Apple CEO Tim Cook: 'Think Different' Still Embedded at Apple 'Very Deeply'

Apple CEO Tim Cook this afternoon attended the Salesforce Dreamforce 2019 event, where he sat down with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff to discuss how Apple and Salesforce "ignite productivity" on mobile devices.

During the talk, Cook did share some of the ways that Apple and Salesforce work together, but he also covered many of his favorite talking points on Apple's values, environmental efforts, privacy focus, and his memories of Steve Jobs.


On innovation, Cook said that many people confuse with innovation change, and Apple's focus on innovation is its secret.

So many people confuse innovation with change and they become convinced that innovation is just change, but we [Benioff and Cook] and our companies recognize that innovation is about making things better, not just changing them. That requires a depth of thought beyond change. That's Apple's secret.

Cook said that Apple's goal is to make the best products and enrich people's lives. "If we can't do both of those, we pass and go to the next thing," said Cook, explaining that Apple works on just a few things, but tries to do those well.

We've never set the objective to be first, we've always set an objective to be the best. We never set out to make the most, but to be the best. Make the best. That north star has helped guide us through the temptations of going for market share and other kinds of things. We just want to make the best products.

Cook then asked who in the audience owns an iPhone, and made a joke: "If you own an Android," he said, "We recycle those at the Apple Store."

The discussion turned to Steve Jobs, as Jobs unveiled multiple products at the venue where the Dreamforce event is taking place. "I can feel him and his presence whenever I come here," said Cook. "A lot of memories here."

When people think of Steve, they think about products. But I really think of the simple things that he did. Every day, he left the office before I did, but he would always stop by my office before he left and exchange notes on the day. It's the simple things like that - the friendship - that I hold. I remember him more than once rehearsing on the stage and sort of going way off script in a way that only he could do and making people laugh along the way.

Cook went on to discuss Apple's values, emphasizing the company's privacy efforts, DACA advocacy, use of 100 percent renewable energy, efforts to get its suppliers to also use renewable energy, and an "audacious goal" of using only recyclable materials. "We stretch ourselves well beyond what we're currently able do to and we want to leave the world better than we found it," said Cook. "That's very important to us.

The thing that we needed to do at Apple was keep innovating while staying true to our values. It's not simply enough to just innovate, we have to stay true to our values. We care deeply enough that we embed privacy in all of our products. [...]

We've doubled down on this many, many times. We've looked in the mirror hard because we want to be a steward of the earth. We didn't want to do the things you're legally required to do, we wanted to go way beyond that.

Cook said that Apple wants to be the "ripple in the pond" when it comes to taking on goals like improving the environment and advocating for equality and human rights. "We don't want to market, we want to do," he said. "We want to make a difference." He went on to say that Apple doesn't want other companies to copy Apple products, but Apple does want people to "copy us this way."

He also explained that the well-known "Think Different" slogan is still a major part of Apple's culture.

Think different is still embedded in Apple very deeply. We don't want to play the game as it's been designed for decades or centuries, we want to play a new game. People are so smart you can generally believe that you can do things in the same manner and you're not going to get a better result than people have gotten for decades - you have to come up with a new way of thinking.

Cook also unveiled his own personal purpose and what he believes people should strive for.

At some point, you recognize the reason we are all here is to help somebody else. That is the sole reason we are here. Once you get that in your head, as it turns out, life gets so much simpler. So much simpler. And that's how I view it.

Using that as a north star, you can make a lot of decisions that can be very complex, and you can make them pretty simple. That you're here in the service of other people. That it's not about you. I very much deeply believe that.

Cook's full discussion with Mark Benioff is available on the Salesforce website with additional insight into Apple's work with Salesforce, its values, and more.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
12 months ago
As an Apple customer for many years, I feel deeply uncomfortable about my relationship with them. On the one hand, they make great products and offer world-class services.

On the other, they are utterly reprehensible. China. The tax issue. Lobbying for cheaper tariffs. The fake platitudes and virtue signalling.

I guess most companies are this way now.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
12 months ago
We used to to assume that "Think Different" was really closely related to "Think better", but we've found out recently that is not the case any more.

Anyway, Cook's Apple is about using press appearances to try to change the narrative, instead of letting the product make the narrative.

