Tim Cook talks Apple Watch battery, Apple Pay numbers and more in WSJ interview

tim cook wsj

Tim Cook took the stage earlier tonight at the Wall Street Journal’s inaugural WSJ.D Live conference at the Montage resort in Laguna Beach, California. The CEO participated in a lengthy interview, as well as a Q&A session, which produced some pretty interesting tidbits regarding Apple and its products.

Of course, given that Cook has done a handful of high profile interviews in recent months, you’ve probably heard some of the stuff mentioned at tonight’s event. However, he does offer up some new information regarding Apple Watch battery life, why the iPod classic was discontinued, and other morsels.

Here are some of the more notable highlights from the interview, via The WSJ Live Blog:

  • On future of the iPhone: Tim Cook says that the iPhone is still a majority of the company’s revenue, and it will continue to be a majority of its profits for the next 5 years. “The phone will get better and better.” When asked if Apple would ever develop a low-cost iPhone, he responded that Apple will go as low as it can while maintaining the customer experience.
  • On early success of Apple Pay: Cook: in the first 72 hours of Apple Pay, Apple saw over 1 million activations. It already accounts for more mobile wallets in the US than all other mobile payment options combined. “The early ramp looks fantastic.” Cook also commented on recent reports of CVS and Rite Aid deactivating their NFC payment terminals, saying “in the long arc of time you’re only relevant as a merchant if your customers love you.”
  • On Apple Watch expectations: key to Apple Watch is that it can’t be geeky, and needs to look really cool. “The Watch is profound,” and Apple is excited about new constituencies looking at it like health and fashion. When asked about Apple Watch battery life, Tim Cook said “we think people are going to use it so much you will end up charging it daily,” although he would not give actual usage expectations.
  • On the current TV experience:  “We’re living in the 1970s,” said Cook. “I believe something great can be done. What we’ll do I won’t be so clear.” Cook also applauded HBO’s recent decision to offer web-only subscriptions, noting that right now “it’s too hard to buy.”
  • On user privacy: Cook bragged about Apple privacy. “Your data is yours. We don’t keep iMessage data, record the temperature of your home or retain search history.” He added that Apple is designing a virtual Fort Knox. “We don’t read your email or your iMessages. We don’t keep any of it so law enforcement can’t get it from Apple. If law enforcement wants something, they should get it from the user.”
  • On killing the iPod classic: Apple primarily stopped making the device because it was no longer possible to source the necessary parts from anywhere in the world. And it has no plans to reintroduce the iPod classic due to a shrinking market and the expensive engineering costs it would take to redesign it. He notes, though, that there are alternatives to the classic, such as the iPod touch, which has almost the same amount of storage space.

It’s been a big couple of months for Cook, as Apple has unveiled a pair of larger iPhones, a mobile payment service, a wearable, a pair of new tablets and some new Macs. Last week the CEO reported record earnings for the company in Q4, and the upcoming holiday quarter is expected to be massive as well.