Everything Apple’s Tim Cook told us at VivaTech
Apple CEO, Tim Cook spoke at the Viva Technology conference. He discussed a wide range of topics, including taxation, privacy and regulation, the environment, the future and Apple’s approach to product design. You can read (almost) everything he discussed here.
I think it’s incumbent on those of us who are coming out of the pandemic to help those that are still in the midst of it. I couldn’t be prouder of how Apple has responded, and the team at Apple has responded in the pandemic.
Early on, right when the shutdown happened, we began to ask ourselves the question, how can we help. And the answers that we gave even surprised us, our supply chain team decided they could go out and source and donate masks and we donated 30 million of them including many to France.
Our engineering team decided that they could design a face shield. And we designed it, built it. It shipped, tens of millions of those around the world as well.
We kept on asking ourselves that question and our software engineering team came up with that they could work on an exposure notification system with Google. And this has been at the heart of several nation’s exposure notification.
You can think of a world where privacy is not important… the surveillance economy takes over and it becomes a world where everyone’s worried that somebody else is watching. So they begin to do less, they begin to think less, and nobody wants to live in a world where that freedom of expression narrows. And, and so privacy goes to the heart of just one of the key values of Apple.
On manufacturing and climate change
We focus on making the best, not the most. And so that really puts us in a position of top market share, I think in France, our market share for iPhone is about 23% as an example. And so these things are sort of fundamentally different across the board with the different companies and at our bedrock values, our privacy as you just said. And of course we’re putting a tonne of energy in climate change, because we believe that it’s one of the most important issues of the century as is privacy.
On government regulation of privacy
I think that there… has been very good regulation coming out of Europe in places like the GDPR. GDPR set not only a standard for customers in in Europe but really set the stage for the world to adopt GDPR because most of the companies are multinational companies and they wound up implementing this around the world regardless of the regulations in those places… we were big supporters of GDPR from the beginning.
And we would support going even further than GDPR on privacy because there’s so much still left to do in the privacy world.
We work with governments on environmental initiatives. And many of these are a combination of public private partnerships that we’ve been able to do extraordinary things.
On sideloading apps to iPhone
And so, as I look at the tech regulation that’s being discussed. I think there are good parts of it, and I think there are parts of it that are not in the best interests of the user. And what we do at Apple, we always focus intently on the user and what is in their best interest. ..
An example of where I don’t think it’s in the best interest. The current language that is being discussed would force sideloading on the iPhone .. as an alternate way of getting apps onto the iPhone. As we look at it, that would destroy the security of the iPhone, and a lot of the privacy initiatives that we built into the App Store, where we have privacy nutrition labels and App Tracking transparency, where it forces people to get permission to track across apps, these things would not exist anymore, except in people in our ecosystem.
And, and so I worry deeply about privacy and security. We’re going to constructively take part in the debate and hope that we can find a way forward. As I say, there are good parts to (the regulation) … but .. we have a responsibility to say when it is not in the best interest of the user.
On Android v iOS malware
Android has 47 times more malware than iOS does. Why is that?
Well it’s because we’ve designed iOS in such a way that there’s one App Store, and all of the apps are reviewed prior to going on the store. That keeps a lot of this malware stuff out of our ecosystem. and customers have told us – continuously — how much they value that.
So we’re going to be standing up for the user in in the discussions and we’ll see where it goes on.
I’m optimistic that I think most people looking at security know security is a major risk. I think a lot of people increasingly agree that privacy is one of the most important issues of the century. And so I’m optimistic about how it will go.
I think that we all need to understand that technology by itself doesn’t want to be good. It doesn’t want to be bad either, it’s, it’s neutral, and whether it’s great or not depends on the inventor and the creativity and empathy and passion of the inventor. I think that’s, that’s an important lens to have on technology.
On social media
We do suffer today from false information it’s affected the vaccine rates and things like that. We’ve been affected here in the United States by sort of the stirring of the pot socially, and what this information has done. So it’s clear that there needs to be something done here, this is not an acceptable state of the world and as I look at the DSA there are some, there are some parts of it that I think will help us, but I’m not sure that anybody yet has a handle on how to fix it entirely, and I think it deserves more discussion and more debate.
On environmental targets
We’re going to be carbon neutral by 2030. It’s a very, very bold objective far more aggressive than the than the timelines that you’ll hear.
