Tim Cook talks Apple innovation, health, and Steve Jobs in candid interview

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2022
Apple CEO Tim Cook has guest-edited the latest edition of Popular Mechanics, and in an interview explains just how he thinks Steve Jobs would view the company today.




Following Jony Ive's guest editing of the Financial Times magazine about design, Tim Cook has taken over Popular Mechanics -- and revealed it is a favorite.

"[Popular Mechanics] answered the question 'How?' a lot," he says in the full paywalled interview. "And it explored things that I was terribly interested in, from cars to space travel. It got me interested in the 50-in-1 Tandy Science Fair Radio Shack kit."

"And I think it's so awesome that it has survived over 100 years, that the magazine could evolve and still be for hobbyists and tinkerers-- the computer business got started in the same way," he continued. "The people who were originally interested in computers were hobbyists and tinkerers."

Cook was asked about how the computer industry moved from "tinkerers" to where it is today and how a company like Apple comes up with its ideas.

"They don't take any singular route, they can come from everywhere in the company," he said. "We believe in putting groups of people together focused on solving some problem for a user."

"You pick diverse teams that look at the problem through different lenses," continued Cook. "We debate about things that we do and do not do, because we know we can only do a few things well."

"You have to debate and say no to a lot of great ideas so that you can spend your time on the ones that are truly unbelievable," he said. "[Usually] the way that you get people around here to do something is to tell them you're not sure it's doable."

"That's the red flag in front of the bull, because a lot of people here don't take 'impossible' as being true," said Cook. "If we convince ourselves it's in the best interest of the user, that's a compelling force for us to power through the problem."

One example he gives of how Apple products regularly make him feel "like a kid in a candy store," is the move to Apple Silicon.

"We were just talking in the hallway about M2 and M1 -- the history there goes back well over a decade," said Cook. "It goes back to the genesis of the M chips, or the A chips, from iPhone and really getting in and figuring out, how do you put a powerful chip in something that small and not get it to heat up and burn up?"

"We found ourselves with a similar issue for laptops: How do you put something in there that is the most powerful computer chip in the world?" he continued. "Out of that was born M1, and now we've taken it further with M2. And Mac is now a totally different product than it was before."

Steve Jobs with the original Mac
Steve Jobs with the original Mac


Cook says that Steve Jobs originally wanted to put a Mac in every classroom. "Later, we revised that for everyone within the classroom to have their own Mac," he added.

Beyond the Mac, Apple is now known for health -- and Cook has previously said that may be what Apple is remembered for. In this new interview, he says that Apple just wanted to encourage people to exercise more.

"We added coaching to that to prompt people -- you may get a notification that you only need to walk another 12 minutes today to close your rings," he said. "I get a lot of notes from people saying how motivating it is. They've closed their rings for 365 days straight. This is amazing -- I don't close mine 365 days straight."

With Apple now spread out across health, services, and multiple platforms, Cook was asked what he thought Steve Jobs would think of the company today.

"I think he would find things that he loved and things that he would say, 'We can do better on that,'" said Cook. "I think he would do both. As we all do. We are never really satisfied. We're always working on tomorrow."

"I think about him a lot. I miss him dearly," Cook continued. "He would always stop by my office on his way out. And there's never been a replacement for that."

"We would exchange tidbits on the day and talk about the future... and we try to carry on the mission that he set in place, to build the best products in the world that enrich people's lives," he said. "And that hasn't changed. Lots of things change with time. But the reason for our being is the same."

Tim Cook's interview is part of a special Popular Mechanics edition about what he describes as "responsible innovation."

"At Apple, we believe that we have a responsibility to leave the world better than we found it," Cook explains in his editorial. "And that's why we put our values at the center of everything we do."

Read on AppleInsider
StrangeDays

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    Is there anything in Steve Jobs vision that Apple hasn’t accomplished? 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 17
    I don't think Steve Jobs ever had a 'vision'. He started young and arrogant, believing in his superiority and ruthlessly exploiting the connections he had to make money. He got a little wiser with age and learned how to present himself better but he never lost his self-superiority or arrogance. Had he been an academic and shared his abilities at concept-level, his ideas would have been refined faster, improved and shared with the World for free, instead of just making money. He was a troubled individual made more extreme by his financial success. At least he used apple to bring us some great 'products' instead. 

