Tim Cook Says Apple is Always Focused on 'Products and People' Over Wall Street Expectations

Fast Company today published an interview with Tim Cook after naming Apple the world's most innovative company yesterday.

Image Credit: Fast Company/Ioulex Photography

Apple's CEO primarily reflected on the iPhone maker's culture and approach that has led to products such as the iPhone X, Apple Watch, AirPods, and HomePod, and as to be expected, he talked up the company he runs.

Cook said Apple's focus is always on "products and people," for example, rather than the company's earnings results or stock price.

Fast Company: What makes a good year for Apple? Is it the new hit products? The stock price?

Tim Cook: Stock price is a result, not an achievement by itself. For me, it's about products and people. Did we make the best product, and did we enrich people's lives? If you’re doing both of those things–and obviously those things are incredibly connected because one leads to the other—then you have a good year.

Apple is "not in it for the money" with Apple Music, for instance, according to Cook, who says the streaming music service is more about ensuring that artists are funded in order to have a "great creative community."

Fast Company: Music has always been part of the Apple brand. Apple Music has had a lot of user growth, but streaming is not a major money­maker. Do you think about streaming as a potential stand-alone profit area, or is it important for other reasons?

Tim Cook: […] Music is a service that we think our users want us to provide. It's a service that we worry about the humanity being drained out of. We worry about it becoming a bits-and-bytes kind of world, instead of the art and craft.

You're right, we're not in it for the money. I think it's important for artists. If we're going to continue to have a great creative community, [artists] have to be funded.

He added that Apple is an "outlier" in the sense that Wall Street has "little to no effect" on the company—which is the world's most valuable.

Fast Company: Do the investment markets make innovation harder? Or does Wall Street motivate change?

Tim Cook: The truth is, it has little to no effect on us. But we are an outlier. More generally, if you look at America, the 90-day clock [measuring results by each fiscal quarter] is a negative. Why would you ever measure a business on 90 days when its investments are long term?

Cook said what drives Apple is creating products that "change the world for the better" with innovative new features.

Tim Cook: Take iPhone X, the portrait-lighting feature. This is something that you had to be a professional photographer with a certain setup to do in the past. Now, iPhone X is not a cheap product, but a lighting rig–these things were tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of dollars.

He added that one of Apple's unique qualities is patience in perfecting its products, rather than rushing to be first to the market.

Fast Company: Sometimes Apple takes the lead, introducing unique features–Face ID, for instance. Other times you're okay to follow, as long as you deliver what you feel is better, like HomePod, which is not the first home speaker. How do you decide when it's okay to follow?

Tim Cook: I wouldn't say "follow." I wouldn’t use that word because that implies we waited for somebody to see what they were doing. That's actually not what's happening. What's happening if you look under the sheets, which we probably don't let people do, is that we start projects years before they come out. You could take every one of our products–iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch–they weren't the first, but they were the first modern one, right?

In each case, if you look at when we started, I would guess that we started much before other people did, but we took our time to get it right. Because we don't believe in using our customers as a laboratory. What we have that I think is unique is patience. We have patience to wait until something is great before we ship it.

Cook's comments are similar to ones he has shared in the past, and the interview portrays Apple in the best possible way, but the full article is still a worthwhile read for those who want more perspective about the company's beliefs.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
31 months ago
Didn't even read half and I can already say "Yeah right":rolleyes:

Fast Company: What makes a good year for Apple? Is it the new hit products? The stock price?

Tim Cook: Stock price is a result, not an achievement by itself. For me, it's about products and people. Did we make the best product, and did we enrich people's lives? If you're doing both of those things-and obviously those things are incredibly connected because one leads to the other--then you have a good year.

Examples:


* No Aux on HomePod.
* iPhone X price.
* Always opening store in Appstore on Mac even when you click on a notification which announces new software can be downloaded, hell you have to click twice on Updates if you click on it right after opening Appstore.
* Dongles
* ....
Score: 50 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
Sure Tim. You release incomplete products full of bugs anyway because you need sales during a designated quarter. That doesn't benefit the people and makes your products look silly. We're on to your little game. (and we still buy your stuff anyway, just to be honest)
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
As always, Cook says nothing.

If their priority would be products, they would not have had that many failed products (Mac Pro, latest Macbook Pro). You only started working on a new Mac PRo after many Pro users complained so much that Schiller had to come out and do an interview saying that Apple "still care" about their Pro users.

If their priority would be products, they would not have waited that long to upgrade the Mac mini, and the Mac Pro and the iMac.

If their priority would be people they would not have done what they did to the iPhone and cheated with the battery performance.

The only thing you care is not about innovation, products and users, but about making money with the iphones...

Sad...
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
I'm sure there will be a lot of negative post on this article but i still think Apple make great products, the iPhone X is easily the best iPhone yet (and the best smartphone on the market in my opinion) the iPad Pro is a great device that has evolved to become a more computer like device for a lot of people, the Apple Watch is easily the best smart watch on the market, the AirPods are great and the HomePod is a great sounding speaker that is worth the cost alone.

