Tim Cook Talks Innovation, Apple Car, iPhone Sales, and More

Cook hero

In an interview with the Fortune, Tim Cook, CEO of the world’s most admired company, Apple, touched on many topics and even on the hottest of all – the Apple Car – and addressed concerns about “peak iPhone”.

Critics have recently had decent grounds for slamming Apple: The company’s performance in the first fiscal quarter was flat (“only” 74.8 million iPhones), and the guidance for the next quarter looked even “darker”, so Fortune reporter Adam Lashinsky was eager to get Cook’s reaction.

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.

He highlighted that Apple has been through cycles, and from his perspective cycles can be “really great,” as Apple tends to steadfastly continue to invest in innovation, while other companies retreat. “Some of our greatest innovations and products were born in a period of challenge,” Cook adds.

Since the media has been full of reports about auto industry professionals joining Apple, Cook was asked whether he would take this opportunity to confirm that the company is working on an electric car. Of course, he didn’t confirm it, but said:

Yeah, I’m probably not going to do that. The great thing about being here is we’re curious people. We explore technologies, and we explore products. And we’re always thinking about ways that Apple can make great products that people love, that help them in some way. And we don’t go into very many categories, as you know. We edit very much. We talk about a lot of things and do fewer. We debate many things and do a lot fewer.

Part of exploring technologies and picking the right one is becoming so familiar with it you can see ways that it can be used. And for us, we’ve never been about being first. We’ve been about being best. So we explore many different things, many different technologies. And at first we might not know what product it might wind up in. And then later we’ll see that that really cool technology enables maybe things that we’re doing today to take on something bigger, maybe something new. But once we start spending gobs of money—like when we start spending on tooling and things like that—we’re committed.

Cook suggested that if Apple decides to make a car, it could build a supply chain and use contract manufacturers to build it, similarly to what it does with its current products.

The whole interview is well worth your time. You can read it in full by clicking on this link.