Just before the new iPhones launch, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Design chief Jony Ive, and Software head Craig Federighi have sat down with Bloomberg Businessweek for a wide-ranging interview. The interview does not reveal any breakthrough new information, but this seems to be the first time that Apple’s leadership has sat down for a joint interview…
The trio, which was in charge of Apple’s major iOS revamp, discuss designing iOS 7, collaboration, the new iPhones, and competition from Google’s Android operating system. First things first, Cook discussed the recent claims that “Apple is doomed:”
None of this rattles Tim Cook. Oh, he’s heard it, of course, but his soft-spoken, deliberate manner in interviews is not cover for how, say, Apple’s share price affects his mood. “I don’t feel euphoric on the up, and I don’t slit my wrists when it goes down,” he says. “I have ridden the roller coaster too many times for that.” When asked about the rise of low-cost manufacturers, he’s equally even-tempered. “It happens in every market I’ve seen,” he says. “It happens in all consumer electronics, from cameras to PCs to tablets to phones to—in the old world—VCRs and DVDs. I can’t think of a single consumer electronics market it doesn’t happen in.”
The Apple CEO also discussed the pricing of the iPhone 5c, saying that Apple never intended to make a low-cost iPhone. The iPhone 5c is simply last year’s iPhone 5 in colors – at $100 off on-contract.
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Ive and Federighi both discussed their (sometimes unhealthy?) love for Apple in context of their collaboration. The duo noted that, while their work together became noticed with iOS 7, their offices are actually close in proximity. The two shared some details on the thinking behind the iPhone 5s Touch ID fingerprint scanner and iOS 7:
What makes that collaboration work is the two men’s shared focus on usability and simplicity. Sit down with top executives from, say, Samsung’s mobile division, and you’ll probably hear a great deal about how much the company listens to the market and can move to address global needs with astonishing alacrity. Ive and Federighi will spend 10 minutes talking about how hard they worked to perfect iOS 7’s blurred-background effect. “I think, very often, you can’t call out by attribute or name areas of value,” says Ive regarding what people look for when using a product. “But I do think that we sense when somebody has cared. And one thing that is incontrovertible is how much we’ve cared.”
The line against Apple is that its pace of innovation is off, but Ive and Federighi dismiss that. The two are keen to point out not just new features, but also the deep layers of integration that went into each one. Of the 5S’s fingerprint scanner, Ive says, “there are so many problems that had to be solved to enable one big idea.” Without mentioning competitors (Samsung), it’s clear the two executives think some of what passes for innovation is illusory at best. “We didn’t start opportunistically with 10 bits of technology that we could try to find a use for to add to our features list,” Ive says.
Cook also discussed Android:
This leads Cook to a point he makes a lot: People may buy Android devices, but the ones they actually use have an Apple logo on the back. According to Web analytics company NetMarketShare, nearly 55 percent of all mobile Web activity comes from devices running iOS. Android devices made up only 28 percent. Last Black Friday, the iPad accounted for more than 88 percent of online shopping traffic from tablets, according to an IBM (IBM) survey. “Does a unit of market share matter if it’s not being used?” Cook asks. “For us, it matters that people use our products. We really want to enrich people’s lives, and you can’t enrich somebody’s life if the product is in the drawer.”
In Cook’s view, the incompatibilities between various Android versions make each an entirely different species. The Android operating systems are “not the latest ones by the time people buy,” he says. A recent survey of smartphones sold by AT&T showed 25 Android handsets; six did not have the latest operating system. “And so by the time they exit, they’re using an operating system that’s three or four years old. That would be like me right now having in my pocket iOS 3. I can’t imagine it.”
The entire interview is worth a read over at Bloomberg. We have an exclusive deal on a 1 year subscription to Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine for just $20 today. It is available for up to 3 years and comes with digital access as well. Head over to 9to5Toys for all the details.