All posts in “Tim Cook”

Apple CEO Tim Cook remembers Steve Jobs in heartfelt commencement speech

Tim Cook remembered Steve Jobs in a speech at Duke University.
Tim Cook remembered Steve Jobs in a speech at Duke University.

Image: Getty Images/justin sullivan

Apple CEO Tim Cook turned to a familiar source when it came to offering advice to the class of 2018.

Speaking at the commencement ceremony at Duke University, Cook encouraged the students in attendance to learn from the example set by Apple founder Steve Jobs. 

“No big challenge has ever been solved, and no lasting improvement has ever been achieved unless people dare to try something different, dare to think different,” Cook said echoing the words of Apple’s famous marketing campaign. 

“I was lucky to learn from someone who believed this deeply, someone who knew that changing the world started with following a vision, not a path. 

“Steve’s vision was that great ideas come from a restless refusal to accept things as they are.”

Apple’s top executive also used the speech as an opportunity to, once again, subtly diss all the tech companies that don’t respect users’ privacy (ahem, Facebook).

“We reject the excuse that getting the most out of technology means trading away your right to privacy,” he said. “So we choose a different path, collecting as little of your data as possible, being thoughtful and respectful when it’s our care because we know it belongs to you.”

Privacy wasn’t the only issue of the day Cook referenced in the wide-ranging speech. He also spoke about climate change (which, yes, included another plug for Apple), gun violence, the #metoo movement, and the “deep inequality” that faces many Americans.

He concluded with a call for students to “find your fearlessness.” 

“If you hope to change the world, you must find your fearlessness,” he said. “Fearlessness means taking the first step even if you’re not sure where it will take you.”

You can watch the full speech in the video, below.

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Zuckerberg fires back at Tim Cook, opens up about fake news

Zuckerberg has been on a bit of a publicity tour following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and a generally tough year for the social media behemoth.

This morning, an interview with Zuck was published on Vox’s The Ezra Klein Show. In it, the Facebook CEO waded through some of the company’s most pressing issues, including how to deal with fake news and help support good journalism and how to deal with governing a community of 2 billion people. Zuck also clapped back at Tim Cook who has criticized Facebook’s model of generating revenue through advertising.

Fake News

On the problem of Fake News and transparency in the past:

It’s tough to be transparent when we don’t first have a full understanding of where the state of some of the systems are. In 2016, we were behind having an understanding and operational excellence on preventing things like misinformation, Russian interference. And you can bet that that’s a huge focus for us going forward.

On how Facebook is trying to serve up content, including news content, that is meaningful to users:

The way that this works today, broadly, is we have panels of hundreds or thousands of people who come in and we show them all the content that their friends and pages who they follow have shared. And we ask them to rank it, and basically say, “What were the most meaningful things that you wish were at the top of feed?” And then we try to design algorithms that just map to what people are actually telling us is meaningful to them. Not what they click on, not what is going to make us the most revenue, but what people actually find meaningful and valuable. So when we’re making shifts — like the broadly trusted shift — the reason why we’re doing that is because it actually maps to what people are telling us they want at a deep level.

Zuck was also asked about supporting news organizations, as some slice of Facebook’s revenue comes from users consuming news on the platform:

For the larger institutions, and maybe even some of the smaller ones as well, subscriptions are really a key point on this. I think a lot of these business models are moving towards a higher percentage of subscriptions, where the people who are getting the most value from you are contributing a disproportionate amount to the revenue. And there are certainly a lot of things that we can do on Facebook to help people, to help these news organizations, drive subscriptions. And that’s certainly been a lot of the work that we’ve done and we’ll continue doing.

He also addressed that subscriptions might not work for local news, which the CEO believes are equally important:

In local news, I think some of the solutions might be a little bit different. But I think it’s easy to lose track of how important this is. There’s been a lot of conversation about civic engagement changing, and I think people can lose sight of how closely tied that can be to local news. In a town with a strong local newspaper, people are much more informed, they’re much more likely to be civically active. On Facebook we’ve taken steps to show more local news to people. We’re also working with them specifically, creating funds to support them and working on both subscriptions and ads there should hopefully create a more thriving ecosystem.

In Reaction to Tim Cook

In an interview last week, the Apple CEO said that tech firms “are beyond” self-regulation. When asked what he would do if he was in Zuckerberg’s position, Cook said “I wouldn’t be in this situation.” The CEO has long held that an advertising model, in which companies use data around users to sell to brands, is not what Apple wants to become.

“They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it,” he said of Facebook and Google in 2015. “We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.”

