Apple CEO Tim Cook: Siri Changes Coming, Stay Tuned on Facebook, Apple TV

 
 
By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2012-05-30 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Apple CEO Tim Cook, at the All Things D event, opened up as much as the CEO of one of the world’s most secretive companies can. One area where he wasn’t coy: what he learned from Steve Jobs.

Apple CEO Tim Cook joined Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher on stage at the €œD10: All Things D€ event May 29 for conversation. Cook, famously tight-lipped, did not disappoint, offering the audience teases about future products but little in the way of news.

€œNever have I seen the things I can't talk about today,€ Cook said upon settling into his seat, making clear how little he planned to give up.

Mossberg and Swisher pulled and tugged, teamed up and formed separate attacks€”€œYou€™re killing me,€ Mossberg said at one point€”but the CEO of the notoriously secretive company offered the pair nary a detail. At least, not on anything that Apple hasn€™t formally announced.

What he did say was that Apple is going to €œdouble down€ on the secrecy surrounding its products, but about other things it€™s going to become €œthe most transparent company in the world.€

€œSocial change. Supplier responsibility. What we're doing for the environment. We're going to be so transparent in these areas because if we are, other people will copy what we're doing,€ Cook explained, according to a transcript from MacRumors. €œPeople will copy us on that and that's one area I want to be copied.€

In the past, Apple put out annual reports on such matters. Now, it€™s putting out the reports monthly. €œWe want everyone to know what we're doing,€ said Cook.

Mossberg pushed Cook on the topic of an Apple TV€”not the service Apple currently offers, but a set-top box, which Apple is widely expected to introduce later this year.

€œYou€™re right, I€™m not going to answer that question,€ said Cook.

Swisher tried another tack. €œIs Apple TV today good enough? Does it please you?€

Cook said he loves the product, though Mossberg retaliated that there€™s €œnot a lot of content on there, compared to other people€™s boxes.€

Cook disagreed, pointing to the 17,000 movie offerings.

€œEveryone has Netflix, that€™s table stakes,€ argued Mossberg. €œYou€™re not solving every problem that folks have with your current product.€

Cook agreed.

He expanded little on the topic, though he did offer, €œIt's a key part of the ecosystem. This is an area of intense interest for us. €¦ We're going to keep pulling this string and see where it takes us. Many people would say that this is an area in their life that they aren't pleased with. ... It's an interesting area. We'll have to see what we do.€

There was talk of Apple€™s on-going patent litigation, which Cook likened to Apple painting a picture that other companies keep signing. He also put it a few other ways: €œIt€™s a pain in the ass. €¦ It€™s a waste. It€™s a time-suck,€ he said. €œHowever, does it stop innovation? It€™s not going to stop us.€

Mossberg brought up Facebook, which Cook called €œa great company.€

€œBut on my Apple devices, Twitter comes up automatically,€ said Mossberg. €œFacebook has 900 million users; why can€™t I do that?€

Cook answered that the companies have a €œvery solid€ relationship. €œStay tuned on this one.€

Mossberg brought up Siri, Apple€™s digital assistant that has been the focus of several new Apple television ads. At Apple€™s Worldwide Developer€™s Conference, which will kick off June 11, an improved Siri is among the products that that Apple is expected to show off.

€œCustomers love it. It's one of the most popular features of our most popular products. €¦ But there's more that it can do. We have a lot of people working on this. You'll be really pleased with the things you'll see over the coming months,€ said Cook. €œThe breadth that you're talking about€”we've got some cool ideas about what Siri can do. We have a lot going on with this.€

Cook added that Siri proved that people want to relate to their phones in a different way. €œWhat makes Siri cool is that she has a personality. She becomes many folks' best friends.€

€œIsn't that a bit sad?€ asked Mossberg.

€œI'm not one to judge,€ said Cook.

Where he did offer his opinion was on the topic of Steve Jobs, and his legacy.

€œI learned a lot from Steve. It was one of the saddest days of my life when he passed away. As much as you could see or predict that, I really didn't. At some point late last year, somebody shook me and said 'it's time to get on.'" Cook said.

€œThat sadness was replaced by this intense determination to resume the journey. €¦ Focus is key. Not just in your company, but in your personal life as well. Do many things great and cast aside everything else. In the business we're in, own the technology. Steve was laser-focused on that, and that's ingrained in us. €¦ He also taught me that the joy is in the journey. And he taught all of us that life is fragile," added Cook. "We're not guaranteed tomorrow, so give it everything you've got.€


 
 
 
 
Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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