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."
"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.