Zuck was asked about Cook’s statements in the interview:

You know, I find that argument, that if you’re not paying that somehow we can’t care about you, to be extremely glib. And not at all aligned with the truth. The reality here is that if you want to build a service that helps connect everyone in the world, then there are a lot of people who can’t afford to pay. And therefore, as with a lot of media, having an advertising-supported model is the only rational model that can support building this service to reach people.

That doesn’t mean that we’re not primarily focused on serving people. I think probably to the dissatisfaction of our sales team here, I make all of our decisions based on what’s going to matter to our community and focus much less on the advertising side of the business.

Zuck even took the opportunity to clap back at Cook a bit, saying we shouldn’t believe that companies trying to charge us more actually care about us.

But if you want to build a service which is not just serving rich people, then you need to have something that people can afford. I thought Jeff Bezos had an excellent saying on this in one of his Kindle launches a number of years back. He said, “There are companies that work hard to charge you more, and there are companies that work hard to charge you less.” And at Facebook, we are squarely in the camp of the companies that work hard to charge you less and provide a free service that everyone can use.

I don’t think at all that that means that we don’t care about people. To the contrary, I think it’s important that we don’t all get Stockholm Syndrome and let the companies that work hard to charge you more convince you that they actually care more about you. Because that sounds ridiculous to me.

The Government of Facebook

Vox’s founder and Editor-at-Large Ezra Klein brought up something Zuck said in an earlier interview, that Facebook was more like a government than a traditional company. Zuck explained that disputes over what content is admissible on Facebook has grown to a scale that requires a certain level of governance.

But I think it’s actually one of the most interesting philosophical questions that we face. With a community of more than 2 billion people, all around the world, in every different country, where there are wildly different social and cultural norms, it’s just not clear to me that us sitting in an office here in California are best placed to always determine what the policies should be for people all around the world. And I’ve been working on and thinking through, how can you set up a more democratic or community-oriented process that reflects the values of people around the world?

That’s one of the things that I really think we need to get right. Because I’m just not sure that the current state is a great one.

On how Facebook could prepare for its own overwhelming scale:

One is transparency. Right now, I don’t think we are transparent enough around the prevalence of different issues on the platform. We haven’t done a good job of publishing and being transparent about the prevalence of those kind of issues, and the work that we’re doing and the trends of how we’re driving those things down over time.

And on long-term goals for governance:

But over the long-term, what I’d really like to get to is an independent appeal. So maybe folks at Facebook make the first decision based on the community standards that are outlined, and then people can get a second opinion. You can imagine some sort of structure, almost like a Supreme Court, that is made up of independent folks who don’t work for Facebook, who ultimately make the final judgment call on what should be acceptable speech in a community that reflects the social norms and values of people all around the world.

You can read the full interview at Vox.com.

Tim Cook says users will be able to turn off iPhone slowdown ‘feature’

iPhone 7
iPhone 7

Image: Lili Sams/Mashable

If you’re not happy with Apple’s assessment that iPhones should be slowed down as their batteries degrade, Apple CEO Tim Cook’s got good news for you: You’ll soon be able to turn that functionality off. 

In an interview with ABC News, Cook once again apologized for perhaps not being clear enough about the motivation behind the move, which only became widely known after developer John Poole published a study which showed that the performance of iPhone 6S and 7 degrade over time. 

“We deeply apologize to anybody that thinks we had some other kind of motivation, cause our motivation is always the user,” Cook said. 

For the first time, Cook also promised a software update that will let users monitor their battery performance, and give them the ability to run their iPhone at full speed, battery be damned. 

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“In a developer release that’s gonna happen next month, we’re gonna give people the visibility of the health of the battery, so it’s very, very transparent,” he said. “We will tell somebody, we’ll say we are slightly reducing your performance by a certain amount, in order to not have an unexpected restart, and if you don’t want it, you can turn it off. “

Cook says that this is not recommended, as you never know when the phone is going to restart at just the wrong time — for example, when you’re waiting for an important call. But as the company has learned (or failed to learn) time and time again, users like to have as much control as possible over the devices they own. Judging by the piling lawsuits related to the iPhone slowdown “feature,” many users will welcome the possibility to turn it off.   

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Apple’s ‘I’m sorry’ for throttling old iPhones isn’t good enough for Congress

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, speaks during the Fortune 500 Global Forum in Guangzhou, Guandong Province, China in December.
Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, speaks during the Fortune 500 Global Forum in Guangzhou, Guandong Province, China in December.

Image: ALEKSANDAR PLAVEVSKI/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

The drama surrounding Apple’s old iPhone batteries isn’t over yet. 

Four U.S. House Republicans sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook on Friday asking for answers on batterygate. 

In December, Apple admitted to throttling the speed of older iPhones to increase battery performance, a long-time conspiracy theory among iPhone users that turned out to be true. As a result, Apple issued an apology to its customers, and announced reduced pricing for out-of-warranty iPhone battery replacement, from $79 to $29. 

