Tim Cook: Apple's culture of innovation refuses to recognize any limits

Posted:
in AAPL Investors edited January 2014
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Conference, Tim Cook defended Apple from a whisper campaign that's seeding the idea the company is out of ideas and soon won't be able to continue to compete.

Tim Cook


Asked about Apple's "culture of innovation," Cook said, "it's never been stronger. Innovation is so deeply embedded in Apple's culture. The boldness, ambition, belief there aren't limits, a desire to make the very best products in the world. It's the strongest ever. It's in the DNA of the company.""If you look at some essentials, there's no formula. If there was a formula, a lot of companies would have bought their ability to innovate"

While Apple's products have many imitators, Cook said that Apple's "culture of innovation" isn't something that can be formulaically copied by rivals.

"If you look at some essentials, there's no formula. If there was a formula, a lot of companies would have bought their ability to innovate. Some essentials are skills and leadership," Cook said. "If you look at skills, Apple is in a unique and unrivaled position. Apple has skills in software, in hardware, and in services."

Cook added, "the model of the PC industry, that model's not working for what consumers want today. Consumers want an elegant experience where the technology flows to the background.

"The real magic happens at the intersection of these, and Apple has the ability on all three of these spheres to innovate like crazy and really cause magic. These skills, this isn't something you can just go write a check for. This is decades of experience."

Cook's mention of "writing a check" to buy innovation is a likely allusion to a comment made by Steve Jobs in 2007, where he addressed a shareholder who asked why Apple wasn't spending more on research and development by saying, "?I wish developing great products was as easy as writing a check!

"If that were the case," Jobs quipped, "then Microsoft would have great products."

No limits for Apple

Asked if Apple was reaching the point where it was approaching 'natural limits,' an apparent allusion to the "law of large numbers" talking point frequently used to predict the sudden collapse of Apple's growth trajectory, Cook answered, "There's that word 'limit.' We don't have that in Apple's vocabulary."

Cook added, "when I zoom out and look at the smartphone market in particular, what I see is a market that is projected to double in the next few years. This is a huge market. On a longer-term basis, all phones will be smartphones and there's a lot more people in the world [buying them] than 1.4 billion, and people love to upgrade their phones very regularly," Cook said.

"Over 40% of that, 500 million, happened over last year. Across that period of time, we built an ecosystem that is the best in customer experience on the planet. In addition, it's fueling an incredible economic gain for developers. We've paid over $8 billion to [iOS App Store] developers."

That figure is $1 billion higher than the number Apple last reported for the end of 2012. If the company continues the current exponential pace of growth in the App Store, it will need to pay out $14 billion this year alone, or more than $1 billion per month. That figure comes in addition to the App Store revenues Apple is booking for iTunes, which only looks at the 30 percent cut Apple charges on the sale of paid apps.

Turning attention specifically to Apple's largest, most promising new market, Cook said, "when I look at what Apple has done in China, I think it's hard for anyone to evaluate and say it's not impressive. The company has gone from a few hundred million in revenue in one year to $3 billion in the next to $13 billion the next. We're adding over $10 billion every year."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25


    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    …Cook answered, "There's that word 'limit.' We don't have that in Apple's vocabulary."


     


    They sure like to limit the amount of dedicated video RAM on their GPUs… I'd put the maximum each respective chip allowed, myself. Even if it meant having stuff custom designed and ordered.

  • Reply 2 of 25
    They sure like to limit the amount of dedicated video RAM on their GPUs… I'd put the maximum each respective chip allowed, myself. Even if it meant having stuff custom designed and ordered.

    Apple made 3.5" screens the limit for 5 years too.... will 4" be the limit for the next 5 years?

    Let's hope not!
  • Reply 3 of 25
    Tim opens his mouth and Apple stock drops.... Thank you Tim, stock price really was too high!
  • Reply 4 of 25

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by seekingtheta View Post



    Tim opens his mouth and Apple stock drops.... Thank you Tim, stock price really was too high!


