Tim Cook Discusses His Job, Apple's Long-Term Future, AI, Virtual Reality, and More

tim_cook_headshot_glassesThe Washington Post today posted a lengthy new interview with Tim Cook, in which he discussed his first five years as Apple CEO and hinted at the company's work on augmented reality products.

When asked how he handled the scrutiny that came with the role, Cook admitted that it was something he'd had to adapt to since taking over from Steve Jobs, and that there was very little Apple could do without it being reported somewhere.

You’re both praised and criticized, and the extremes are wide — very wide. And that can happen all in a day. You build up — my skin got materially thicker after August 2011. And I don’t mean in a bad way. I don’t mean that I’m callous and don’t care. I think I’m a bit better today about compartmentalizing things and not taking everything so personally.

Asked what has changed about Apple since his tenure in the role, Cook explained that while the company's aim of making "insanely great products" remained the same, its interests had broadened in line with its tremendous growth.

The obvious things are we have more employees. The company is four times larger [by revenue since 2010]. We’ve broadened the iPhone lineup. That was a really key decision and I think a very good one. We’ve gone into the Apple Watch business, which has gotten us into wellness and in health. We keep pulling that string to see where that takes us. Lots of core technology work has been done.

Cook also explained that the company had stepped up its social responsibility and been more transparent about issues such as its environmental work, which had been "going on at Apple for decades, but we didn't talk about it." When asked how Apple could move forward when so much of its business is tied up in the iPhone and an industry that's cooling off, Cook said:

Look at the core technologies that make up the smartphone today and look at the ones that will be dominant in smartphones of the future — like AI. AI will make this product even more essential to you. It will become even a better assistant than it is today. So where you probably aren’t leaving home without it today — you’re really going to be connected to it in the future. That level of performance is going to skyrocket.

When asked about some analysts' claims that Apple's best days are behind it, Cook said the suggestion "doesn't bother him" because "he's heard it all before" and he doesn't subscribe to it "because it's traditional thinking in a lot of ways: You can't get large because you are large".

Asked about Apple's future and statements he made in the last earnings call about artificial intelligence, Cook argued that the company wasn't falling behind AI efforts by other companies and called the breadth of Siri "unbelievable":

Increasingly, Siri understands things without having to memorize certain ways to say things. The prediction of Siri is going way up. What we’ve done with AI is focus on things that will help the customer. And we announced in June that we’re opening Siri to third parties, so third-party developers can now use Siri. So a simple example with that, whatever kind of ride-sharing app you might use, Uber or Lyft in the United States, you could just — using your voice — order the car. So third-party developers are writing tons of those that will be available to the public in the fall. And that’s how we’re broadening Siri in a huge way.

Apple has had a team working on virtual and augmented reality technologies since at least early 2015, when rumors suggested there were a small number of employees investigating how Apple could incorporate the technologies into its products. Apple's interest in virtual reality dates back much further, however, and Apple has filed multiple patents over the years, for products like video goggles, motion-sensing 3D virtual interfaces for iOS devices, and 3D "hyper reality" displays. When asked if Apple had designs on the augmented or virtual reality space, Cook said:

I think AR [augmented reality] is extremely interesting and sort of a core technology. So, yes, it’s something we’re doing a lot of things on behind that curtain that we talked about. [Laughs.]

In the full interview, Cook reflects on the death of Steve Jobs, Apple's tax policies, his non-traditional view of the role of a CEO, his succession planning, and some of the mistakes he's made along the way.

Top Rated Comments

Menopause Avatar
71 months ago
5 Years of Tim Cook — The Condensed Summary Version:



+ Apple Watch bands
Score: 141 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dogslobber Avatar
71 months ago
Cue the Cook hate in 3...2..1
Critics of Cook don't hate him. That's what you're alluding to but it's just plain wrong. WE want things done the proper way, the Apple way. Not this half-assed lack of vision and focus that destroys Steve Jobs's legacy.
Score: 66 Votes (Like | Disagree)
littyboy Avatar
71 months ago
"Can you tell me about your job?"

Cook - "Yes, my job is to make sure we re-use the same tech years and years over, but continue to charge premium prices. Also, I'll continue to come out with more watch bands"
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JPLC Avatar
71 months ago
Nope nope nope! None of this is warming me up for anything. It's a non-vision.

