Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down with Time’s executive editor John Simons at the Time100 summit to discuss the future of the business and the workplace. In his uniquely soft voice, Cook discussed the values that govern business at Apple to create products for everyone since their origin, empathy in welcoming all communities, the impact of losing privacy and scope of technology, and much more.
Tim Cook called the hybrid work schedule “the mother of all experiments” and AR technology can enhance conversations
For over 10 years now, Tim Cook has been successfully leading Apple and delivering innovative products and services, and bringing major advancements to the existing ones. Here is a summary of Cook’s talk at the “Time100 summit: Leadership in a changing world.”
Values at Apple
Answering the question on conscious capitalism, Cook responded that Apple thinks in terms of values, to respect everyone and do everything in service of the users. And those values are the bases of a lot of technology produced at Apple like the App Tracking Tranpsaency (ATT) feature to protect users’ privacy and give them control over their data because Apple thinks of privacy as a “fundamental human right”.
Accessibility is a value that is materialized in Apple products which are designed and developed to be used by everyone including people with special needs like hard of hearing, low vision or blindness, and other motor skills.
The company’s commitment to the environment is another one of its core values which are represented in the way they make and share their products because people at Apple want to leave the world a better place.
Addressing economic concerns of an imminent recession, Tim Cook said that important things can not be put on hold because of a bad economy like climate change, privacy, and preparing products for everyone. Cook believes that a company should continue investing in those areas and even more when the times are hard. Therefore, Apple invests in long-term goals.
Empathy in Apple leadership
Simon commended Cook on his empathic leadership and called empathy his superpower, asked how it impacts his decisions at the company. Cook elaborated that when designing products, engineers at Apple put themselves in the shoes of people with disabilities and how they will use Apple products like the recently launched Door detection accessibility feature.
And being a very private person, Cook took this opportunity to share that he came out to inspire gay youth to know that their sexuality does not limit their future prospects. He added that the decision infringed on his privacy but he was happy to let it go in the hope to change at least a person’s life.
Innovation at Apple
Cook elaborated that innovation is always taking place at Apple, today’s iPhone is very different from what it was 2 to 3 years ago with respect to chips, neural engine, machine learning, technologies, and more.
He gave the example of the Apple Watch which “democratizes” health care by allowing users to take an ECG anywhere and at any time, it detects undiagnosed AFib (atrial fibrillation) for users to seek medical attention, detects hard Falls to contact emergency services automatically for unresponsive individuals and more to save users lives.
He said that innovation is not just a new category. Therefore, Cook requested the critics to reconsider their skepticism that Apple does not innovate anymore because most of the apps are developed to make “the world a better place.”
Hybrid work schedule at Apple
Talking about the workplace reshuffle from 5 days a week of physical to 5 days a week of remote work that was brought about by COVID-19, Cook said at the moment they are “running the mother of all experiments” in trying to find the right combination which uses the best of both worlds, physical and remote work. And they are committed to finding it because physical interaction brings new experiences but that is not enough to ignore the mental health of workers.
The potential of technology, especially augmented reality (AR)
Ending the conversation with the future of technology, Tim Cook said that technology is neutral but people (inventors or users) make it good or bad. He deeply laments the loss of privacy in today’s world because technology is being used to spy on users for their data. Therefore, Apple is coming up with new tech to protect users’ privacy like ATT.
Cook said that he is very hopeful about the future of technology because of his interactions with young people who are driven to do good. He believes that the inventor of the future is on solid grounds, he is excited about the intersection between health care and technology, and “AR is huge and profound”.
Without mentioning any future AR product, Cook said that AR is an area of intense intercross because it enhances the chance of enhancing communication, and connection instead of replacing it.