     


    That isn't Tim's fault, it's the fault of speculators and irrational analysts.

  • Reply 5 of 25
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member


    Is there a reason Tim's comments have to be split amongst umpteen separate posts?  Why not have one thread rather than picking out certain quotes and starting separate threads about them.  9 to 5 Mac did the same thing,  so annoying.

  • Reply 6 of 25
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member


    Tim must have special affection for Jony Ive and Bob Mansfield.  Again today when he talked about leadership he specifically mentioned Jony and Bob and what they're working on (said he was "ecstatic" about Ive getting involved in software). 

  • Reply 7 of 25


    Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post

    Apple made 3.5" screens the limit for 5 years too.... will 4" be the limit for the next 5 years?



    Let's hope not!


     


    I'd rather my device be usable than conform to some ludicrous growth "requirement".


     


    Screens are not the new megapixel war. At least, they'd better not be.




    If you apply the current crop of phones to other areas, talk about a literal metaphor…


     


    "Is that a Samsung in your pocket or do you often have women taking notice of your… technology?"

  • Reply 8 of 25
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,678member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


    Tim must have special affection for Jony Ive and Bob Mansfield.  Again today when he talked about leadership he specifically mentioned Jony and Bob and what they're working on (said he was "ecstatic" about Ive getting involved in software). 



    Maybe special affection, or maybe lots of respect and maybe he really is genuinely psyched about how the Apple software is getting some real designer love. Its much needed.

  • Reply 9 of 25
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,799member


    Anyone else hope Apple will innovate a way to control the cursor to go exactly where you want to place it easier than you can do now? How about innovating a way to have a delete or backspace? Or how about a way to scroll to the bottom of a long webpage without scrolling a dozen times? There are so many little quirks and annoyances I keep waiting for Apple to address. 

  • Reply 10 of 25
    One of the secrets to winning in the battle against the competition is making services and information that has up until now been unaffordable or difficult to acquire, affordable and easy to acquire. Siri is a bit like a personal secretary. The Internet on a computer is now the Internet on a phone. Apps are like miniature versions of expensive software for the desktop. Soon our iPhones and iPads will offer us the brightest minds in the world, in the form of artificial intelligence, and these brilliant pieces of programming will be ours to consult with whenever we need them. Can you imagine your own personal team of doctors, designers, fashion consultants, coaches, lawyers, etc.? All of these things will be possible.
  • Reply 11 of 25


    Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

    Anyone else hope Apple will innovate a way to control the cursor to go exactly where you want to place it easier than you can do now?


     


    Called touchscreens. Already done.






    How about innovating a way to have a delete or backspace?



     


    So press Delete… ?






    Or how about a way to scroll to the bottom of a long webpage without scrolling a dozen times?



     


    Scroll 1/1000th of an inch to have the bar show up, move your cursor where you want go on the bar, click and hold. It scrolls there automatically. This was microscopically easier when scroll bars were always visible, but it's the same operation as it has always been. 

  • Reply 12 of 25
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,799member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    Called touchscreens. Already done.


     


    So press Delete… ?


     


    Scroll 1/1000th of an inch to have the bar show up, move your cursor where you want go on the bar, click and hold. It scrolls there automatically. This was microscopically easier when scroll bars were always visible, but it's the same operation as it has always been. 



     


     


    I didn't mean to include delete, I know it has a delete key. I meant backspace.


     


    And anyone trying to get the cursor to go to an exact location knows about the frustration I am talking about. It is very difficult to move the cursor to a very specific letter or location. The touch and hold brings up the magnifying glass and helps you select words, but makes it hard to choose an individual letter within a word you might want to correct for example.


     


    The scroll bar doesn't move to the bottom of a very long page like AI for example with full comments with one flick. If it does, please explain a little better because if that is possible I really want to know how to get to the bottom in one swipe. With the scroll bar visible it can still take numerous flicks to go the very bottom of a long page. On OS X it is easy and as you describe, but I can't copy that in Safari with iOS.

