Tim Cook Talks Privacy, User Trust, Morning Routine, and More in Financial Review Interview

In a long and extensive interview with the Australian Financial Review, Apple CEO Tim Cook discussed many topics, from Apple's core values on privacy, the importance of user trust, his morning routine, App Store regulation, and more.

tim cook afr cover interview
The interview, conducted in July, is in celebration of the Financial Review's 70th anniversary. Cook begins the interview by sharing his morning routine, noting he likes to read emails from customers as it helps him keep a "pulse on what customers are feeling."

Tim Cook likes to begin his days early; he's at his desk by 4am. "I do that because I can control the morning better than the evening and through the day. Things happen through the day that kind of blow you off course," he tells The Australian Financial Review. "The morning is yours. Or should I say, the early morning is yours."

The morning routine of the man at the helm of the world's most valuable company? Reading emails from customers. Cook estimates he gets through hundreds a day. "I cannot read all of them, no. I'd not admit to doing that. But I read an extraordinary number of them. It keeps my hands on the pulse of what customers are feeling and thinking and doing"

Speaking about the Apple Watch, which since its introduction in 2015 has gained new health monitoring and tracking capabilities, Cook said emails from customers on how the device has changed, or in many cases saved their life, "really mean something" to Apple. Cook notes that his company wants to create products that "enrich people's lives, and there's no better example of that than saving someone's."

Talking about artificial intelligence, Cook notes that Apple already utilizes AI in features on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch but believes that AI is just getting started in terms of on its impact on our lives. Cook also commented on augmented reality, calling it a way to "amplify the value of technology with people, without enclosing or shutting off the real world."

He's excited about artificial intelligence, which is already "all over the current iPhone, iPad and the watch et cetera" but "we're only at the early stages of what can be done". AI will take away some of the mundane things we do every day, he says, and free up our time so we can do more of what we love."

He goes on: “I'm a huge believer in augmented reality. It can enhance our conversations that we're having, and enhance learning and really amplify the value of technology with people, without it enclosing or shutting off the real world.”

Apple is widely rumored to be working on augmented reality glasses, and the company has stepped up its efforts in recent years on building outs its AR platform. Learn more about Apple's future augmented reality plans using our comprehensive guide.

With the emergence of AI and AR becoming more mainstream in the future, Cook spoke to concerns over how technology can be utilized for harm rather than to benefit people's lives. Cook said he believes that technology's impact on society is not based on the technology itself but on how its creators and users take advantage of it.

"Technology doesn't want to be good. It doesn’t want to be bad, it's neutral," Cook says when asked about the potential downsides from tech as we move towards the middle of this century. "And so it's in the hands of the inventor and the user as to whether it's used for good, or not used for good. And it depends on creativity. It depends on empathy. It depends on the passion of the people behind the technology. At Apple, when we make something, we make sure that we spend an enormous amount of time thinking carefully about how it will be used."

As is customary for any ‌Tim Cook‌ interview, the executive also touched on privacy and its role as a core value for Apple. It's worth mentioning that the interview was conducted in July, before Apple announced its controversial plans to scan ‌iPhone‌ users' photo libraries for CSAM or child sexual abuse material. As such, Cook's privacy and user trust comments during the interview don't address those plans.

Referencing Screen Time, a built-in feature of iOS and macOS that provides users with tools to monitor the amount of time they're spending on their device, Cook said that it was an important feature to launch, pointing out the potential risks of technology losing touch with people's lives.

Cook went on to discuss privacy as a whole, noting that the topic has become more mainstream over the last few years. Cook said that he believes people's trust in some ways has been taken advantage of and that steps need to be taken to rebuild that trust.

Does he think people's trust has been taken advantage of?

"In some cases the answer is undeniably yes. And I think it's incumbent on all of us to rebuild that trust."

"I think what's happened is that there are many more people today that view privacy as a mainstream issue," he tells the Financial Review. "Ten years ago, privacy was a niche issue. Today it's one of the primary issues in people’s minds because people know that the web has become this surveillance tool in all too many cases, and that the building of detailed profiles on people has gone well beyond any kind of reasonable thing."