    Cook is the ultimate logistics man, shortly to retire, who brought us the monstrosity of the Mac Studio. He also ejected Steve Job's equal, Johny Ive. The trajectory for Apple currently looks irrecoverable. Burn-up. 
    graphicsguy
  • Reply 3 of 17
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,673member
    "And I think it's so awesome that it has survived over 100 years, that the magazine could evolve and still be for hobbyists and tinkerers-- the computer business got started in the same way,"

    Where’s my Flying Car, Popular Mechanics?    Been waiting since the 50s.  (I’m Not that old but I could be).  

    https://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/infrastructure/g2021/history-of-flying-car/

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 17
    I have a hard time believing that Tim Cook ever speaks candidly. He seems like someone who always has a script.
    JapheyCheeseFreezeboboliciouswatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 17

    timmillea said:
    I don't think Steve Jobs ever had a 'vision'. He started young and arrogant, believing in his superiority and ruthlessly exploiting the connections he had to make money. He got a little wiser with age and learned how to present himself better but he never lost his self-superiority or arrogance. Had he been an academic and shared his abilities at concept-level, his ideas would have been refined faster, improved and shared with the World for free, instead of just making money. He was a troubled individual made more extreme by his financial success. At least he used apple to bring us some great 'products' instead. 

    Cook is the ultimate logistics man, shortly to retire, who brought us the monstrosity of the Mac Studio. He also ejected Steve Job's equal, Johny Ive. The trajectory for Apple currently looks irrecoverable. Burn-up. 
    That’s somewhat over-dramatic - Apple being  irrecoverable….

    But first - the interview piece is just paid company  propaganda - not sure why AppleInsider would feel it’s worth posting and label it as ‘candid’. Nothing is revealed of Tim Cook. You’ll never get to learn who guys like that really are because they can’t afford that. Especially Cook and Apple - you can clearly see his marketing writing room weighing every damn word. All is scripted, nothing is real. Should I really believe he still often thinks about Steve Jobs? 

    Anyway….

    I agree that it’s often not vision, but things like (design) values, perseverance, adaptability…  In this world it’s even hard to predict the next 3 years. It’s never “vision” but a combination of traits and skills that a CEO needs to inject throughout the entire org.

    However I do think getting rid of Ive was the best thing. His time was up, it didn’t work anymore. His focus on design hurt other aspects such as usability. And Apple demonstrated with the new iMac they can still come up with great designed products.
    I do agree that the Mac Studio is a miss when it comes to design. It’s not elegant at all to stack Mac Minis on top and be done with it.

    That doesn’t mean they’re on a descending trajectory as a company….
    edited August 2022 muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 17
    newvideoaznewvideoaz Posts: 15unconfirmed, member
    timmillea said:
    I don't think Steve Jobs ever had a 'vision'. He started young and arrogant, believing in his superiority and ruthlessly exploiting the connections he had to make money. He got a little wiser with age and learned how to present himself better but he never lost his self-superiority or arrogance. Had he been an academic and shared his abilities at concept-level, his ideas would have been refined faster, improved and shared with the World for free, instead of just making money. He was a troubled individual made more extreme by his financial success. At least he used apple to bring us some great 'products' instead. 

    Cook is the ultimate logistics man, shortly to retire, who brought us the monstrosity of the Mac Studio. He also ejected Steve Job's equal, Johny Ive. The trajectory for Apple currently looks irrecoverable. Burn-up. 
    Damm you. I have to go find more money to spend now. (My strategy for decades has been that every time someone writes in public about how Apple is lame and useless and is clearly on the verge of crashing and burning - I try to buy Apple Stock.) Looking back it’s been a crazy good investment strategy. And here we go again!
    lkruppdewmewatto_cobramangakattenjony0
  • Reply 7 of 17
    But first - the interview piece is just paid company  propaganda - not sure why AppleInsider would feel it’s worth posting and label it as ‘candid’. Nothing is revealed of Tim Cook. You’ll never get to learn who guys like that really are because they can’t afford that. Especially Cook and Apple - you can clearly see his marketing writing room weighing every damn word. All is scripted, nothing is real. Should I really believe he still often thinks about Steve Jobs? 

    Of course he thinks about Steve. In the sense of "Insanely great, that Steve is not here anymore. He would probably pop in with some harebrained crazy design idea for that new machine we are designing, generating nothing but headache for my smoothly running money making operations machine. Ah here you go, just double the hight of the old Mac Mini and 'boom' done. Worked for AppleTV will work for the Mac mini studio. 
    bobolicious
  • Reply 8 of 17
    crowleycrowley Posts: 10,453member
    timmillea said:

    Cook is the ultimate logistics man, shortly to retire, who brought us the monstrosity of the Mac Studio. He also ejected Steve Job's equal, Johny Ive. The trajectory for Apple currently looks irrecoverable. Burn-up. 
    Damn near fell off my chair!  Very funny.
    muthuk_vanalingamdewmejony0
  • Reply 9 of 17
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,798member
    I have a hard time believing that Tim Cook ever speaks candidly. He seems like someone who always has a script.
    I think that's true although it's forgivable to a point and there are occasions when it really irks me because it comes over a so false and shallow.

