By Jim Karpen on Thu, 05/30/2013
Apple CEO Tim Cook was interviewed for over an hour Tuesday at the annual All Things Digital conference, and, as usual, he was very tight-lipped about forthcoming products, dropping just the barest of hints. However, he did explicitly confirm that legendary Apple designer Jony Ive has been working on an overhaul of the iOS software and said iOS 7 will be introduced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, which begins June 10. Rumors that the interface will be "flatter"— with fewer textures and fewer visual metaphors for real-life objects— seem credible. However, Jim Dalrymple, who is known for having inside information, posted on his blog that he feels the changes won't be as marked as some of the rumors have been suggesting. He describes it as a "modernization of the look and feel."
Of course, Cook was asked whether there would be a forthcoming HDTV from Apple. He responded by pointing out that Apple has now sold 13 million Apple TVs, the company's set-top box, selling half of the total last year. This is remarkable in that the box has less content than Roku, which has only sold 5 million. He did say Apple has a "grand vision" for the future of TV, which is a bit father then he's gone before, but he held firm in not giving any specifics other than to recite his standard line that "it continues to be an area of great interest to us.”
And he was asked whether additional iPhone models would be introduced, such as a low-cost iPhone and a "phablet," a smartphone with a screen around 5 or 6 inches. This comment nicely sums up his view: "For us, winning has never been about making the most. We make the best phone, we don't make the most phones." However, one more time he didn't close the door on the notion of a low-cost iPhone, which fits with the rumors that we may see one this year. When asked whether Apple might introduce a second iPhone with a different feature set and price point, he said, in part, "Well we haven't so far. That doesn't shut off the future."
Cook was also grilled about Apple's plans in wearable computing. Of course, he didn't give any specifics. But he did say Apple is "incredibly interested" in wearable computers and that this new area is "profoundly interesting" and "ripe for exploration." But he seemed to criticize the notion of wearables on the wrist or as glasses, pointing out that not many people like to wear glasses if they don't have to, and that most young people nowadays don't wear a watch on their wrist. He does think there's going to be a market for wearables and predicted that tons of companies would compete in this area.
He said Apple has "several more game-changers" in the works, but wouldn't say any more. Why? He said: "We release products when they are ready. We believe very much in the element of surprise. We think customers love surprises. I have no plan on changing that." And he continues to insist that Apple is as innovative as ever.
You can see the full video of his interview on the All Things D website.