Apple Executives Speak on the 'Low-Cost Phone', Android's Fragmentation Issues

bloomberg_92013In a lengthy cover story interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Apple CEO Tim Cook, along with Senior Vice President of Software Engineering Craig Federighi and Senior Vice President of Design Jonathan Ive, discussed a number of topics with the magazine, such as the launch of the new iPhones including the upcoming lower-cost iPhone 5c, and thoughts on competitors, and the recurring accusation of the lack of innovation that the company is said to have had in recent years.

Speaking about the iPhone 5c and the opinion of Apple selling a “low-cost” phone, Cook stated the following:

“We never had an objective to sell a low-cost phone,” says Cook. “Our primary objective is to sell a great phone and provide a great experience, and we figured out a way to do it at a lower cost.”

Cook also spoke about Android devices and topics such as the market share between the two mobile operating platforms, stating that “It’s even more a two-operating-system world today than it was before,” and adding to that point “when you look at things like customer satisfaction and usage, you see the gap between Android and iOS being huge.” Cook also spoke about Android’s device fragmentation, an issue Apple has long pointed to as being a problem for both users and developers:

In Cook’s view, the incompatibilities between various Android versions make each an entirely different species. The Android operating systems are “not the latest ones by the time people buy,” he says. A recent survey of smartphones sold by AT&T showed 25 Android handsets; six did not have the latest operating system. “And so by the time they exit, they’re using an operating system that’s three or four years old. That would be like me right now having in my pocket iOS 3. I can’t imagine it.

Fragmentation creates complexity and what Cook calls a “compounding problem.” “It will show up in developers,” he says. “It will show up for people that no longer have access to certain apps. It will show up in security issues because if you’re not moving your customer base to the latest version, then you have to go back and plug holes in all of this old stuff, and people don’t really do that to a great degree.”

The Apple CEO also spoke about the rise and fall of mobile electronics maker Nokia:

If one part of Nokia’s story is validating, the other is cautionary. When Apple got into the mobile business, it was Nokia’s world. The Finnish company was considered something of a miracle worker. “I’m old enough to remember when Nokia had margins of 25 percent, and there was absolutely no way they were going to be dislodged from their leadership position,” says Kuittinen of research firm Alekstra. Says Cook, “I think [Nokia] is a reminder to everyone in business that you have to keep innovating and that to not innovate is to die.”

Cook last spoke to Bloomberg Businessweek in December 2012, and discussed the management shakeup at Apple initiated by the departure of former iOS chief Scott Forstall, stating that the changes were “driven by desire for increased collaboration.” Apple will begin selling the lower-cost iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s tomorrow, September 20, throughout its retail stores and online store.

Top Rated Comments

bbeagle Avatar
123 months ago
Android's fragmentation isn't an issue anymore.

You are so wrong. It's THE issue with Android right now.
Score: 64 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lotzosushi Avatar
123 months ago
Not worried huh?

Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macguy360 Avatar
123 months ago
Just be honest Tim. You thought you could increase profit margins by decreasing cost of production at the expense of your customers. Every past new iphone release has the previous model going down in price similar to $99 but this time Apple wanted to make even more money.
Way to go. I hope your plan backfires
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TWSS37 Avatar
123 months ago
So on the eve of launching two separate phones with different specs and just days after launching a legacy app program and after yesterday's iOS7 release that I can't use on my less than two year old iPod, we're bashing Android for fragmentation?
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cambox Avatar
123 months ago
Tim Cook says this about Android.. "And so by the time they exit, they're using an operating system that's three or four years old''.

Would that be the same as me buying a Mac Pro today? I'm using hardware which is older than 3-4 years old, and so out of date its a joke? Oh and I pay todays money for it? Mr Cook be careful what you say otherwise you will look silly.. You look silly and disrespectful Mr Cook and I am your customer base.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
samcraig Avatar
123 months ago
You are so wrong. It's THE issue with Android right now.
Image (http://phandroid.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Android-Platform-distribution-chart-June-2013-640x307.png)

No - it's really not an issue. "feature" phones are the ones running older OSes and those phones aren't used or need to be used in the same way as the newer smartphones.

