In a Fortune interview with Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO suggested that Apple is not yet committed to making a car, but is only exploring the idea at this stage. Asked by Adam Lashinsky why Apple wouldn’t comment on its plans given that it is known to have acquired a high-profile team to work on the project, Cook said hiring people wasn’t the point at which the company committed itself.

We don’t have to spend large amounts to explore. So I can’t talk about this certain area that you’re talking about. But when we start spending large amounts of money, we’re committed at that point. But we explore things with teams of people. And that’s a part of being curious […]

Once we start spending gobs of money—like when we start spending on tooling and things like that—we’re committed … 

Lashinsky also asked how Cook responded to ‘peak iPhone‘ concerns …

Cook gave the usual company line, stating that the company focuses on products, not financials.

I’m good at blocking out the noise. I come back to, Are we doing the right things? Are we remembering our North Star? Are we focused on making the best products that really help people enrich their lives in some way? And we’re doing all those things. People really love our products. Customers are happy. And that’s what drives us. Over time I’m sure that everything else will catch up.

Cook also argued that cycles tend to be good for innovation – at least in Apple’s case.

I think, in sort of a bizarre way, cycles can be really great. They have been for Apple because we tend to steadfastly continue to invest in innovation. And what other companies tend to do is retreat. Some of our greatest innovations and products were born in a period of challenge. Also, assets get cheaper, so you can double down on innovation through the downturn.

He also promised that Apple Pay is on the way to new retailers.

In the last couple of quarters we’ve seen a dramatic uptick as more merchants accept it. But over the next few months you’ll see it going into places that people use daily.

Cook noted that Apple doesn’t yet have a date to move into its new Spaceship campus beyond “early 2017,” and that it is still talking about how the company would pay homage to Steve Jobs in the new building.

We will definitely honor him in the right kind of way. We’re working with Laurene [Powell Jobs, Steve’s widow] and the family.

Photo: Joe Pugliese/Fortune

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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