Tim Cook Talks Apple Work Culture, Product Innovation, Self-Repair Service for iPhone and Mac, Steve Jobs, and More in New Interview

In a new wide-ranging interview with Popular Mechanics, Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses product innovation and how it drives Apple to make better products, allowing customers to repair their iPhones and Macs with the self-service repair program, Steve Jobs and his legacy, and more.

tim cook apple park
During the interview published in a special edition of Popular Mechanics, Cook describes Apple's philosophy of creating innovative new products and how Apple has fostered an environment of innovation.

They don't take any singular route, they can come from everywhere in the company. We believe in putting groups of people together focused on solving some problem for a user. You pick diverse teams that look at the problem through different lenses.

We debate about things that we do and do not do, because we know we can only do a few things well. You have to debate and say no to a lot of great ideas so that you can spend your time on the ones that are truly unbelievable.

Answering whether there was ever a time Cook first heard an idea and said, "that's cool," he recalls talking to staff about the M1 and M2 Apple silicon chips and Apple's rich history of creating chips for its products.

Oh, they happen all the time. I feel like that every day—like a kid in a candy store. We were just talking in the hallway about M2 and M1—the history there goes back well over a decade. It goes back to the genesis of the M chips, or the A chips, from iPhone and really getting in and figuring out, how do you put a powerful chip in something that small and not get it to heat up and burn up?

We found ourselves with a similar issue for laptops: How do you put something in there that is the most powerful computer chip in the world? Out of that was born M1, and now we've taken it further with M2. And Mac is now a totally different product than it was before.

Cook also described Apple as an environment where people don't take no as an answer, saying that claiming something is impossible is a driving force of motivation for Apple engineers.

Well, usually the way that you get people around here to do something is to tell them you're not sure it's doable. That's the red flag in front of the bull because a lot of people here don't take "impossible" as being true. If we convince ourselves it's in the best interest of the user, that's a compelling force for us to power through the problem.

Cook also touched on the subject of privacy, saying that Apple believes privacy is a "fundamental human right" and described the company's work in empowering users with privacy-focused features as a core philosophy.

Touching on Apple's role internationally, Cook said that Apple has a set of core values that's the company's north star, including privacy, education, accessibility, and the environment. Cook also, for the first time publicly, commented on Apple's new self-service repair program, which recently launched for the Mac. The program lets customers order the parts needed to repair their own iPhone or Mac, such as a battery or display replacement. Cook said the program is intended for customers who are technologically capable of handling repairs on their own.

There's actually something in there for everybody. We took a larger view and said, "What do people want?" First of all, they want products that don't break. So we try really hard to make products that last a long time, and that's sort of job one.

But invariably, some people do have to go somewhere for a repair. And you don't want to have to drive two hours to find a repair center. So we've added thousands of independent repair shops.

In addition to that, for the hobbyist and the tinkerer, we said, "We'll sell you certified parts" - parts that we use to repair. You can buy the part itself instead of buying a repair. And if you need a manual that tells you how to do something, you can have the manual. And if some special tools are required or fixtures required, we can give you that, too. I don't know how many people will take us up on it. It's for your reader, clearly.

Towards the end of the interview, Cook was asked what he thinks Steve Jobs would think about Apple today. He responded by saying he thinks Jobs would love some of the things, but admits for other things he might say Apple could do better.

I think about him a lot. I miss him dearly. He would always stop by my office on his way out. And there's never been a replacement for that. We would exchange tidbits on the day and talk about the future. And we try to carry on the mission that he set in place, to build the best products in the world that enrich people's lives. And that hasn't changed. Lots of things change with time. But the reason for our being is the same.

I think he would find things that he loved and things that he would say, "We can do better on that." I think he would do both. As we all do. We are never really satisfied. We're always working on tomorrow.

The full interview can be found here.