In several countries, including Australia, Apple is under investigation for alleged monopolistic practices and behavior that could be considered anti-competitive. Probes, still ongoing in many cases, are likely pointing to increased regulation that would Apple and how it operates the ‌App Store‌.

Cook spoke about regulation and said it needs first to be determined where regulation is needed and where its specific focus should be. The CEO also pointed out the competition that Apple faces and said that he believes "competition is inherently good."

"Well, I think scrutiny of large companies is fair. And I start from the premise that regulation is necessary in some areas. And so it becomes a matter of determining where it's necessary and where the focus should be...In our model, the user is where the power exists because it's the user who decides when they buy a phone, are they going to buy an iPhone. Are they going to buy any number of Android phones? And so it's a fiercely competitive market. And then the market inside the App Store is also fiercely competitive ...And so there's huge competition in all areas of this.

Cook said that any form of regulation that could be implemented would need to "be justified by being great for the user," drawing the comparison between regulation and product innovations. Cook also touched on the idea of Apple's tight control of the ‌App Store‌, which has become a hot button issue for the company.

Criticism, mainly driven by game developer Epic Games, is that Apple holds a monopoly over the ‌App Store‌ and that it should instead open up its devices to allow users to download apps from platforms outside of its own. Cook said that he believes doing so would be considered a backdoor.

"It's the reality. If you put back doors in a system, anybody can use a back door. And so you have to make sure the system itself is robust and durable; otherwise you can see what happens in the security world. Every day you read about a breach, or you read about a ransomware."

In the remainder of the interview, Cook spoke about his childhood, the late Steve Jobs, and more. ‌Tim Cook‌ is being featured on the cover of the Finical Review's "Platinum 70" magazine for Friday, August 20.

Top Rated Comments

dgrey Avatar
15 weeks ago
“AI will take away some of the mundane things we do every day, he says, and free up our time so we can do more of what we love."

Is he serious? Give me a break. Automation and computerization were touted back in the mid-20th Century as being able to “take away some of the mundane things we do every day….and free up our time so we can do more of what we love."

That’s not how it works out. Instead, corporations say, “Gee, it does all that work for you? Now you have more free time? GREAT! We’ll just pile more work and responsibility on you, so you’ll work the same number of hours as before (or even more), so you can get even MORE done, and fatten up our profit margins to even more obese proportions! The *corporation‘s* bottom line will benefit from this, not YOU!”

That some tech innovation will make workers lives better, and we can magically start working shorter hours and do “more of what we love” is a sick joke. It’s false, because corporations take advantage of it to push workers harder. It’s all about MONEY MONEY MONEY (and only for a select few, because they’ll pay you less at the same time).
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MrPresident Avatar
15 weeks ago
An interview conducted before the announcement of CSAM makes this article look dated.

Does he think people's trust has been taken advantage of?

"In some cases the answer is undeniably yes. And I think it's incumbent on all of us to rebuild that trust."


I wonder what his answer would be now Apple are forcing users of iCloud in iOS15 to allow their phones to be searched for ‘hashes’.

Have Apple taken advantage of peoples trust considering they promised people privacy only to announce they will review private images on their personal devices?

Do they still believe it is incumbent to rebuild that trust now they have begun to erode it?

I think Apple’s approach to privacy going forward will have to be different or they will leave them self open to criticism of being hypocritical.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MakeAppleAwesomeAgain Avatar
15 weeks ago
PR damage control is running at full capacity.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Reason077 Avatar
15 weeks ago
Frowny-face pictures of Tim always reminds me of...



Attachment Image
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dkka1 Avatar
15 weeks ago
Blah blah blah marketing BS blah blah blah
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thadoggfather Avatar
15 weeks ago
Lol at that magazine cover

total clown world has invaded every facet of culture and life

Apple has never come across more desperate.

