‘We want to do what’s right, not what’s easy,’ – Apple’s Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke with Fortune in an interview that appeared today. It’s an interesting interview, you should read it – it reveals a great deal about how Apple, and Cook see themselves.

Apple has already changed the world

Cynics like to say that Apple’s focus on changing the world for the better is just a marketing mantra. It’s not. From the evolution of the GUI to desktop computing, iPods, sticking the Internet inside of an off-the-shelf computer, Wi-Fi adoption, iPhones, touch interfaces, iPads and more, Apple has a track record of ushering in big tech changes that have transformed the way we live. Often for the better. Indeed, I’d argue that Apple’s shadow has been visible across every aspect of digital transformation since the company’s inception. Whole industries have changed and been created by the firm. “We make products for people that are tools to enable them to do things that they couldn’t otherwise do,” Cook said. It also creates millions of jobs doing so, he says.

On human rights, the environment, and energy

Apple’s own developer guidelines have always stressed the needs of the most important element to any kind of computing: the human. That’s not just window dressing, not only does this focus build an army of loyal users, but it also runs deep into the DNA. “We advocate for human rights, because Apple has always been about making products for everyone,” says Cook. You can’t have one without the other. Privacy and security is another matter, Apple tries to prevent tech abusing trust. “We don’t do good to market”, he says.

For the rich?

Apple’s products aren’t the cheapest, at least not at the high end, but we’ve all seen the company slowly reduce the cost of some popular items – who else recalls when iPods got cheap, and the iPod nano hit c.$40? Cook kind of points this out in the interview, arguing that Apple is focused on making the “very best” products, rather than commodity items. “We wouldn’t have over a billion [actively used] products” if we only made things for the rich, he implies. That makes sense as it means there’s around one Apple product in use between around seven people alive on the planet today – that’s a much larger population of users than the ones you’ll find in the one percent club.

Health might be Apple’s gift

Cook alludes to ResearchKit, CareKit and promises the company is working on lots of things around health. Some is commercially focused, other stuff isn’t. But the take away seems to be that Apple is willing to support digital health innovations even without thinking too much about its bottom line.

One more thing

“We will always try to change the world for the better. That was the motivation behind creating Apple when it was created back in the ’70s. And it’s still the motivation today. It’s what drives us. We want to do what’s right, not what’s easy.”

There’s so much more in the whole report, I encourage you to take a look.

Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

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