Apple CEO Tim Cook was interviewed on stage during the opening night of the WSJDLive conference in Palm Springs, California, on Monday — during which he talked about Apple TV, Apple Watch, Apple Music, the rumored Apple Car, and more.
We’ve already covered some of the things Cook said about the new Apple TV — which will finally be available to pre-order on Monday, October 26 — but the interview delivered lots of other interesting tidbits which we’ve rounded up below.
Since making its debut in late June, Apple Music has already secured 6.5 million paying subscribers. That’s a little over a third of the 20 million Spotify currently boasts, but let’s not forget that Spotify has been around a lot longer now, and it’s available on all platforms.
Apple Music also boasts 8.5 million users who are still enjoying a free trial, and that figure should get a massive boast when the service finally arrives on Android. As far as Apple is concerned, the response to Apple Music has been “fantastic” so far, Cook said.
Apple TV still isn’t the multi-billion dollar business other Apple products are, but it is a “foundation” for a new type of experience, Cook says. Apple is still trying to fix the “broken” experience we typically get with television, which needs to be “brought up and modernized” — and part of that is allowing content makers like HBO to sell directly to consumers.
Cook still doesn’t want to disclose exactly how many Apple Watches have been sold so far for competitive reasons, but he did say that Apple “shipped a lot the first quarter, then last quarter we shipped even more.” He continued, “And I can predict this quarter we will ship even more.”
Cook also added that despite claims Apple Watch isn’t being well-received, customer satisfaction is “off the charts.”
Cook made of point of highlighting all of the new features fans get with iPhone 6s, despite the fact that the device looks identical to its predecessor. When asked whether Apple could accelerate innovation by doing away with biennial iPhone ‘S’ upgrades, Cook insisted that iPhone 6s has just as many innovations as iPhone 6 did, and that Apple always feels pressure to innovate.
Cook also spoke about the new iPhone Upgrade Program, which helps customers upgrade every year should they want to. This program isn’t designed to compete with carriers, though, Cook says.
We’ve heard a lot from Apple regarding its privacy policies in recent weeks, and Cook was keen to reiterate again that this is a key focus for Apple. Although the company works with national security agencies when necessary, Cook said that he feels “very comfortable” with the way in which Apple handles those requests. He also added — again — that Apple views “backdoors” as unacceptable.
Cook still believes, however, that Apple can provide a greater user experience while maintaining these privacy policies.
“We are not making a trade-off with customer experience. Our view is that you can have both. We think encryption is a must in today’s world. No backdoor is a must. You can’t have a backdoor that’s only for the good guys. Any backdoor is a door bad guys can exploit. No one should have to decide privacy or security. We should be smart enough to do both.”
Cook was also keen to highlight Apple’s “responsibility to be a great global citizen.” He pointed to areas in which Apple leads the way, such as the environment, human rights, and education.
Apple is focused on leaving the world “better than we found it,” Cook added, because governments aren’t doing enough. He also noted that he wasn’t worried about how customers view Apple’s stance on these things, because the company doesn’t force the same stances onto them.
Cook said Jobs was Apple’s inspiration for making a change:
“Steve formed Apple to change the world. This was his vision. He wanted to give technology down to everyone and empower everyone to use it. He wanted to take it out of the glass house, the corporations, the rich people that had the technology. That is still our drive.”
Apple just announced its 21st retail store for China, which currently provides more than 20 percent of the company’s revenue — but many more are on the way. Cook revealed that Apple is aiming to have 40 stores in China by the end of next year.
Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts has also been focusing on integrating its online and in-store shopping experiences.
As you might expect, Cook was coy about all the Apple Car rumors, and instead made the CarPlay platform the focus.
“When I look at the automobile, what I see is that software becomes an increasingly important part of the car of the future. You see that autonomous driving becomes much more important. It seems like there will be massive change in that industry,” Cook said.
“We want people to have an iPhone experience in their car. We look at a lot of things. Our model is to reduce that list to a few. We will see what we do in the future. I do think that industry is at an inflection point for massive change, not just evolutionary change.”[via 9to5Mac, MacRumors]