Tim Cook talks Apple future in sweeping Fast Company interview


Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook sat down with Fast Company’s Rick Tetzeli and Brent Schlender to discuss a wide range of topics in a sweeping interview published this morning.

He discussed topics like the future of the company Steve Jobs co-founded, upcoming Apple Campus 2 (iSpaceship), Steve Jobs’ legacy and more.

The Apple CEO also addressed Apple Watch skepticism, explained how Apple lives “outside the box” and said everything about Apple can change except values.

Here are the best quotes:

Apple Watch skepticism

Commenting on complaints about the usability of the Watch and its supposed lack of purpose, Cook underscored the fact that developers will be instrumental to the success of the device, comparing it to the iPhone.

People didn’t realize they had to have an iPod, and they really didn’t realize they had to have the iPhone. And the iPad was totally panned. Critics asked, “Why do you need this?”

Honestly, I don’t think anything revolutionary that we have done was predicted to be a hit when released. It was only in retrospect that people could see its value. Maybe this will be received the same way.

He also said that the Watch is not the first wrist-worn smartwatch much like the iPad wasn’t the first tablet and the iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone on the market.

We weren’t first on the MP3 player; we weren’t first on the tablet; we weren’t first on the smartphone. But we were arguably the first modern smartphone, and we will be the first modern smartwatch—the first one that matters.

Rather than being first to market, Apple is about having “the patience to get it right,” said Cook.

Company bureaucracy

Cook said that Apple is a big company now and as it continues to grow and its influence in the world grows stronger, internal bureaucracy becomes unavoidable, which isn’t a big problem as long as it’s manageable.

We’ve turned up the volume on collaboration because it’s so clear that in order for us to be incredibly successful we have to be the best collaborators in the world.

The magic of Apple, from a product point of view, happens at this intersection of hardware, software, and services. It’s that intersection. Without collaboration, you get a Windows product.

And the rewards are greater and greater to do it right. So you’re right. It’s harder, and you are fighting gravity. But if you don’t feel like you’re in a small box, you can do it.

He added that Android suffers from the fact that the platform isn’t as vertically integrated as Apple products.

“There’s a company that pumps out an operating system, another that does some hardware, and yet another that does something else,” he said. “That’s what’s now happening in Android land. Put it all together and it doesn’t score high on the user experience.”

Apple’s values and culture

Cook did acknowledge that Apple under his regime is not the same company compared to the Steve Jobs era, though much of the corporate DNA has been intact.

Steve felt that if Apple could do that — make great products and great tools for people — they in turn would do great things. He felt strongly that this would be his contribution to the world at large. We still very much believe that. That’s still the core of this company.

He then made it clear that this isn’t a bad thing, saying everything about Apple can change except its values.

We change every day. We changed every day when he was here, and we’ve been changing every day since he’s not been here. But the core, the values in the core remain the same as they were in ’98, as they were in ’05, as they were in ’10. I don’t think the values should change. But everything else can change.

Killing legacy tech

The CEO makes a point saying that Apple is as proud of the products it chose not to do as it is of the ones it released unto the world. The same logic applies to legacy technologies, which Apple is usually first to abandon much to the (initial) dismay of the rest of the industry.

Part of the reason Microsoft ran into an issue was that they didn’t want to walk away from legacy stuff. 

Apple has always had the discipline to make the bold decision to walk away. We walked away from the floppy disk when that was popular with many users. Instead of doing things in the more traditional way of diversifying and minimizing risk, we took out the optical drive, which some people loved.

He also touched upon the subject of Apple’s abandonment of the legacy 30-pin dock connector on iOS devices in favor of a much smaller, faster and fully reversible Lightning I/O, a move that inconvenienced people who have invested in the ecosystem of accessories optimized for the 30-pin dock connector.

We changed our connector, even though many people loved the 30-pin connector. Some of these things were not popular for quite a while. But you have to be willing to lose sight of the shore and go. We still do that.

Staying informal

Commenting on the upcoming Apple Campus 2, dubbed by the press the iSpaceship due to its flying saucer like appearance, Cook said the new headquarters will improve collaboration.

It’s critical that Apple do everything it can to stay informal. And one of the ways that you stay informal is to be together. One of the ways that you ensure collaboration is to make sure people run into each other — not just at the meetings that are scheduled on your calendar, but all the serendipitous stuff that happens every day in the cafeteria and walking around.

He wouldn’t say whether the new headquarters will include an office dedicated to Apple’s late CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs.

“What we’ll do over time, I don’t know,” he said. “I didn’t want to move in there. I think he’s an irreplaceable person and so it didn’t feel right for anything to go on in that office.”

Cook said previously that Steve’s office, located right next to his own in Apple’s 1 Infinite Loop headquarters in Cupertino, California, continues to stand empty.

“So his computer is still in there as it was, his desk is still in there as it was, he’s got a bunch of books in there,” Cook says, adding that Laurene (Jobs’ widow) “took some things” to the house.

“His name should still be on the door,” he concluded. “That’s just the way it should be. That’s what felt right to me.”

The whole interview is a fascinating read so I urge you to give it a quick read by clicking the source link below.

In recent days, Fast Company published plenty of interesting excerpts from ‘Becoming Steve Jobs,’ an upcoming biography of Apple’s mercurial co-founder slated for release on March 24.

Source: Fast Company