How do we do that?
Well, we, we run Apple on 100% renewable energy. And we’re using our influence to get our suppliers to run their businesses on 100% renewable energy. I’m pleased to tell you that we have over 100 suppliers that have already signed up to do that. And so we like to think that we can be the ripple in the pond to create greater good.
And the other thing that we’re really focused on, is we’ve set an objective, not to have to remove anything from the earth to make the new iPhones, And we’re not there yet. But if you look at our latest products, 40% of the aluminium in the Mac is recycled and 98% of the rare earth minerals are recycled on the iPhone 12 And so we’re making enormous progress.
And of course we are using robotics to disassemble older iPhones to be the heart of newer iPhones, and so the trick is to have a closed loop between the selling of new product, and the retirement, and second hand markets, and I feel like we’ve done a great job of that, as it turns out, a great product for a user, and a great product for the planet can be can be one and the same. And that’s the objective that we set for ourselves.
Well, here, here are the facts on taxes if you look at across the last decade. The most recent decade, our effective rate of tax is 23%, which is about the same as OECD companies and right in the ballpark of what companies pay in Europe.
The thing that is different about us is, most of our r&d is in the United States. And so we pay relatively more to the US. And that has been an area of contention about how we split the pie of this of this 23% And as it turns out, I think the OECD which is headquartered there in Paris are working on this, and I think they’re going to get to a conclusion that will be good for everybody.
We believe taxes are so essential to providing services for citizens around the world. And we do want to pay our fair share. And I think, largely, we’re paying the total amount that people are talking about. But where it’s divided up is sort of the, the issue and I hope the OECD concludes and we can all move forward and feel good about it.
On teenagers emerging from COVID-19
I do not see them personally as a lost generation. I reject [that] characterization.
I think young people that I talk with are very values driven. I see this a lot, they have [passion?] for human rights for all people.
I see it in so many different areas I see it in what they choose to work on… what I see are people identifying problems with society, and then putting all of themselves into creating a solution for the problem. And I think these young people will be at the root of many of the solutions to today’s problems.
On iPhone 13
Well, it’ll be better than iPhone 12, and you can count on that.
And it will solve more problems for people.
At the root of it what Apple is all about, is about making the best products that really enrich people’s lives… we only do a few things and iPhone is one of those few things that we do.
So you can always count on it getting better, and solving more problems for people. And so that, that’s the spot in terms of what I’m most excited about, I’m excited about so many things. I’m a great believer in the power of technology to help people.
And we approach the future with great humility, because we know we can’t predict it. I’m not one of those people that is going to say I can see 20 years out and 30 years out and tell you what, what is going to happen, I can’t. I really don’t believe anyone can. So we approach it with great humility.
On staying foolish and being humble
If you, if you take some examples in Apple’s past the. We didn’t know when we were working on the chip for the iPhone, that it would become the heart of the iPad, and we didn’t know that it would eventually become the heart of the Mac, as it just did in this, this past year.
We didn’t know that.
But we kept discovering, and we kept pulling the strain, and we kept our minds open about where that would war that journey would take us. And it’s taken us somewhere that’s incredible. And that, that has a great future ahead of it.
On AR and .. products…
I get excited about AR because I see it as a technology that can enhance life in a broad way and so we’ve been working on AR, first with our phones and iPads, and later we’ll see where that goes in terms of products, but the key thing is that it can enrich people’s lives.
I get excited about artificial intelligence and the ability to sort of remove some of the things that, that keep people down, and, and do work and free up leisure time for people.
On digital health
And I’m exceedingly optimistic about the intersection of health and technology…. I think the idea of continuing monitoring the body much like happens in your car with warning lights and so forth. I think this is a big idea that has a long, long roadmap ahead of it.
We do allow ourselves to fail. We try to fail, internally, instead of externally because we don’t want to involve customers in the failure. But we develop some things and subsequently decide not to share. We begin going down a certain road and sometimes adjust significantly because of the discovery that we make in that process.
Failing is a part of life. And it’s a part of life whether you’re a new company or a company that’s been around for a while and you’re trying different things.
If you’re not failing, you’re not trying enough different things.
On the Apple Car
In terms of a car, you know, I’ve got to keep some secrets. And there always has to be something up our sleeve, so I don’t think I’ll comment on the car rumour