Apple’s Tim Cook Talks on Future Plans, Cars, Apple TV, and more
Apple CEO Tim Cook today confirmed what everybody knew:
That when it comes to developing the future of road transport, prototype vehicle technologies are insanely hard to hide. Apple today confirmed it is working on autonomous cars. I’ve had a look at the full transcript of the interview for further highlights.
“We’re focusing on autonomous systems”
In an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Emily Chang, Cook seems to hint that the company is looking to develop the software, rather than the full charabanc.
That’s a model that inexorably leads toward the company licensing the software to third party auto manufacturers, which (I speculate) may explain why so many of the company’s R&D facilities seem to be based near big brand automakers.
“We sort of see it as the mother of all AI projects…It’s probably one of the most difficult A.I. projects actually to work on,” he said, adding that “it’s a core technology that we view as very important.”
Three-roads to change
Cook points to three “vectors of change”, which he sees happening all at once. These are self-driving vehicles, electric cars, and ride sharing. “I think there is major disruption looming there,” he said, confirming a focus on autonomous systems.
The fact that Apple sees the kind of complex machine intelligence required to control a self-driving car as “core” speaks volumes for what the company hopes to achieve with these technologies.
“We’re not really saying from a product point of view that we’re — what we will do,” Cook noted, refusing to confirm or deny if Apple’s designers have been sketching out future car designs. “We’re — but we are being — straightforward that it’s a core technology that we view as very important,” he said, at once managing to be revealing and opaque at the same time!
After all, once you get the car right you have built a system that can be applied across almost any moving vehicle, with implications that vary all the way between autonomous astronauts to zoological and species protection.
Cook also had some words on China, which he sees as “an incredible market” with huge potential in sales, software development, engineering talent and more. “Short term kinds of economic moves up and down” don’t excite him so much as the long-term potential of the country, he said.
“Last year the size of our business was almost $50 billion in Greater China,” he said. “We have a real business there, and we have users that love Apple and we love them. We want to serve them, so we’re gonna stick at it because I think China is a huge opportunity over time.”
Big news for Apple TV
The Apple CEO also had a message for Apple TV fans. Referring to the company’s WWDC announcements, he said, “With TV, we wanted to give an updated that Amazon was joining the TV app and all Apple TVs later in the year. And we’re gonna have more to say about what we’re doing in that area later.” (Italics mine). That’s kinda significant as Apple TV is anticipated to get better display resolutions, among other cool things, later this year.
One more thing:
“Steve (Jobs’) DNA will always be the DNA of Apple,” said Cook. “Certainly as long as I’m CEO. And I think as long as anyone is… I think it’s deeply embedded in the company…” he said.