In the days following Apple’s record Q1 earnings announcements, Apple CEO Tim Cook and other top Apple executives held a Town Hall meeting at the Infinite Loop headquarters in Cupertino to reveal new announcements and take attendee questions.
Multiple sources in attendance at the event said that Cook as well as newly appointed Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams each spoke and made announcements and teases related to new employee benefits, future iPad growth, Apple Watch sales, future retail stores in China, Apple Campus 2, and the future product pipeline.
Cook also fielded questions from the audience, attempting to reduce concerns related to the company’s iPhone dependence, discussing porting more Apple services to Android, growth in India, and releasing cheaper iPhones to appease growing markets.
iPad Air 2
Cook reportedly began his talk by putting Apple’s revenue announcements in context. He said that Apple sold enough iPhones in the holiday quarter (74.8 million units) to cover the populations of New York, London, Beijing, and Shanghai. Cook also called the Apple Watch one of the “hottest” holiday gifts, and he claimed that sales of the device exceeded those of the original iPhone in its first holiday quarter in 2007.
In response to the slowdown in iPad sales, Cook said he expects iPad revenue growth to return by the end of 2016. Cook noted that he is especially bullish on the iPad line, and sources in attendance said that Cook actually read his presentation notes off of an iPad Pro. Apple is preparing to release a new iPad next month. Cook also praised the fourth-generation Apple TV by noting that Apple sold more set-top boxes than ever during the holiday quarter.
Moving on to future products, Cook reportedly said that the new Apple TV and the tvOS sets the stage for a “bright” future for Apple in the living room. Apple has been working on a cable-replacement service, but the latest reports have indicated multiple stalls in the process.
Cook also noted his excitement over future products coming out of the software, services, and hardware divisions, while teasing some “far-off” hardware announcements coming beyond this year. Cook said that Apple is using Apple Music on Android as a way of testing the waters for growing its services division through other platforms, opening up the door for more porting in the future.
He also touched upon the new Cupertino Apple Campus 2, noting that Apple employees will likely first begin moving into the new campus by the end of January 2017. He emphasized how important the new theater will be in giving Apple flexibility to hold larger events on its own campus versus relying on places in San Fransisco or San Jose. Cook reportedly called the new campus a “gift” to the future of Apple employees.
Also on the topic of new Apple employee benefits, Cook said that Apple would soon be announcing a pair of time-off benefits for Apple employees.
First, Apple employees will now be granted up to four weeks of paid leave if they need to take care of an ill family member. Additionally, Apple’s extended maternity and paternity benefits from fall 2014 will now be available in most of Apple’s operating countries outside of the United States. Apple Retail head Angela Ahrendts is said to have added that Apple is working on new solutions for retaining employee talent across the company.
Jeff Williams also spoke briefly on the subject, touching upon Apple’s work in the supply chain. Williams reportedly said that Apple will soon announce that all of its smelted metals for products used across 2015 and beyond are either completely conflict-free or coming from smelting partners that are are amid validation for becoming wholly conflict-free.
Lastly, Cook touched upon questions involving Apple’s dependence on the iPhone and how India and other emerging markets play into the company’s future.
Cook is said to have called the iPhone the “greatest business of the future,” noting that Apple has room to grow the iPhone for decades. He menitoned that 4G LTE networks are not in every emerging market, and this gives Apple the opportunity to push its latest devices to regions like India. Cook called India one of Apple’s most important growth areas for the next decade, noting that Apple is in early preparations to bring its retail stores to the country.
Cook said that he continues to to consider China key to Apple’s future and that the company plans to open up its 40th store in China by the end of the summer. He also noted that Apple believes it does not need to release a cheaper, less feature-packed iPhone to appease growing markets. Instead, he said, Apple’s research indicates that people across these regions are willing to spend more for a better experience.
(Top image: Reuters)