But the apology and explanation from the billion dollar company wasn’t enough for House Republicans, who want more answers on the subject, according to Reuters

The report also notes that U.S. Senator John Thune sent a similar letter to Apple on Tuesday. Thune is the chair on the the Senate Commerce Committee.

Cook reportedly made $12.8 million in 2017, according to a statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission

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Apple’s hand is down and its $1 trillion dream now rests with consumers


As we head into the end of 2017, it’s pretty safe to say that Apple’s fate — barring any major issue with its phones — is now in the hands of its consumers.

With the iPhone X now in stores (well, sort of — if you catch them at the right time), Apple has now laid down its hand and waits to see where consumer demand lands. Its bid to unlock a higher-tier consumer could indeed end up creating a ton of value for the company, which has spent the past year looking to reignite growth in its core driver.

While the iPad and Mac continue to contribute, Apple’s fate largely rests on the success of the iPhone X. Apple this year has increasingly looked like it’s on a real pathway to becoming a $1 trillion company, and now the holiday quarter is going to show if it’ll be able to pull that off.

And the signals are definitely there. Apple briefly tapped a $900 billion market cap, though it’s slipped since then. That $1 trillion goal is just a jump of a bit more than 10 percent for the company, though for Apple that means adding more than $100 billion in value. But this year alone, shares of Apple are up nearly 50 percent as it increasingly looks like Apple is getting its act together after a middling 2016.

Apple can aggressively invest in marketing, advertising or other channels to try to get the attention of consumers. But the phone is out there, people say it’s great and the price is already set. Apple’s immediate challenge may be to convince users to get the phone or sign up for its subscription upgrade plan. But with the holiday quarter hitting its critical juncture, consumers will very soon make their decision as to whether Apple’s interpretation of the next generation of smartphones is the right one. And it’s going to rest on whether or not Apple’s bid to unlock a new tier of paying customers is going to play out the way it expects.

If Apple is going to hit $1 trillion, it’s going to have to have a portfolio of products that allow it to incrementally increase the total market it can attack. This is typically referred to as TAM (total addressable market), and for a while it looked like Apple may have hit the upper bound of that as the iPhone hit a saturation point with consumers. So Apple has made a big bet to increase that possibility to ratchet up that least upper bound: seeing if people will pay more for its products. And that meant coming out with a phone that costs nearly $1,200 in the United States.

With the fall launches, Apple now has three pricing tiers to go with its products. You pay a lot of money for a big phone, a lot more money for a bigger phone and a lot more money than that to get a premium next-generation phone. That gives Apple an opportunity to tap the rabid early-adopter fan base that got people excited about the iPhone in the first place — the ones who may be willing to fork out more money to get early access to features that may one day be what a next-generation smartphone looks like.

And the iPhone X certainly has those features. The screen fits to the edges of the device. The home button is gone, now replaced by its interpretation of it as software. It has the ability to unlock itself with your face. It includes wireless charging (which the iPhone 8 also has), which seems more of a novelty for now as the technicals evolve. But more importantly, it aims to feel like a next-generation phone, packaging all the best notions that have incrementally pushed forward the bounds of a smartphone in one neat product at a high price point.

And the success of that is, indeed, a frustrating uncertainty. Apple initially seemed to be unable to get enough phones into the hands of consumers, though that seems to have leveled out a bit — checking the Apple Store indicates that the shipping time is now one to two weeks. But despite widely positive reviews, Wall Street still seems to be waiting on the right signals to give Apple the green light to race to a $1 trillion valuation.

Apple’s own expectations for the holiday quarter bring it back to a growth phase, though this is always the most critical quarter for the company. It’s when it’s going to sell the most phones, but it’s also when Apple is able to thoroughly test the appetite for its new phones. This holiday quarter is going to give Apple the opportunity to see if its users are ready to spend nearly $1,200 on a phone — quite a bit more than the norm.

So, at a mechanical level, this is a way to continue to grow its business. It can release new products like the HomePod or AirPods, or continue to build out its services business as it looks to continue to lock in its users. But because the iPhone is its sweet spot, if it can figure out a way to eke more value out of that business, it basically just gives Wall Street an opportunity to take additional value onto its market cap — even if it’s just a function of the amount of money it makes and the revenue it projects for the next round.

But Apple has really always been a premium product. Though accessible to a wide array of users, Apple wants to have that shine that the company has a robust ecosystem that it’s able to ensure has a high quality. Apple is going to look to tap that shine that made it the original harbinger of the smartphone era — and its hopes of becoming a $1 trillion company are now more or less a waiting game to see how the story plays out.