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Tim Cook Discusses Steve Jobs, Apple's Rivals, and Calls Apple Watch 'The First Modern Smartwatch'

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In an exclusive interview with Fast Company, Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses a wide range of topics with interviewer Rick Tetzeli, co-author of Becoming Steve Jobs, from Jobs' ongoing legacy within the company to the mixed reception of the Apple Watch over the last few weeks.

Cook notes the different angles Apple took in developing ways to interact with the Apple Watch, thinking of it as its own piece of technology and not just another smartphone or tablet.

He continues that most of the companies that have made smartwatches in recent years "haven't thought that through", resulting in lesser and more cumbersome products.
We weren't first on the MP3 player; we weren't first on the tablet; we weren't first on the smartphone. But we were arguably the first modern smartphone, and we will be the first modern smartwatch--the first one that matters.

People didn't realize they had to have an iPod, and they really didn't realize they had to have the iPhone. And the iPad was totally panned. Critics asked, "Why do you need this?" Honestly, I don't think anything revolutionary that we have done was predicted to be a hit when released. It was only in retrospect that people could see its value. Maybe this will be received the same way.
Cook goes on to state that Jobs' greatest contribution to Apple was the culture he created during his years there, calling the late Apple CEO, "The best teacher I ever had by far." Out of that culture came a sense of community and collaboration amongst the company's various departments, a critical element of Apple's continued success, and one that keeps them a step above the competition, according to Cook.
We've turned up the volume on collaboration because it's so clear that in order for us to be incredibly successful we have to be the best collaborators in the world. The magic of Apple, from a product point of view, happens at this intersection of hardware, software, and services. It's that intersection. Without collaboration, you get a Windows product. There's a company that pumps out an operating system, another that does some hardware, and yet another that does something else. That's what's now happening in Android land. Put it all together and it doesn't score high on the user experience.
When asked about the possibility of "cracks" appearing in Apple's ever-expanding ecosystem of devices and operating systems, Cook remains adamant that the company will always strive for success and satisfaction in what it does.

"It's not that it's not doable, it's that we're human sometimes, and we make an error," Cook said. "I don't have a goal of becoming inhuman, but I do have a goal of not having any errors." Part of this strive for near-perfection brought about the company's boldness in making sometimes harsh, but necessary decisions, which companies like Microsoft were afraid to make, according to Cook.
Part of the reason Microsoft ran into an issue was that they didn't want to walk away from legacy stuff.

Apple has always had the discipline to make the bold decision to walk away. We walked away from the floppy disk when that was popular with many users. Instead of doing things in the more traditional way of diversifying and minimizing risk, we took out the optical drive, which some people loved. We changed our connector, even though many people loved the 30-pin connector. Some of these things were not popular for quite a while. But you have to be willing to lose sight of the shore and go. We still do that.
The full interview is well worth a read, as Cook discusses topics like his excitement for the under-construction Apple Campus 2 and daily usage of his own personal Apple Watch. He even comments on the still-untouched office of the "irreplaceable" Steve Jobs, noting hesitancy to visit the room soon after Steve's passing, but a growing appreciation of the space as time has passed.

When asked whether he would ever do anything with the office, like take it for himself, Cook remained steadfast in leaving it the way it was when Jobs passed. "His name should still be on the door," Cook remarked. "That's just the way it should be. That's what felt right to me."

Article Link: Tim Cook Discusses Steve Jobs, Apple's Rivals, and Calls Apple Watch 'The First Modern Smartwatch'
 

Thunderhawks

Suspended
Feb 17, 2009
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Cool move to leaves Steve's office. Maybe even give him one in the new spaceship.
 
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k995

macrumors 6502a
Jan 23, 2010
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Cook is simply rewriting history. There was a big demand for MP3 players at the time apple released its ipod, it only took apple several generations to get it right and sell any significant amount(mainly due to bad design decisions)

Same for iphone & ipad but those were instant successes .

Apple watch is quite something different, apple seems to find the need to stress "you need it" but at the same time try and market it as a fashion item you got to have .
 
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solarguy17

macrumors 6502a
Sep 10, 2007
730
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It's not that Apple doesn't have the first smart watch but wether it help make the market mainstream. Smartphones existed before iPhone, but we're limited and stuck in a niche market. The same thing with tablets. iPad and iPhone opened those markets to commercial consumers whereas before they were limited to business consumers.

Hopefully the Apple Watch does the same thing, helps make smart watches ore consumer friendly and acceptable.