Like someone who calls you after you have a bad first date with no chemistry — and you don’t pick up, multiple times. They don’t get the hint: we don’t like that they’ve blown their cover on privacy. The veil is lifted
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

maxresdefault

Apple CEO Tim Cook: Sideloading Apps Would 'Destroy the Security' of the iPhone

Wednesday June 16, 2021 10:49 am PDT by
Apple CEO Tim Cook this morning participated in a virtual interview at the VivaTech conference, which is described as Europe's biggest startup and tech event. Cook was interviewed by Guillaume Lacroix, CEO and founder of Brut, a media company that creates short-form video content. Much of the discussion centered on privacy, as it often does in interviews that Cook participates in. He...
tim cook apple park

Tim Cook Reveals He Owns Cryptocurrency and Has Been 'Interested in It For a While'

Tuesday November 9, 2021 7:32 am PST by
Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly for the first time today revealed that he has personally invested in cryptocurrency and that he's been interested in it "for a while." The comments came during Cook's appearance at The New York Times "DealBook" summit, where Cook was questioned on privacy, sideloading, and more. Answering whether he owns any cryptocurrency, Cook replied, "I do," adding that...
timcook

Tim Cook: Users Who Want to Sideload Apps Can Use Android, While the iPhone Experience Maximizes 'Security and Privacy'

Tuesday November 9, 2021 8:51 am PST by
Amid a heightened amount of scrutiny and tension surrounding the App Store and how users download and install apps on the iPhone, Apple CEO Tim Cook said today that customers who wish to sideload apps should consider purchasing an Android device as the experience offered by the iPhone maximizes their security and privacy. Speaking at The New York Times "DealBook" summit, Cook said that...
tim cook apple park

Tim Cook Wants Apple Devices to Be Used for Creativity, Not 'Endless, Mindless Scrolling'

Wednesday October 6, 2021 2:07 am PDT by
In a new interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he's worried about the "endless, mindless scrolling" behavior that social media inspires people to undertake and is generally concerned that people are "using technology too much." The interview conducted with Bustle touched heavily on Apple's support of Shine, an app designed to fight social stigmas around mental health issues and is "another...
Tim Cook Feature Yellow

Apple CEO Tim Cook Testifies in Epic Games v. Apple Trial

Friday May 21, 2021 8:48 am PDT by
Today is the one of the last days of the Epic Games v. Apple trial, and Apple CEO Tim Cook has taken the stand to ask questions levied by both Apple and Epic lawyers. Cook's testimony won't be integral to the outcome of the trial, but what he has to say is of interest because this is the first time that he's testified in a legal case, which highlights the serious nature of this dispute....
maxresdefault

Tim Cook Discusses Apple's New Do-It-Yourself Repair Program and More

Wednesday November 24, 2021 8:38 am PST by
Apple recently announced a new self-service repair program that will provide customers with access to Apple genuine parts, tools, and manuals for completing their own repairs of select devices, starting with iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models. Apple said the program will launch early next year in the U.S. and expand to additional countries throughout 2022. Apple CEO Tim Cook briefly shared his...
tim cook fastco

Today Marks 10 Years Since Tim Cook Became Apple's CEO

Tuesday August 24, 2021 6:24 am PDT by
On this day ten years ago, Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of the company he built and officially named Tim Cook as Apple's new head. Two months later, Steve Jobs passed away and the future of Apple lay solely on the shoulders of Tim Cook. Tim Cook took over Apple at a turbulent time when Jobs was battling pancreatic cancer and the company's future seemed uncertain. Questions were widespread...
tim cook data privacy day

Apple CEO Tim Cook: Privacy is 'One of the Top Issues of the Century'

Thursday January 28, 2021 4:23 pm PST by
Apple CEO Tim Cook this morning spoke at the virtual Computers, Privacy, and Data Protection conference where he discussed Facebook's business model and Apple's upcoming enforcement of App Tracking Transparency, and afterwards, he elaborated on some of his speech in an interview with Fast Company. Cook said that privacy is "one of the top issues of the century" and that it's important to put ...