    In those cases it would be better if he just didn't say anything at all. 
    muthuk_vanalingambobolicious
  • Reply 10 of 17
    sunman42sunman42 Posts: 277member
    timmillea said:
    I don't think Steve Jobs ever had a 'vision'. He started young and arrogant, believing in his superiority and ruthlessly exploiting the connections he had to make money. He got a little wiser with age and learned how to present himself better but he never lost his self-superiority or arrogance. Had he been an academic and shared his abilities at concept-level, his ideas would have been refined faster, improved and shared with the World for free, instead of just making money. He was a troubled individual made more extreme by his financial success. At least he used apple to bring us some great 'products' instead. 

    Cook is the ultimate logistics man, shortly to retire, who brought us the monstrosity of the Mac Studio. He also ejected Steve Job's equal, Johny Ive. The trajectory for Apple currently looks irrecoverable. Burn-up. 

    ——

    Can’t figure out if this is sincere, or simply a bit of trolling. In either case, I’ll bite, because there are a couple of things that are patently inaccurate.

    Yes, Steve Jobs had some pretty serious character flaws, and had a hard time treating most employees as human beings until he was, unsurprisingly, mellowed a bit by marriage. But both before and after that watershed in his life, he was able to organize and drive people on to great things. As much as I favor complete openness in new developments in, say, medicine, the academic environment is the last place an actual product will get produced in sufficient quantities to keep a single person alive (cf. penicillin), much less treat all the victims of war or a pandemic. You need industry for that. And worse, as anyone with a good memory knows, press releases (inevitably written by arts graduates) from universities crowing about advances made on their research campuses curiously rarely lead to any production at all — and none on that research campus, but only by industry. Do I think the rabid egotism of many industrial leaders isn’t toxic? Of course not. But it takes the organizing and drivings force of an industrial leader with vision to produce actual things. And it doesn’t hurt if, as in Mr, Jobs’s case, that leader is an accomplished showman.

    By the way, the Studio is anything but a monstrosity. May not be what you want or need, but a good number of paying customers disagree with you.

    edited August 2022 muthuk_vanalingamdewmeStrangeDayswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 11 of 17
    marc gmarc g Posts: 65member
    Cook is the ultimate logistics man, shortly to retire, who brought us the monstrosity of the Mac Studio. He also ejected Steve Job's equal, Johny Ive. The trajectory for Apple currently looks irrecoverable. Burn-up. 
    Everyone is of course entitled to an opinion. I’ve been using macs for more than 3 decades. Have their been bad choices along the way? Absolutely. But I don’t think the Mac Studio is a monstrosity. I’ve got one on my desk and not only is it nearly silent, it also runs rings around my noisy 2020 27 inch iMac. In my line of work (music performance and production), having a fast, silent machine can be the difference between getting a gig and not getting one. Also, he didn’t eject johny Ive. As brilliant as he was, Johny ejected himself after designing many potentially great products into a corner that he couldn’t or wouldn’t design them out of. 
    dewmemuthuk_vanalingamStrangeDayswatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 12 of 17
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,469member
    When I was in undergrad college I would sometimes go to the library and peruse archival Popular Mechanics magazines (and others) for light reading in-between classes. One particular issue that I still remember very clearly was the March 1960 issue. It contained two articles that caught my eye. The first one was about Project Plowshares, which was a proposed program in the US to use hydrogen bombs for civilian uses such as dredging harbors and blasting a new addition to the Panama Canal. The other one was extolling the virtues of the Chevrolet Corvair. Needless to say, neither of these topics played out very favorably over the course of history. I still enjoy skimming through Popular Mechanics and appreciate its goal of making technological subjects of topical interest accessible for a wide range of readers.