Popular Stories

iPhone 16 Pro Max Generic Feature 2

5 Biggest Changes Rumored for iPhone 16 Pro Max

Tuesday May 21, 2024 7:29 am PDT by
Given Apple's rumored plan to add an all-new high-end tier to its iPhone 17 series in 2025, this could be the year for Apple to bring its boldest "Pro Max" model to the table — the kind of iPhone 16 upgrade that stands tall above its siblings, both figuratively and literally. If you have been holding out for the iPhone 16 Pro Max, here are five of the biggest changes rumored to be coming...
iOS 17

Apple Releases iOS 17.5.1 With Fix for Reappearing Photos Bug

Monday May 20, 2024 10:11 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1, minor updates to the iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 operating system updates that came out last September. The 17.5.1 updates come a week after the launch of iOS 17.5 and iPadOS 17.5. iOS 17.5.1 and iPadOS 17.5.1 can be downloaded on eligible iPhones and iPads over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. According to Apple's...
maxresdefault

iPhone SE 4 With Face ID Said to Be Priced Below $500

Monday May 20, 2024 3:43 am PDT by
Apple is targeting a sub-$500 starting price for its upcoming fourth-generation iPhone SE model despite a raft of rumored upgrades coming to the more affordable device. According to leaker Revegnus on X, the U.S. launch price of the fourth-generation iPhone SE will either remain at the same $429 starting price as the current model, or will see an increase of around 10%. Either way, Apple's...
microsoft surface pro qualcomm

Microsoft Says New Surface Pro is Faster Than 15" M3 MacBook Air

Monday May 20, 2024 3:19 pm PDT by
Microsoft is going all in on AI, today introducing a series of Copilot+ PCs that have AI-focused hardware. The new Surface Pro is one of the first Copilot+ PCs, equipped with Qualcomm's Arm-based Snapdragon X Elite processor. Microsoft is already pitting the Surface Pro against Apple's M3 MacBook Air, and in marketing materials, claims that the Surface Pro has superior processing power and...
iPhone 15 Pro Cameras

iPhone 16 Pro Max to Feature New 48MP Wide and Ultra Wide Cameras

Tuesday May 21, 2024 3:36 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone 16 Pro Max will boast a bigger main camera sensor while both iPhone 16 Pro models will feature a 48-megapixel Ultra Wide camera for the first time, claims a rumor coming out of Asia. According to Weibo user OvO Baby Sauce OvO, the main camera of the iPhone 16 Pro Max will be based on an advanced custom 48-megapixel Sony IMX903 sensor. In contrast, the iPhone 16 Pro will use...

Top Rated Comments

mihirdelirious Avatar
23 months ago
Another PR interview with the scripted questions and talking points. Apple executives are never grilled by journalists these days. Sad
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
CuratedLanguage Avatar
23 months ago
Tim Cook says so much here without actually saying anything at all. Every response just turns into an opportunity to sell an Apple product. I don't feel like I'm reading a human being saying anything real. Should I expect to? Not through the lens of capitalism, no. But it sure would be nice to know there's a living person - and not just an uber-wealthy corporate entity - being interviewed here. This might as well be prefaced with "Sponsored" across the page.
Score: 31 Votes (Like | Disagree)
antnythr Avatar
23 months ago
Apple believes privacy is a "fundamental human right" ... until it conflicts with business interests
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BootsWalking Avatar
23 months ago
tl;dr

* Apple publicly says it's a champion of user privacy but privately earns billions a year from Google and tried to negotiate a back-room deal with Facebook.
* Apple publicly says its for human rights and freedom but manufacturers and sells its products in nations which suppress these.
* Apple publicly says it empowers its employees but privately works to discourage them from forming unions.

I think that about covers it.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
madmin Avatar
23 months ago
Before you work for tomorrow, please fix todays bugs
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
temende Avatar
23 months ago
Reading a Tim Cook interview makes me miss and appreciate Steve Jobs so much more. Steve actually had original thoughts and insights, not just generic corporate PR responses.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)