  • Reply 13 of 25


    Originally Posted by gwmac View Post

    I didn't mean to include delete, I know it has a delete key. I meant backspace.




    Backspace is Delete in the Windows world. Do you mean right delete? Then do you mean iOS?






    And anyone trying to get the cursor to go to an exact location knows about the frustration I am talking about. It is very difficult to move the cursor to a very specific letter or location.






    Yeah, you're talking about iOS… That could be snappier, sure.





    On OS X it is easy and as you describe, but I can't copy that in Safari with iOS.



     


    Right, and that's what I thought you meant. Perhaps a 10 (20) pixel wide area on the right side of the screen could be treated like the scroll area (well, you know, whatever it is now, just always instead of conditionally). Except that would break websites, which is the opposite of what Apple would want to do. 

  • Reply 14 of 25
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,799member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post




    Backspace is Delete in the Windows world. Do you mean right delete? Then do you mean iOS?




    Yeah, you're talking about iOS… That could be snappier, sure.


     


    Right, and that's what I thought you meant. Perhaps a 10 (20) pixel wide area on the right side of the screen could be treated like the scroll area (well, you know, whatever it is now, just always instead of conditionally). Except that would break websites, which is the opposite of what Apple would want to do. 



     


    I just mean the equivalent of the back arrow key.


     


    If you make a mistake typing in iOS it is very hard to go back and make a small correction.


     


    I think an easy way to address the scroll issue would be a long fast swipe down would move it all the way to the bottom on the page. A shorter and slower flick would work the same as it does now, basically one page down. 

  • Reply 15 of 25


    Originally Posted by gwmac View Post


    I think an easy way to address the scroll issue would be a long fast swipe down would move it all the way to the bottom on the page. A shorter and slower flick would work the same as it does now, basically one page down. 



     


    Well, if "tap the top" gets you to the top, shouldn't "tap the bottom" get you to the bottom?

  • Reply 16 of 25
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member

    So according to Fast Company Apple dropped from 1 to 13 on their list of most innovative companies.   I'm curious what made them #1 last year and what happened since to make them drop to #13?  Seems they're just jumping on the Apple no longer innovates bandwagon.


     


  • Reply 17 of 25


    Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

    So according to Fast Company Apple dropped from 1 to 13 on their list of most innovative companies.   I'm curious what made them #1 last year and what happened since to make them drop to #13?  Seems they're just jumping on the Apple no longer innovates bandwagon.


     




     


    Where's the link to Fast Company on that page? All I see is an unsourced report from a South Korean website.


     


    Anyway, they seem to be ignoring manufacturing. Apple has pushed retina displays for quite some time now.

  • Reply 18 of 25
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,799member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    Well, if "tap the top" gets you to the top, shouldn't "tap the bottom" get you to the bottom?



    Except that it doesn't. That is my point.  On a long webpage it takes to long to scroll up or down. 

  • Reply 19 of 25
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    Where's the link to Fast Company on that page? All I see is an unsourced report from a South Korean website.


     


    Anyway, they seem to be ignoring manufacturing. Apple has pushed retina displays for quite some time now.



    I didn't bother going to their website.  I'm sure it's accurate.  The hot trend these days is massive FUD.  Just this morning some info babe on Bloomberg asked a financial analyst if Apple has a product that can "save" it and if the iWatch can do it. image

  • Reply 20 of 25
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Well, if "tap the top" gets you to the top, shouldn't "tap the bottom" get you to the bottom?

    gwmac wrote: »
    Except that it doesn't. That is my point.  On a long webpage it takes to long to scroll up or down. 

    I agree with this wholeheartedly. I'm surprised I'm never seen a button at the top of a mobile version of a long page, like a forum, that will take you to the bottom. It's as easy having an href tag to the thread-footer (Post a Reply and Start a NEw Thread button) that is linked to text or a button at the top.
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