Last keynote was a great reflection of Apple today. It's a club of seniors that make you shiver when they use words like "amazing" and "extremely" and try to be hip. It's like your stupid uncle using words like cool and awesome.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Crosscreek Avatar
71 months ago
Siri....which watchband should I innovate today?
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CFreymarc Avatar
71 months ago
In all honesty, this speech screams a prelude to Tim's resignation and possibly retirement. I bet he is hanging around for the new Apple campus to complete, take/steal credit for all the architecture awards, move in for the Spring 2017 product launch and then ride off into the sunset.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Upcoming Products 2022 Feature

Gurman: Apple Preparing 'Widest Array of New Hardware Products in Its History' for Fall

Sunday January 23, 2022 10:32 am PST by
Apple is working on a number of new products that are set to launch this fall, and Bloomberg's Mark Gurman says that it will be "the widest array" of new devices that Apple has introduced in its history. In his latest "Power On" newsletter, Gurman explains that Apple is working on four new flagship iPhones (iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Max, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max), an updated low-end Ma...
macbook pro 14 16 2021

Three Months After Launch, Apple Still Struggling to Meet Demand for Redesigned 14-Inch and 16-Inch MacBook Pro

Monday January 24, 2022 7:12 am PST by
Three months after their launch, the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros continue to experience high demand and seemingly short supply, with shipping dates for both models stretching into multiple weeks in several of Apple's key markets. In the United States, the baseline 14-inch MacBook Pro with the M1 Pro chip is estimated to ship in three to four weeks, promising an arrival by at least...
General Dropbox Feature

macOS 12.3 Will Include Cloud Storage Changes Affecting Dropbox and OneDrive

Tuesday January 25, 2022 3:31 pm PST by
Dropbox today announced that users who update to macOS 12.3 once that software version becomes available may temporarily encounter issues with opening online-only files in some third-party apps on their Mac. In a support document and an email to customers, Dropbox said it is actively working on full support for online-only files on macOS 12.3 and will begin rolling out an updated version of...
Questionable Design Decisions

Apple's Most Questionable Design Decisions in Recent Memory

Sunday January 23, 2022 2:59 am PST by
Apple has always emphasized the depth of thought that goes into the design of its products. In the foreword to Designed by Apple in California, a photo book released by the company in 2016, Jony Ive explains how Apple strives "to define objects that appear effortless" and "so simple, coherent and inevitable that there could be no rational alternative." But every once in a while even Apple...
Apple Watch Red Yellow Green Feature 1

Apple Launches Black Unity Braided Solo Loop With 'Unity Lights' Watch Face

Wednesday January 26, 2022 6:05 am PST by
Apple today announced the Black Unity Braided Solo Loop for the Apple Watch, as well as a new downloadable watch face, to celebrate Black History Month. Following the launch of the limited edition Black Unity Apple Watch Series 6 and Sport Band in 2021, Apple today launched the Black Unity Braided Solo Loop as part of its celebrations for Black History Month this year.Apple is launching a...
att gigabit internet

AT&T Bringing $180/Month 5-Gigabit Internet to 70 Cities

Monday January 24, 2022 9:20 am PST by
AT&T today announced the launch of upgraded AT&T Fiber plans, which support speeds of up to 5 Gigabits for some customers. There are two separate plans, one "2 GIG" plan and one "5 GIG" plan, available to new and existing AT&T Fiber subscribers. According to AT&T, the new plans are available to nearly 5.2 million customers across 70 metro areas including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, San...
intel vs m1 max chip purple

Benchmarks Confirm Intel's Latest Core i9 Chip Outperforms Apple's M1 Max With Several Caveats

Wednesday January 26, 2022 8:56 am PST by
Benchmark results have started to surface for MSI's new GE76 Raider, one of the first laptops to be powered by Intel's new 12th-generation Core i9 processor. Intel previously said that its new high-end Core i9 processor is faster than Apple's M1 Max chip in the 16-inch MacBook Pro and, as noted by Macworld, early Geekbench 5 results do appear to confirm this claim, but there are several...
ios 15

Apple Releases iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3 With Fix for Safari Bug That Leaks Browsing Activity

Wednesday January 26, 2022 10:00 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3, the third major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 15 operating systems that were released in September 2021. iOS and iPadOS 15.3 come almost two weeks after the release of iOS and iPadOS 15.2.1, minor bug fix updates. The iOS 15.3 and iPadOS 15.3 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in ...