Say what you want, but Jobs relied a lot on the product to make his points, Cook not so much.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
12 months ago
Ah yes, embedded very deeply. Might need a shovel to get at any of it.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
12 months ago
"iPad is a real computer" Boom! Think different.
"Disposable butterfly keyboards" Boom! Think different.
"We're a services company now" Boom! Think different.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
12 months ago
well... he does think different from steve
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
12 months ago
Think Different

Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

New Photos Offer Better Look at iPhone 12 Color Options

Tuesday October 20, 2020 2:34 am PDT by
As we wait for the iPhone 12 review embargo to lift later today, more pictures are circulating of the devices in real-world lighting conditions, providing a better look at the different colors available. Leaker DuanRui has shared images on Twitter of the iPhone 12 in white, black, blue, green, and (PRODUCT)RED. The black and white colors are similar to the iPhone 11 colors, but the other...

iPhone 12 Pro in Graphite and iPhone 12 in Blue Shown Off in Unboxing Videos

Monday October 19, 2020 8:20 am PDT by
While the iPhone 12 Pro does not launch until Friday, we now have an early unboxing video of the device courtesy of Twitter account DuanRui, providing a closer look at the shiny new flat-edge design and sleek Graphite color option. Ben Geskin re-uploaded the unboxing video to YouTube, which we've embedded below: Geskin has also uploaded an unboxing video of the iPhone 12 in Blue: ...

Apple Releases iPadOS and iOS 14.1 With Multiple Bug Fixes Ahead of iPhone 12 Launch

Tuesday October 20, 2020 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.1, the first major updates to the iOS and iPadOS 14 operating system updates that were released in September. iOS and iPadOS 14.1 come a week after Apple released the golden master versions of the updates to developers. The iOS 14.1 update can be downloaded for free and it is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access...

Watch: iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro Unboxing Videos and First Impressions

Tuesday October 20, 2020 6:05 am PDT by
Apple's embargo has lifted for iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro reviews. In addition to our detailed review roundups for each device, we've rounded up over a dozen unboxing videos and first impressions below. iPhone 12 in Blue on left and iPhone 12 Pro in Pacific Blue on right via Engadget Key new features of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro include a flat-edge design, 5G support, a much faster A14 ...

Gold Version of iPhone 12 Pro Apparently Has a More Fingerprint Resistant Stainless Steel Frame

Tuesday October 20, 2020 11:56 am PDT by
iPhone 12 Pro reviews hit the web today, and one of the more interesting tidbits came from TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino, who revealed that the Gold version of the device apparently has a more fingerprint resistant coating applied to the stainless steel frame. From his review:Most of the iPhone 12 Pro finishes still use a physical vapor deposition process for edge coating. But the new gold...

Photographer Austin Mann Tests the iPhone 12 Pro's Camera

Wednesday October 21, 2020 4:14 am PDT by
Travel photographer Austin Mann usually performs an in-depth review of new iPhone models to test their camera performance in real-world scenarios. To test Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro, Mann traveled to Glacier National Park, Montana. Mann focused on some of the biggest camera upgrades with the iPhone 12 Pro, including the upgraded Wide lens, Ultra Wide Night mode, and LiDAR autofocus, across a...

iPhone 12 Pro Max Has Smaller 3,687 mAh Battery According to Regulatory Filing

Tuesday October 20, 2020 8:48 pm PDT by
Apple's new iPhone 12 Pro Max is equipped with a 3,687 mAh battery, which is around 7% less capacity than the 3,969 mAh battery in the iPhone 11 Pro Max, according to a regulatory filing published by TENAA, the Chinese equivalent of the FCC. The regulatory filing, spotted by MacRumors, also lists the iPhone 12 Pro Max with 6GB of RAM as seen in benchmark results last week. Apple has filed ...

5G Drains iPhone 12 Battery 20% Faster Than 4G in Benchmark

Wednesday October 21, 2020 3:17 am PDT by
After the first reviews for the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro emerged yesterday, a new report by Tom's Guide reveals the extent of battery life reductions when using 5G. The report outlines a test wherein the iPhone surfs the web continuously at 150 nits of screen brightness, launching a new site every 30 seconds until the battery drains. Interestingly, the test was run on an iPhone 12 and...

Hands-On With Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro MagSafe Cases

Tuesday October 20, 2020 1:33 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are launching this Friday, and ahead of that release date, Apple is shipping out various accessories like the MagSafe charger and MagSafe cases. Yesterday we took a look at the MagSafe charger, and today our MagSafe case came in the mail, so we thought we'd take another look at the charger to see how it works with the case and just how strong the case magnets are. S ...

Reliable Leaker Suggests AirTags 'Coming Soon' in Two Different Sizes

Tuesday October 20, 2020 1:53 am PDT by
Apple's rumored AirTags Bluetooth tracking devices could launch imminently and will be available in two size options, based on new tweets from cryptic-but-reliable leaker L0vetodream. In typical enigmatic style, the leaker first tweeted this morning that a "big one" and a "small one" are "coming soon," but withheld what they were referring to. However that was followed an hour later with the ...