There has been a lot of talk circulating amongst Apple loyalists whether the current CEO Tim Cook could fill the gaping void left by the late Steve Jobs. Though he has proved it time and again that he can hold his own and command an audience, Tim Cook recently showed the world his mettle once more at this year’s AllThingsD D10 conference.
In a tete a tete with hosts Walt Mosberg and Kara Swisher, Tim Cook was quizzed on various topics that range from the ongoing patent wars between Apple and the various other smartphone manufacturers, Siri, further social network integration and last but not least on Apple’s future hardware.
Social Network Integration
A major topic of discussion at the D10 conference was about Apple building a social network of their own to rival the likes of Facebook. However, in his cool and composed manner Tim Cook said that it was not going to happen. When it was announced that Apple would tie Twitter in to iOS 5, it of course made sense, however, there was a fair amount of surprise that it wasn't Facebook that was integrated. It has since been speculated that Apple would do the same with Facebook and like Apple regarding their upcoming product launches, he too was guarded in his response by merely stating that the relationship between Apple and Facebook was very strong and they indeed plan to do more with the social network.
Like Twitter, will there be deeper Facebook integration?
Where Apple has successfully begun tying in Twitter on their iOS handsets and more recently in their upcoming Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion software, the brand has taken a blow where it comes to their music based social network Ping. Cook said, “We tried Ping and I think the customer voted and said this isn’t something I want to put a lot of energy into.” Though he tried to evade the question when quizzed if Ping was dead he replied that he wasn’t sure and that they would look into it.
From this, one can gather that in all probability with respect to Facebook, they may go the way they had done with iOS 5 and integrate Twitter deeply in the next OS.
For users in India, Siri may not be more than a gimmick with an attitude. However, our western brethren are certainly enjoying the fruits of it. For them, and hopefully the world over, this is only the first step and Cook revealed that the brand has many more plans for her. Tim Cook, speaking to Mosberg and Swisher said, “Siri is one of the most popular features of iPhone 4S. But there’s more that it can do, and we have a lot of people working on this. And I think you will be really pleased with some of the things you’re going to see over the coming months. We have some cool ideas about what Siri can do. We have a lot going on on this. … Sure, it can be broader, and so forth, but we see unbelievable potential here. We’re doubling down on it.”
Siri is going to be even more advanced
He carefully did not reveal what these cool ideas are but we can certainly expect to see what it may entail at this year’s WWDC event. As for how it may further benefit users, it is anyone’s guess as of now. We can only speculate that the voice recognition assistant will be removed from its beta stage and become a full fledged software.
Over the last few months, the Internet has been abuzz with talks about Apple launching an iTV, an integrated television set that features Apple’s iSight technology for FaceTime, Siri and similar in design to the brand’s Cinema Display monitors. When asked about this mythical product, Cook did not reveal anything on it but instead spoke about their Apple TV set top box instead.
Tim Cook quiet on the rumoured iTV
He shared his thoughts on the product by stating that it was different from the other products in their portfolio and the fact that it was not a big success was ok. He said that the brand was not a hobby kind of company and they do very few things but back those entirely. If the product is not a success, they move on. Cook however did admit that the Apple TV is still a hobby of sorts for the brand but it is not the fifth leg of the stool; the other big products in their line up being the iPad, iPhone, iPhone and Mac computers. He stated, “We’re going to keep pulling the string and see where it takes us. … I think many people would say, [TV] is an area in their life where they’re not really pleased with it … it’s an interesting area.”
Apple does have a track record on revolutionizing products and the television, for some years now has not really grown. Apple could step in and change the way one watches television with the way they changed how one listens to music with their iPod range of products. When asked about how the brand comes up with new stuff, he simply states that they ask themselves questions such as, “Can we control the key technology? Can we make a significant contribution — far beyond what others have done — in this area? Can we make a product that we all want?”
The Smartphone Competition
When Kara asked Cook, “How do you look at competitive landscape when it comes to smartphones?” In his simple, nonchalant way, Cook said, “I wouldn’t say we dominate it, I’d say we have the best phone.” He further went on to say that, “There are two big ones, Android and iOS. Windows Phone is just really coming to the market. We’ll see how they do.”
The flagship handset from Apple
Mossberg asked Cook whether Apple would make a $99 iPhone, to which Cook mentioned, ‘Who knows what we will do in the future. I am not going to conjecture’. He further said that, “Our North Star is to make the best product,” further mentioning that Apple’s products aren’t for schedules. “There’s not a policy or commandment that says ‘Thou shalt have One.”
One may also question Apple’s decision for not offering a cheaper smartphone along with their flagship model. Apple can argue back stating that they do indeed have two handsets in their line up even though one of them may be a handset that was the previous year’s flagship with toned down specs.
In typical Apple fashion, Cook did not spill the beans on what is to come but he did proclaim, “We have some incredible things coming.” When pressed on by the hosts, he said, “That’s a great question. I’m not going to answer it.”
Talks about the iPhone being the best
Cook also went on to talk about other topics such as the on going patent wars as well as Steve Jobs’ impact on him. Cook said that the thing he was the most impressed about regarding the late Apple co-founder was that he could change his mind really quickly. He said, “He would flip on something so fast that you would forget that he was the one taking the 180 degree polar [opposite] position the day before. I saw it daily. This is a gift, because things do change, and it takes courage to change. It takes courage to say, ‘I was wrong.’ I think he had that.”
So in conclusion, though he did not reveal much about any of their products, we know one thing is for certain that in two weeks, at the WWDC 2012 event, we can surely expect to see some incredible things.