines for the iPad and the iPhone are built in the US. Not just for the US, but for the world. In Austin. The glass is made in a plant in Kentucky. Not just in the US but for other markets too.”
  • On the patent wars: “If you’re an engineer, the worst thing is for you to put your life into something and have someone else rip it off and put their name on it. We just want people to invent their own stuff and not rip us off.”
  • On Apple being sued for ripping other people: “The vast majority of those are on standards essential patents. The owner (of standards essential patents) has a responsibility to license it in a fair, reasonable manner. When someone comes to you and asks for an obscene level of money from you. They’re telling you they want to get an injunction against you and use the court system like that. In my view using it in a way not intended.”
  • Tim is quiet on the recent settlement talks with Samsung.
  • Why asked why don’t Apple have more than one iPhone or iPad model: “Our objective isn’t to make this design for this kind of price point or to make the design for this schedule or line up other things or have X number of phones. We have an overriding belief of making the best and so if we find we can do more, great. Do we have to? One of our advantages is that we’re not fragmented. We have one phone with one screen size and one resolution. It’s pretty simple if you’re developing for this platform.”
  • When asked about iPad with 7″ screen. Tim just laugh with no reply. It appears that Apple has no plan for one.
  • On TV: “Many people would say “this is an area in their life that they aren’t pleased with.” They might not be pleased with many things about it. The whole TV experience. It’s an interesting area. We’ll have to see what we do. Right now our contribution is Apple TV.” But Tim did say that “This is an area of intense interest for us.”
  • Tim did not answer when asked if Apple is building a TV.
  • On content business: “I don’t think Apple should be in the content business. We haven’t had an issue for the most part in getting content.”
  • Looks like we will see Facebook integration with iOS shortly: “Facebook is a great company I have great appreciation for them. … Stay tuned on this one.” 
  • About buying companies: “Historically, we haven’t bought a company for a revenue stream. We buy them for good people, cool IP, or a synergy with a product we’re working on. Maybe they have great skills that we can redeploy or a great feature for a product.”
  • On Siri: “It’s one of the most popular features of our most popular product — the most popular phone in the world. But, there’s more that it can do. We have a lot of people working on this. You’ll be really pleased with the things you’ll see over the coming months. We have a lot going on on this.”
  • Tim also revealed that the “S” is for Siri in iPhone 4S name.
  • Comparing with Steve: “Steve was genius and a visionary. I never viewed my role as to replace him. He was an irreplaceable person. Steve was an original and there isn’t another one of those being made. I’ve never felt the weight of trying to be Steve. It’s not who I am and it’s not my goal in life. I am who I am. I’m focused on that.”
  • On company goal: “I just want to build great products. There’s not a specific revenue goal. Companies that get confused and think their goal is revenue or a certain profit or a stock price — those things you can’t focus on and make better. You have to focus on the things that lead to those. For us, that’s all about great products. All of our energies are on that, not the result of that.”