This is what's funny. People talk about how Android is on so many cheap phones and then try and argue that Android is fragmented because the older cheap phones aren't running the current OS. None of those users care because they don't need the latest OS.

It would be like putting iOS7 on the original iPhone. Good luck.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 16

iOS 16.3 Now Available for Your iPhone With These 4 New Features

Friday February 3, 2023 1:13 pm PST by
Apple released iOS 16.3 in late January following nearly six weeks of beta testing. The software update is available for the iPhone 8 and newer, and while it is a relatively minor update, it still includes a handful of new features, changes, and bug fixes. Below, we've recapped new features in iOS 16.3, including support for physical security keys as a two-factor authentication option for...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

Gurman: Apple Considering New High-End iPhone Alongside Pro and Pro Max

Sunday February 5, 2023 6:07 am PST by
Apple has discussed selling a new top-of-the-line iPhone alongside the Pro and Pro Max models in 2024 at the earliest, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. Based on this timeframe, the device would be part of the iPhone 16 lineup or later. In a September 2022 edition of his weekly "Power On" newsletter, Gurman said there was "potential" for an iPhone 15 Ultra to replace the iPhone 15 Pro...
ipad air purple

Deals: M1 iPad Air Hits Record-Low Prices at TigerDirect, Starting at $313.99 (48% Off) [Updated]

Saturday February 4, 2023 10:05 am PST by
Online retailer TigerDirect has slashed pricing on the M1 iPad Air in several colors, offering the base 64GB configuration for just $313.99 in Purple and Pink. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with TigerDirect. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small payment, which helps us keep the site running. That's a savings of 48% compared to Apple's normal $599.00...
mac studio pink

Apple May Not Launch Updated Mac Studio With M2 Ultra Chip Due to Similarity With Upcoming Mac Pro

Sunday February 5, 2023 6:06 am PST by
A new version of the Mac Studio with the "M2 Ultra" chip is unlikely to arrive in the near future, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. In the latest edition of his "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explained that since the upcoming Apple silicon Mac Pro is "very similar in functionality to the Mac Studio," Apple may wait until the release of M3- or M4-series chips to update the machine, or...
HomePod 2 White and Midnight Feature Purple Orange

Apple Releases tvOS 16.3.1 and HomePod 16.3.1 Software Updates

Monday February 6, 2023 10:13 am PST by
Apple today released new tvOS 16.3.1 and HomePod 16.3.1 software updates, with the software coming two weeks after the tvOS 16.3 and HomePod 16.3 updates were released. According to Apple's release notes for HomePod software 16.3.1, the update includes general performance and stability improvements. Notes for tvOS 16.3.1 are unavailable as of yet, but are probably similar to the HomePod...
iPhone 15 Pro Blue Feature

iPhone 15 Pro 'Buttonless Design' Rumors: Everything We Know

Monday February 6, 2023 7:44 am PST by
The iPhone 15 Pro models will feature a "buttonless design" thanks to additional Taptic Engines, according to multiple corroborated reports, so what do we know about the change so far? Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was first to report that the volume and power buttons on this year's two high-end iPhone models will adopt a solid-state design, similar to the iPhone 7's home button, replacing a...
iphone ultra concept daehnert

'iPhone Ultra' Concept Envisions Apple's Rumored Future Top-Tier Smartphone

Tuesday February 7, 2023 5:38 am PST by
Apple has reportedly considered releasing a new top-of-the-line iPhone alongside future Pro and Pro Max models, tentatively referred to as "iPhone Ultra," and one designer has taken it upon himself to envision what such a device could potentially look like. German industrial designer Jonas Daehnert came up with this impressive-looking concept (pictured) by marrying design elements of the...
webkit vs chromium feature

Google Working on Browser for iOS That Would Break Apple's App Store Rules

Saturday February 4, 2023 1:30 am PST by
Google's Chromium developers are working on an experimental web browser for iOS that would break Apple's browser engine restrictions, The Register reports. The experimental browser, which is being actively pursued by developers, uses Google's Blink engine. Yet if Google attempted to release it on the App Store, it would not pass Apple's App Review process. Apple's App Store rules dictate...