Speaking at the WSJD Live Conference in Laguna Beach, California, Apple CEO Tim Cook shared early stats on Apple Pay: 1 million registered credit cards in its first three days.
The speed at this adoption is pretty impressive, as the Starbucks mobile app with 12 million active users in the USA is seen as the most popular mobile payment system in the country, albeit limited to the coffee chain’s retail locations.
Image via WSJ and Gary Fong
Below are highlights of Cook’s interview with WSJ editor in chief Gerard Baker, talking about the company’s future. The CEO told Baker he gets more notes from users than “any CEO alive”.
iPhone – Cook says the smartphone remains the “majority of the company’s revenue” and profits, and will continue to be down the road. In the long arc, there’s going to be more and more phones sold. When asked about a lower-cost iPhone for Africa or developing countries, he said “We’ll go as low as we can while maintaining the customer experience.”
Mac – growth in the last quarter was “remarkable” and “we think the Mac has a great future.”
iPad – Cook says there’s never been a product that has made its way into so many various businesses so quickly.
Apple Pay – after sharing over 1 million credit card activations in its first 72 hours, Cook said “the early ramp looks fantastic.” He says he shops at Whole Foods and uses Apple Pay to check out. Speaking about merchants skeptical (i.e. MCX and CurrentC) of the Apple Pay, Cook says “over the long arc of time”, retailers will have to succumb to shoppers’ wants.
Retailers choose Apple Pay because it’s more secure, as changing cards due to security breaches multiple times a year is “a pain in the butt.” Moreover, Cook again stated Apple is not about collecting your shopping data, saying “we’re not Big Brother”, noting “we’ll leave that to others.”
According to data from credit card companies provided to the company, Apple Pay is already the leading mobile payment system in the U.S., as Cook said the service is already “more than the total of the other guys.”
Partnership with Alibaba? – Cook mentioned something is brewing with Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, whose Alipay payment service is now third in the world, after Visa and MasterCard:
Asking about potential Alibaba / Alipay partnership with Apple. “We’re going to talk about getting married later this week,” Cook says “We love to partner with people who are wicked smart, with flexible teams, who are product-based, who push us, and we push them. … Jack has a company that’s exactly like that.”
Apple Watch – Cook reiterates users will be charging the watch daily because “we think people are going to use it so much,” when speaking about battery life. He remained mum on the watch’s actual battery life.
Television – the CEO stated again “we’re living in the 1970s”, reiterating previous thoughts on the matter, noting “there’s a lot to be done in this area.” He gave support to HBO’s decision to offer an upcoming web-only streaming option for customers.
iOS vs Android – Cook rejects Apple will succumb to an open, mass-market rival, like it did in the past with Windows for the Mac, but that was due to the lack of OS X apps—which is not the case for iOS. Cook: “Would you rather own the Mac business or any of the Windows OEMs?”
Apple Cash – Cook says the company has $145 billion in cash, notes he agrees with investor Carl Icahn the company is undervalued. He says he doesn’t spend a lot of time talking to Icahn and noted “a share repurchase is a good thing right now”.
Privacy – Cook says privacy is a priority, noting “Your data is yours…We don’t keep iMessage data, record the temperature of your home or retain search history.” He said “we’re design a Fort Knox kind of thing,” in regards to privacy measures.
Responding to law enforcement officials criticizing iOS 8 for being too secure and lacking ‘flexibility’, Cook responded with “I wouldn’t ever do this, but if you design something where the key is under the mat, the bad guy can get that, too.”
160GB iPod Classic – Not coming back from the dead because Apple cannot get parts from anywhere in the world anymore (someone the audience claimed to have 40,000 songs on his iPod Classic and asked).
Earlier in the day, Cook spoke at his home state of Alabama to receive the Alabama Academy of Honor. Here, he challenged the state to further protect gay rights, plus also announced Apple would be donating $100 million worth of iPads, Macs and Apple TVs to 114 schools across 29 states as part of the company’s participation in President Obama’s ConnectED program.