As good as the Gear, MS Band or the Fit Bit might be, they aren't blowing the market up with sales. The Apple Watch has the potential to make that market really start up. Which will in turn help Samsung, MS, ect with the sales as smart watches become more mainstream due to Apple Watch.

That being said, I'm not planning to buy any smartwatch in the near future.
 
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arggg14

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Dec 30, 2014
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Just like the iPhone was the first "modern smartphone," the Apple Watch has a heck of a long way to go...
 
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DakotaGuy

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Jan 14, 2002
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I'm surprised he didn't include another big reason for changing connectors... Changing a connector is an easy way to take money from your pocket and put it in his.

I'm just waiting for the next generation MacBook Pro with the "new and improved" single connector. Don't worry they will offer a bunch of "magical dongles" starting at $79.95 to make it the "most versatile" computer ever.
 
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Four oF NINE

macrumors 68000
Sep 28, 2011
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Yes, I read what Tim Cook says, but the different Apple shows up.

Even in something so small as when you complete a survey on phone tech support, they used to give you a delightful multi-lingual thank you page, now it's a just a bland corporate "thank you" in english.

I have no idea who's idea that was, but it feels impersonal and unApple.
 
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Tankmaze

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Mar 7, 2012
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Part of the reason Microsoft ran into an issue was that they didn’t want to walk away from legacy stuff.

Apple made a bold move with the new macbook, and its in Apple culture that Steve left behind I think that keeps Apple moving forward.
 
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MasterRyu2011

macrumors 65816
Aug 22, 2014
1,064
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I agree with him on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod.

But the Watch--it's just like any other smartwatches out today from LG, Samsung, Lenovorolla, Sony. They were late this time but did not provide any significant differentiating feature either.
 
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the8thark

macrumors 601
Apr 18, 2011
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Cook just gets it. Every word in that interview is Cook just getting it so damn well. I'm glad he's the Apple CEO.
 
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zedsdead

macrumors 68040
Jun 20, 2007
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Apple made a bold move with the new macbook, and its in Apple culture that Steve left behind I think that keeps Apple moving forward.

True, but Apple is making their product lines too wide. In particular, look how messed up the iPad line is (especially the Mini). The Macbook line is also getting unruly, but it seems it is once again in a transition period. I hope Tim realizes this and starts simplifying things again.

I like the Watch, but I think Tim and company did not do a good job on the Marketing side. With the iPhone and iPad Steve spent a long time in each Keynote explaining why the product exists. I don't think it was done properly with the Watch this time around. I can't wait for it however....although I wish Apple made more bands for the Space Gray/Black models.

The Macbook looks awesome, but this generation is underpowered...in a year or so it should be a decent performer and awesome. There will be more USB-C peripherals available also.

Apple needs to put a little more time into the Software. Tim mentions the iPad as revolutionary, but it is waining and the problem is iOS. The iPad needs some attention with this.
 
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the8thark

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Apr 18, 2011
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1,427
I agree with him on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod.

But the Watch--it's just like any other smartwatches out today from LG, Samsung, Lenovorolla, Sony. They were late this time but did not provide any significant differentiating feature either.

Well the future will tell if Cook is right or if you are right.
 
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NeutralGeek

macrumors regular
Mar 11, 2015
109
1
Tim Cook and Apple get it that is why they are hugely successful.

iHaters and competitors will always be ********, and really at the end of the day will always remain followers (or jealous critics) no matter what Apple says or does.

Apple and Tim Cook are not perfect by any means. Great to hear they know that.

/rinse and repeat.
 
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Ries

macrumors 68020
Apr 21, 2007
2,229
2,650
Well the future will tell if Cook is right or if you are right.

Why wait, it it quite fact that it the same as others (except the heart beat, drawing pictures and taps). Or are you arguing that the most sold is the best?
 
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LordVic

macrumors 603
Sep 7, 2011
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Cook is simply rewriting history. There was a big demand for MP3 players at the time apple released its ipod, it only took apple several generations to get it right and sell any significant amount(mainly due to bad design decisions)

Same for iphone & ipad but those were instant successes .

Apple watch is quite something different, apple seems to find the need to stress "you need it" but at the same time try and market it as a fashion item you got to have .

It's called the "reality distortion field". Tim Cook and the Apple Faithful are known for revisionist history.

Apple is a great company at taking existing trends, making them pretty and beautifull, and being able to sell them to the masses instead of just "geeks".

but they're very rarely first. And I find it interesting how he claims that Apple "invented" the "modern day smartphone" instead of just "smartphone".

