In a recent in-depth interview with the Australian Financial Review, Apple CEO Tim Cook discussed privacy, App Store regulation, his morning routine, and more. The interview also includes a quote from a former Apple executive stating that under Steve Jobs, the company had “more excitement, more intrigue.”
Tim Cook talks about user trust, backdoors, and more in sweeping interview
Speaking to The Australian Financial Review, Cook said 4 a.m is the one time of day he can control. He goes on to say he uses a big chunk of that time to read customer emails. It helps him keep his “hands on the pulse of what customers are feeling and thinking and doing.”
I do that because I can control the morning better than the evening and through the day. Things happen through the day that kind of blow you off course. The morning is yours. Or should I say, the early morning is yours.
The morning routine of the man at the helm of the world’s most valuable company? Reading emails from customers. Cook estimates he gets through hundreds a day. “I cannot read all of them, no. I’d not admit to doing that. But I read an extraordinary number of them. It keeps my hands on the pulse of what customers are feeling and thinking and doing”
On the topic of artificial intelligence, Cook said that Apple already utilizes AI in features on iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. He also believes that AI is just getting starting in terms of its impact on users.
He’s excited about artificial intelligence, which is already “all over the current iPhone, iPad and the watch et cetera” but “we’re only at the early stages of what can be done”. AI will take away some of the mundane things we do every day, he says, and free up our time so we can do more of what we love.”
He goes on: “I’m a huge believer in augmented reality. It can enhance our conversations that we’re having, and enhance learning and really amplify the value of technology with people, without it enclosing or shutting off the real world.”
The interview also touched on privacy and security as those are core values for Apple. Note that the interview does not include Cook’s views on the backlash Apple is facing from its recent Child Safety announcement as it was conducted in July. The CEO said he believers people’s trust has been taken advantage of in terms of privacy and now that the issue has become mainstream, it’s time to rebuild that trust.
“I think what’s happened is that there are many more people today that view privacy as a mainstream issue,” he tells the Financial Review. “Ten years ago, privacy was a niche issue. Today it’s one of the primary issues in people’s minds because people know that the web has become this surveillance tool in all too many cases, and that the building of detailed profiles on people has gone well beyond any kind of reasonable thing.”
Apple is under investigation for alleged monopolistic practices and anti-competitive behavior in several countries, including Australia. Cook said it’s right that Apple’s actions are under regulatory investigations, but there is a matter of “determining where it’s necessary and where the focus should be.”
“Well, I think scrutiny of large companies is fair. And I start from the premise that regulation is necessary in some areas. And so it becomes a matter of determining where it’s necessary and where the focus should be…In our model, the user is where the power exists because it’s the user who decides when they buy a phone, are they going to buy an iPhone. Are they going to buy any number of Android phones? And so it’s a fiercely competitive market. And then the market inside the App Store is also fiercely competitive …And so there’s huge competition in all areas of this.
On the topic of Apple holding a monopoly over the App Store, Cook said that opening up its device to allow users to download apps from third-party platforms would be considered a backdoor.
“It’s the reality. If you put back doors in a system, anybody can use a back door. And so you have to make sure the system itself is robust and durable; otherwise you can see what happens in the security world. Every day you read about a breach, or you read about a ransomware.”
The interview also includes a quote from a former Apple exec saying “I would say that some of the magic did die with Steve. Apple transitioned as a company that made awe-inspiring magical products to being one of the most consistent-at-operations companies in the world.”
Cook said that taking over from his predecessor was not his greatest challenge: the COVID-19 pandemic was. The CEO said a huge challenge was “losing total control.” He went on to say that ” this pandemic had a strange way of shaking us all and reminding us that we are not the ones deciding.”
Read the full interview here.
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