    As far as Tim Cook's relationship with Steve Jobs is concerned, it's very apparent that Steve completely trusted Tim to take the reigns of Apple and steer it to new heights. Steve Jobs obviously had a massive investment in Apple and wanted to see it outlive his lifetime. His choice of Tim Cook was very intentional and one of the most important professional and emotional decisions he ever had to make. The fact that he made the decision while he still had some time to see it start to play out says a whole lot about his confidence in Tim Cook. When Tim Cook passes the baton to his successor he will do so with the same sense of gravitas that Steve had when he handed the helm over to Tim. Hopefully Tim Cook will have an opportunity to set out on a new chapter of his life after Apple, one that Steve unfortunately never had the opportunity to experience.
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 17
    boboliciousbobolicious Posts: 1,151member
    marc g said:
    Cook is the ultimate logistics man, shortly to retire, who brought us the monstrosity of the Mac Studio. He also ejected Steve Job's equal, Johny Ive. The trajectory for Apple currently looks irrecoverable. Burn-up. 
    Everyone is of course entitled to an opinion. I’ve been using macs for more than 3 decades. Have their been bad choices along the way? Absolutely. But I don’t think the Mac Studio is a monstrosity. I’ve got one on my desk and not only is it nearly silent, it also runs rings around my noisy 2020 27 inch iMac. In my line of work (music performance and production), having a fast, silent machine can be the difference between getting a gig and not getting one. Also, he didn’t eject johny Ive. As brilliant as he was, Johny ejected himself after designing many potentially great products into a corner that he couldn’t or wouldn’t design them out of. 
    For now. The Studio has no upgrade options.
    The (last SJ) 2011 mini offered dual ram and storage slots, and with faster silicon and egpu could such a format be a better option...?
    edited August 2022 watto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 17
    boboliciousbobolicious Posts: 1,151member

    avon b7 said:
    I have a hard time believing that Tim Cook ever speaks candidly. He seems like someone who always has a script.
    I think that's true although it's forgivable to a point and there are occasions when it really irks me because it comes over a so false and shallow.

    In those cases it would be better if he just didn't say anything at all. 
    I have come around to asking if Mr. Cook's strength is a remarkable left brain zeitgeist that supported and worked in concert with the right brain zeitgeist of Ive, and whatever unique combination of such the man in the middle (Steve Jobs) may have had... Could it be challenging on so many fronts now to have lost both a lead and a muse...?

    I have read that a 'core value' for Mr. Jobs was that profitability was essential in order to continue to create the best products for the customer, vs designing competitively to generate profit for the shareholders, and that the difference may seem subtle, yet fundamental...
    edited August 2022 watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 17
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,469member
    marc g said:
    Cook is the ultimate logistics man, shortly to retire, who brought us the monstrosity of the Mac Studio. He also ejected Steve Job's equal, Johny Ive. The trajectory for Apple currently looks irrecoverable. Burn-up. 
    Everyone is of course entitled to an opinion. I’ve been using macs for more than 3 decades. Have their been bad choices along the way? Absolutely. But I don’t think the Mac Studio is a monstrosity. I’ve got one on my desk and not only is it nearly silent, it also runs rings around my noisy 2020 27 inch iMac. In my line of work (music performance and production), having a fast, silent machine can be the difference between getting a gig and not getting one. Also, he didn’t eject johny Ive. As brilliant as he was, Johny ejected himself after designing many potentially great products into a corner that he couldn’t or wouldn’t design them out of. 
    For now. The Studio has no upgrade options.
    The (last SJ) 2011 mini offered dual ram and storage slots, and with faster silicon and egpu could such a format be a better option...?
    It’s completely fair to view the Mac Studio as a super Mac mini. But what’s wrong with that? It’s performance speaks for itself and Apple never promised any internal upgradeability from the start, just like every Mac mini (or MacBook) built in the last decade. It is what it is, and the continued back order situation with non-base Studios tells me that demand is very high.

    In my opinion the Studio nicely fills a slot in Apple’s lineup for those folks who would otherwise have purchased a higher end iMac 27” but who were not big fans of having a build-in display or all-in-one design.

    I’d vastly prefer having a Mac Studio with two or more matched high res monitors mounted on VESA arms than having an iMac with it’s big ‘ol chin that pairs aesthetically with nothing and a bundle of connections coming out the back of the arm mounted unit. Based on my experience any decent monitor will outlast the computational part of the iMac, even if just being able to stay current with the latest macOS version. Removing target display mode from iMac limits its lifetime, so you’re usually better off selling or donating the whole thing when it becomes “obsolete” for you.

    Notice that I didn’t say that the Mac Studio is a cost effective substitute for the higher end iMacs. It’s not. When you factor in the cost of the monitor(s), keyboard, display mounting system (if applicable), and trackpad alone it is not a cheap ride. In fact, if or when Apple pushes out a Apple Silicon optimized Mac mini, the new mini will likely fulfill the needs of a number of folks who are also looking to transition away from an all-in-one Mac design. Add to that, Apple may very well bring back a large screen iMac to satisfy the needs of those who have no intentions of leaving the all-in-one Mac world behind.

