Tim Cook: For iPhones, The Experience Is Key, Not Just a Larger Screen

At this morning's Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke about a number of topics including vaguely addressing rumors of a possible future iPhone with a larger screen.

arment iphone plus galaxy
Left to right: iPhone 5, Galaxy S III, "iPhone Plus", Galaxy Note II, courtesy Marco Arment

Cook focused his comments on the user experience, saying that was more important than specifications. Answering a question about larger screen sizes, Cook had this to say (transcript from Macworld):

I don't want to say what we will do or won't do [regarding a larger screen for the iPhone], and so don't interpret anything I say along those lines. Let me go back and compare it to the PC industry for a minute. The PC industry over the years, the way that companies competed were two things: specs and price. And so people would want to say, "I've got the largest drive," or, "I've got the fastest processor," or in the camera business people began to say, "I've got the most megapixels."

The truth is, customers want a great experience, and they want quality. They want that "Aha!" moment each time that they use the product. And that's rarely a function of any of those things. These are things that technology companies invent because they can't have a great experience, and so they talk about the spec of something.

Cook went on to talk about smartphone displays, saying that "some people are focused on size." He explained that some things are more important than simply size, citing the poor color saturation and brightness on OLED displays.

And so I only bring these points up to say there are many attributes of a display, and what Apple does is sweat every detail. We care about all of them, and we want the best display. And I think we've got it. I feel great about it.

I'm not going to comment about what we're going to do in the future, because that releases our magic, and I'm not going to do that. But, you know, the customer experience is always broader than that which can be defined by a simple number.

Going back to language that he has used before, Cook said that Apple will "never … make a crappy product." He said that for new products, Apple must design "something great, something bold, something ambitious."

One thing he didn't mention was Apple's frequent assertion that the iPhone's screen is the perfect size for "your thumb" -- the ability to hold and use the phone in one hand -- a fact that was mentioned in one of the first television ads for the iPhone 5.

Top Rated Comments

jmgregory1 Avatar
126 months ago
If you're "bored" with iOS and Apple in general and you're not getting the aha moment any more - switch to Android. You'll get that aha moment each time the device does what you want it to, if you can get it to do what you want it to.

Apple doesn't need to add animated icons or active weather lock screens - those kind of things are great if you're so bored you need your device to entertain you, but if you actually use your device these things seem rather pointless. Apple created such a simple OS that only takes a swipe and a click or two to get to things that can entertain you - and that's just too much work for people?

I'd hate to see how you act when it's time to open presents - and waiting for the microwave to heat up a bowl of soup must be physically painful. How can anyone be expected to wait 90 seconds for soup to heat up. But hey, while you're waiting you can stare at your Android device while it shows you it's raining outside with animated clouds and rain on the lock screen - because you don't have time to look out the window...
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GuitarDTO Avatar
126 months ago
You are correct, Tim. Experience is everything.....and I want to experience a larger iPhone or I'm likely to switch when I'm due for another upgrade.

EDIT: Wouldn't mind the ability to customize more as well. I have my Macbook Pro very personalized without sacrificing anything the OS has to offer. You couldn't pry that thing from my hands if you tried. Don't feel that way about my phone.
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
126 months ago
Not since the "one more thing..." Has there been an Aha moment.

Apple are getting predictable. Where's the ambition gone?

The only thing predictable are the comments here these days.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
g0odfr1end102 Avatar
126 months ago
"They want that "Aha!" moment each time that they use the product"

Get working on i OS7 then.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bennyboy34 Avatar
126 months ago
I haven't had an 'Aha' moment while using an Apple product for a while now..
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bradgfromboo Avatar
126 months ago
Aha. This is the same Os since 2007...get real. More like blah hah... Boring...
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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