He's a very, VERY smart speaker. He knows that by saying this, people who listen to his everyword will eventually drop "Modern day", but not the "smartphone" in their own discussions about devices, which automatically becomes "Apple invented the smartphone". This is the reality distortion field at work. in Prime form.

I really wish Him and Ive and the rest of the Apple top brass would speak in public less.
 
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Keirasplace

macrumors 601
Aug 6, 2014
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Montreal
Cook is simply rewriting history. There was a big demand for MP3 players at the time apple released its ipod, it only took apple several generations to get it right and sell any significant amount(mainly due to bad design decisions)

Same for iphone & ipad but those were instant successes .

Apple watch is quite something different, apple seems to find the need to stress "you need it" but at the same time try and market it as a fashion item you got to have .

Iphone was not a huge success the first year (Apple sells more Iphones in one day than they sold I think in one year!). But, during year 2, with the arrival of the app store and the more complete 3GS at the end of the year, it had picked up a huge amount of steam. I'm still using the 3GS to this day and it works quite well. I don't think I could say the same if I was using the 3G or the original phone.

The main reason people are not wearing other smart watches is not tech, but their look, it has to first a fashion item, and then a tech item. Something that's always out has to emphasize this. That's particularly true because the main buyers of Iphones are not tech geeks.

That's what Samsung and the like seemingly haven't caught on with. Their watches are fist of all, too big : 40% bigger than the smallest Apple Watch on average.
 
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Stella

macrumors G3
Apr 21, 2003
8,560
5,473
Canada
He's a very, VERY smart speaker. He knows that by saying this, people who listen to his everyword will eventually drop "Modern day", but not the "smartphone" in their own discussions about devices, which automatically becomes "Apple invented the smartphone". This is the reality distortion field at work. in Prime form.

In short words - sales / marketing pitch.

Enhancing their products vs competitors ( which all companies do ).

---

There are some nice technologies in the Apple Watch, seemly nice GUI etc. And several large show stoppers too ( for me to buy ).
 
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CausticPuppy

macrumors 65816
May 1, 2012
1,483
18
The main reason people are not wearing other smart watches is not tech, but their look, it has to first a fashion item, and then a tech item. Something that's always out has to emphasize this. That's particularly true because the main buyers of Iphones are not tech geeks.

It may be correct to say the Apple Watch will be the first mainstream smart watch. The current ones on the market are niche products for tech-minded folks, and certainly far from fashion accessories.

Pebble Steel is trying to take on a more fashion approach, but it still has more appeal to geeks than it does to "mainstream" folks. The first thing a "normal" person will notice on the Pebble Steel is the display that looks like an EGA display from the early 1990's. Yes, it gets great battery life, and digital ink is neat, but it's just.... ugly. The visual quality of the display, which is just barely utilitarian, is a complete mismatch to the hardware.

Apple at least has produced something with a phenomenal display, and the hardware is certainly well-built (though you either like the square body or you don't), the tradeoff being much less battery life compared to the Steel.
 
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LordVic

macrumors 603
Sep 7, 2011
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Iphone was not a huge success the first year (Apple sells more Iphones in one day than they sold I think in one year!). But, during year 2, with the arrival of the app store and the more complete 3GS at the end of the year, it had picked up a huge amount of steam. I'm still using the 3GS to this day and it works quite well. I don't think I could say the same if I was using the 3G or the original phone.

The main reason people are not wearing other smart watches is not tech, but their look, it has to first a fashion item, and then a tech item. Something that's always out has to emphasize this. That's particularly true because the main buyers of Iphones are not tech geeks.

That's what Samsung and the like seemingly haven't caught on with. Their watches are fist of all, too big : 40% bigger than the smallest Apple Watch on average.

Bingo!

The current crop of watches (Including the Apple watch) aren't going to dramatically win over the mass majority fo watch wearers.

They still look like techie geek pieces. they're not fashionable and they don't emulate or reproduce the premium feel of a standard metal watch. And the faces are still too big.

The Urbane and the Huewaie (sp?) watch so far are the ONLY two that would even remotely have me consider ditching my current watch. Everything else looks huge, mishappen, or just downright like a cheap geek toy.

And I include the Apple watch in that. They did nothing really to distinguish themselves outside of that. its still a simple square digital screen, with a fancy metal border, on a band. (though, the bands are the only nice looking thing). The Apple watch does nothing to come close to the existing watch markets, especially the premium watch market when it comes to design.

I have a feeling Apple Watch v2.0 will be the real successful one. the first one will be Apple's "training wheels"
 
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