Ok i've posted my positive thoughts and agree with Tim Cook, it's now time for the negative ones to start flowing :rolleyes::p
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago
Shame on you. That it a Bald Face Lie. :apple:
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
31 months ago

Cook said Apple's focus is always on "products and people," for example, rather than the company's earnings results or stock price.

I would agree with Cook, at least if you look at Apple historically, but maybe not recently.

I am a very long time Apple fan. I have been using their products for decades, way before they were cool or fashionable.

I think at Apple's roots, they have been user experience driven company. A classic example would be the upside down Apple on the laptops.

But lately, it seems like their products, and especially the user experience has taken a backseat.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone 12 Sizes Compared with iPhone SE, 7, 8, SE 2, X, 11, 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max [Update]

Tuesday July 7, 2020 6:49 pm PDT by
Apple is planning on launching the iPhone 12 this fall which is rumored to be coming in 3 different sizes: 5.4", 6.1" and 6.7". The middle size (6.1") matches up with the currently shipping iPhone 11, but the other two sizes will be entirely new. Over the weekend, there was some excitement about how well the new 5.4" iPhone 12 compares to the original iPhone SE. Those who have been hoping...

Everything New in iOS 14 Beta 2: New Calendar Icon, Files Widget and More

Tuesday July 7, 2020 11:38 am PDT by
Apple today released the second beta of iOS 14 to developers for testing purposes, tweaking and refining some of the features that are coming in the update. Below, we've rounded up all of the changes that we found in the second beta. - Calendar icon - There's a new Calendar app icon in iOS 14 beta 2, with the day of the week abbreviated rather than spelled out. - Clock icon - The clock...

Hands On With iPhone 12 Models Showing New Sizes and Design

Monday July 6, 2020 2:04 pm PDT by
Ahead of the launch of new iPhones we often see dummy models created based on leaked schematics and specifications, with those models designed to let case makers create cases for the new devices ahead of their release. We got our hands on a set of dummy models that represent the iPhone 12 lineup, giving us our first close look at the iPhone 4-style design and the different size options. Subscri ...

Developer's Visual Comparison of macOS Catalina and Big Sur Offers Closer Look at Apple's UI Redesign for Macs

Tuesday July 7, 2020 4:00 am PDT by
macOS 11 Big Sur is the next major release of Apple's operating system for Mac, and following its preview at WWDC, one of the biggest discussions has revolved around the all-new user interface redesign. Developers are still learning what the impact the new UI will have on their apps, and with that in mind, app designer Andrew Denty has compiled an extensive visual comparison of the user...

Analyst Believes iPhone 12 Pricing Will Start $50 Higher Even Without EarPods or Charger in Box

Wednesday July 8, 2020 9:35 am PDT by
Despite multiple reports indicating that Apple will not include EarPods or a wall charger with iPhone 12 models this year, one analyst believes that pricing will still increase slightly compared to the iPhone 11 lineup. In a research note provided to MacRumors, analyst Jeff Pu forecasted that iPhone 12 pricing will start at $749 for a new 5.4-inch model, an increase of $50 over the base...

14-Inch MacBook Pro With Mini-LED Display Expected to Enter Production in 2021

Wednesday July 8, 2020 7:51 am PDT by
Apple suppliers will begin competing to win manufacturing orders for new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models with Mini-LED displays in the first quarter of 2021, according to Taiwanese research firm TrendForce. Rumors of a 14-inch MacBook Pro have surfaced since Apple replaced the 15-inch MacBook Pro with a new 16-inch model last year. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has previously said that...

Apple Seeds First Betas of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 to Public Beta Testers

Thursday July 9, 2020 10:14 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the first public betas of upcoming iOS and iPadOS 14 updates to its public beta testing group, two weeks after first providing the updates to developers after the WWDC keynote and a day after seeding the second developer betas. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing program can download the iOS/‌iPadOS‌ 14 updates over the air after installing ...

Apple's Arm-Based Macs With Apple Silicon Chips Will Support Thunderbolt

Wednesday July 8, 2020 3:14 pm PDT by
Apple is working on Macs that use its custom Apple-designed Apple Silicon chips instead of Intel chips, but Apple has committed to continuing to support Thunderbolt, reports The Verge. In a statement, an Apple spokesperson said that Apple's upcoming machines will offer support for Intel's Thunderbolt USB-C standard. "Over a decade ago, Apple partnered with Intel to design and develop...

Apple Cuts iPhone Trade-In Values as iPhone 12 Launch Nears

Tuesday July 7, 2020 7:46 am PDT by
With just two months to go until the usual timeframe for Apple's iPhone launch events, Apple is cutting back on maximum trade-in values of previous-generation iPhones for those looking to upgrade to a new model. Maximum values on more recent models have dropped by $30–$50, while older models have generally dropped by $5–$20 with a few models seeing no change in value.iPhone XS Max: $500 to...

Some iPhone Users Report Significant Battery Drain Due to Music App Background Activity in iOS 13.5.1

Wednesday July 8, 2020 1:49 am PDT by
A significant minority of iPhone users have taken to Apple's Support Communities and Reddit to report battery drain issues largely related to the Music app and high levels of background activity. Hundreds of users, many running iOS 13.5.1 on devices both new and old, are experiencing rapid battery drain when the Music app is not in use. In some cases, the background activity occurs over...