Popular Stories

telsa cyberwhistle

Elon Musk Urges Customers to Buy 'Tesla Cyberwhistle' Instead of Apple Polishing Cloth

Wednesday December 1, 2021 4:01 am PST by
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has encouraged customers to buy the "Cyberwhistle" for $50 instead of Apple's much-discussed Polishing Cloth. The product page, which Musk shared on Twitter on Tuesday evening, offers a limited edition stainless steel whistle with the same distinctive design of the Tesla Cybertruck:Inspired by Cybertruck, the limited-edition Cyberwhistle is a premium collectible made from ...
iPhone SE Cosmopolitan Clean

New iPhone SE Reportedly on Track for Release in First Quarter of 2022

Tuesday November 30, 2021 8:08 am PST by
Apple plans to release a third-generation iPhone SE in the first quarter of 2022, according to Taiwanese research firm TrendForce. If this timeframe proves to be accurate, we can expect the device to be released by the end of March. As previously rumored, TrendForce said the new iPhone SE will remain a mid-range smartphone with added support for 5G:In terms of product development, Apple is...
maxresdefault

Five Features to Look Forward to in the 2022 MacBook Air

Tuesday November 30, 2021 1:51 pm PST by
In 2022, Apple is going to release an updated version of the MacBook Air with some of the biggest design changes that we've seen since 2010, when Apple introduced the 11 and 13-inch size options. In the video below, we highlight five features that you need to know about the new machine. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. No More Wedge Design - Current MacBook...
2017 apple tv

Cyber Monday: Original Apple TV 4K Drops to $99.99 for Amazon Prime Members

Monday November 29, 2021 12:01 pm PST by
We've been tracking Apple product and accessory deals for Cyber Monday 2021 today, and now Woot is offering a solid discount on the previous generation 32GB Apple TV 4K. You can get this device in new condition for just $99.99 if you're an Amazon Prime member. Note that this sale will last for one day only. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a...
apple top apps games 2020

Apple Reveals the Most Downloaded iOS Apps and Games of 2021

Thursday December 2, 2021 12:05 am PST by
Along with naming its editorial picks for the top apps and games of 2021, Apple today shared charts for the most downloaded free and paid apps and games in the United States across 2021. The number one most downloaded free iPhone app was TikTok, followed by YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook. The top paid iPhone apps included Procreate Pocket, HotSchedules, The Wonder Weeks, and Touch...
Mac Notebook Upgrade Program

Apple Introduces New MacBook Upgrade Program for Business Partners

Monday November 29, 2021 7:38 am PST by
In association with CIT as the financing partner, Apple has launched a new Mac Upgrade Program for small businesses and Apple business partners that allow companies to easily distribute and upgrade their fleets of MacBooks at an affordable price to all of their workers. As outlined on CIT's website, shared by Max Weinbach, Apple Business Partners can distribute the 13-inch MacBook Pro,...
airpods prototype translucent

Transparent AirPods and 29W Power Adapter Prototypes Surface in Photos

Tuesday November 30, 2021 7:16 am PST by
Images of transparent prototype AirPods and a 29W Apple power adapter have been shared on Twitter by Apple device collector Giulio Zompetti. The prototypes, which appear to be either first-generation or second-generation AirPods, feature clear plastic along the stem and around the outer side of the earbud, with the normal white plastic on the inner side of the earbud. Transparent casings are ...
apple view concept right corner

Apple Planning to Replace the iPhone With AR Headset in 10 Years

Wednesday December 1, 2021 2:29 am PST by
Apple is planning to replace the iPhone with an augmented reality (AR) headset in 10 years, a process that is apparently due to start as soon as next year with the launch of a head-mounted device, according to a recent report. Concept render of Apple's rumored AR headset by Antonio De Rosa In a note to investors seen by MacRumors, eminent analyst Ming-Chi Kuo explained that "Apple's goal is...