    I know we all like to talk about upgradability, but the only “upgrade” I’ve made to the last 4 Macs I’ve owned was to use a 3rd party board to allow me to reconfigure my 2014 Mac mini from HDD-only to a SSD-heavy Fusion setup, which transformed a total slug into a respectable machine that runs Monterey quite well. This mini was obviously not spec’d out well from the start - my bad. Other than that, my properly spec’d out Macs keep chugging along with exactly the same innards that they came with from the factory and continue to serve me well, other than being dead-ended on macOS version upgrades. Such is the nature of Macs. I’m confident that any decently spec’d out Mac Studio that I buy today will easily last me 5-8 years minimum and the 4K or better monitors will be around and a pleasure to use for at least a few years beyond that. 

    As much as I hate to say it, if upgradability is a serious concern for your productivity, profitability, or personal preference the only options you have with Apple is to buy a Mac Pro or buy a whole new Mac every few years. Does this mean Apple is gouging us with forced obsolescence? Hell no, because the number of Apple Mac customers who have such stringent needs is probably a tiny fraction of the total number of Mac buyers, most of whom are quite content to camp on the systems they buy for several years, which plays into the Apple TCO benefit very nicely and reliability. If the larger up-front cost of Macs over competitive systems wasn’t playing out well on the TCO side, I for one wouldn’t be lined up waiting for my next Mac to arrive.
    StrangeDayswatto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 17
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,929member
    timmillea said:
    I don't think Steve Jobs ever had a 'vision'. He started young and arrogant, believing in his superiority and ruthlessly exploiting the connections he had to make money. He got a little wiser with age and learned how to present himself better but he never lost his self-superiority or arrogance. Had he been an academic and shared his abilities at concept-level, his ideas would have been refined faster, improved and shared with the World for free, instead of just making money. He was a troubled individual made more extreme by his financial success. At least he used apple to bring us some great 'products' instead. 

    Cook is the ultimate logistics man, shortly to retire, who brought us the monstrosity of the Mac Studio. He also ejected Steve Job's equal, Johny Ive. The trajectory for Apple currently looks irrecoverable. Burn-up. 
    Oh, how well did you know him personally? Regardless, I believe you're wrong, as those closest to him have said he did have a vision, and democratizing personal computing was that vision, going back to his early days building what were inexpensive kit computers w/ Woz, and the genesis of their vision for household computing with the ][, and later appliance computing. Jef Raskin had a lot to say about appliance computing in the 1980s, and Jobs was enamored with it, and absolutely led the Macintosh team to deliver it according to his version & vision of what that meant. Doesn't mean you have to love the man, but to claim he didn't have vision is bunk.

    Ah yes, academia, which is continually pumping out new technology into the marketplace faster than the marketplace itself. Ok....
    edited August 2022 dewmewatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 17 of 17
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,929member
    marc g said:
    Cook is the ultimate logistics man, shortly to retire, who brought us the monstrosity of the Mac Studio. He also ejected Steve Job's equal, Johny Ive. The trajectory for Apple currently looks irrecoverable. Burn-up. 
    Everyone is of course entitled to an opinion. I’ve been using macs for more than 3 decades. Have their been bad choices along the way? Absolutely. But I don’t think the Mac Studio is a monstrosity. I’ve got one on my desk and not only is it nearly silent, it also runs rings around my noisy 2020 27 inch iMac. In my line of work (music performance and production), having a fast, silent machine can be the difference between getting a gig and not getting one. Also, he didn’t eject johny Ive. As brilliant as he was, Johny ejected himself after designing many potentially great products into a corner that he couldn’t or wouldn’t design them out of. 
    For now. The Studio has no upgrade options.
    The (last SJ) 2011 mini offered dual ram and storage slots, and with faster silicon and egpu could such a format be a better option...?
    Stating "upgrade options" as the definition of success is blatant goal-post moving. For most people, upgrade options are irrelevant -- they buy a machine configured at POS, and that's it. Sure I've upgraded the ram on my Macs a couple times, but it wasn't earth-shattering. Most of the time I do so at the time of purchase anyway. Machines have a useful lifespan of relevancy and that's fine (I got 8 years from my 2011 iMac to the 2019). The original Macintosh had fewest options of all, and was certainly a success because it was a great tool. That's the measure of success -- is this tool useful? 
    edited August 2022 dewmewatto_cobrajony0
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