Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke with Mashable at a ceremony yesterday honoring the recipients of the company's WWDC Scholarship Program, which awards up to 350 students and developers with tickets to the week-long Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.

The program aims to promote diversity amongst lesser-represented groups in the tech industry - such as women - by awarding tickets to WWDC for excelling in various technological or science-driven education environments. Today, when asked by Mashable why diversity is so important to Apple, Tim Cook responded simply that, "It's the future of our company."

APPLE_WWDC_BP2T4842_Vincent_Laforet

Tim Cook posing with a WWDC scholarship winner

"I view these people that I talk to today as the future generations of the company, and they will either be a part of it directly or a part of the ecosystem. And either way — when I think of Apple, I think of the whole community, not just the people that have the Apple badge."

And that future, according to Cook, should be diverse: "I think the most diverse group will produce the best product, I firmly believe that," he says. Even without taking its values into account, Apple is a "better company" by being more diverse.

Given that Apple keynotes have historically been spearheaded by white male presenters, many wondered when Apple's forward-thinking efforts in diversity would trickle down into the public spotlight at one of its big keynote events. When asked about just that, Cook hints that a more female-driven presence may occur later today at WWDC. "Look tomorrow," Cook said. "Look tomorrow and let me know what you think."

Although not an official employee of Apple, model and founder of non-profit organization "Every Mother Counts" Christy Turlington Burns partnered with the company in showcasing various uses of the Apple Watch in a weekly blog meant to build up excitement for the wearable, after first appearing on stage at the March "Spring Forward" event.

Top Rated Comments

Revearti Avatar
77 months ago
Hire skills. Period. Forget everything else.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sputnikv Avatar
77 months ago
i've never understood how diversity leads to 'better' products or is conducive for better productivity. why not just award people best suited for the job completely independent of their racial or sexual background?
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
967874 Avatar
77 months ago
Translation: You are being hired because it makes us look diverse, qualifications aside.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Benjamin Frost Avatar
77 months ago
What utter tripe from Cook.

Diversity is neither good or bad. The complete works of J.S.Bach were written by one white man. In Cook's world, he would have preferred them to have been written by a committee consisting of one ginger, one black transvestite, one deaf atheist and one homosexual drug-addict.

Hire on skill alone. Nothing else matters.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RichTF Avatar
77 months ago
Looking forward to this. For those who think that "people should be hired / promoted purely on merit" — sure, that's an admirable goal and one that I share with you. But we can't simply pretend that we're already there, close our eyes, stick fingers in our ears, and carry on as if everything is okay.

Everything is not okay. Our industry is massively skewed and unrepresentative, and the root of the problem runs deep (often all the way back to childhood). We need action to give extra support to those groups who have been historically discouraged from the tech world, and I'm proud to support a company that, hopefully, gets this.

Try and take a long term view. This is about redressing a decades-long imbalance, so that one day we really can stop worrying about inequality in the tech world, and become a true meritocracy. That day is not here yet.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Smith288 Avatar
77 months ago
Diversity in the tech world? Maybe if the same number of women show interest in the field but the number of resumes we get for a tech job is few and far between. For me to hire one woman because she's a woman even though there is 15 resumes of men infinitely more qualified is folly and leads to a lesser product. It's a numbers game. Not a fairness game.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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