Apple diversity
Tim Cook had an extended with the Wall Street Journal's editor-in-chief Gerard Baker at the publications WSJD Live, the inaugural event. The Apple supremo talked about the company in length. During the discussion, Cook chatted about the company's new products such as Apple Pay and the Apple Watch, while he also opened up about the iPhone and also touched base on a multitude of other issue, including a little dig at Google.

Talking about the iPhone, Cook reconfirmed that while Apple now has many products, the smartphone remains the revenue generator, "The phone is the majority of the company's revenue". He said it would remain that way in the near future as most other revenues streams such as apps, iTunes, and Apple Pay are driven by the success of the iPhone.

Pressed on the iOS vs. Android argument, Cook was asked whether the war would result like the PC vs. Mac battle that took place during the 1990s, where Apple fell badly to Microsoft. However, the CEO rightly stated that the market is different now, saying that apps are a core factor and that iOS has over 1.3 million applications and that most developers build for iOS and then port to Android. "We sold a quarter billion iOS devices last year. I wouldn't call that a low-volume business."

Apple Pay has also been a success, despite some retailers not committing to the service. There were 1 million credit cards activated with the service during its first 72 hours, while VISA said it outpaced all of its rivals combined, something MasterCard has since also claimed. Of course, signing up to the service does not mean consumers will use it, but nevertheless, Apple Pay is off to a stellar start.

The Apple Watch was also a topic to discuss as Cook talked up its credentials as a fashion item "We didn't announce a product, we announced three collections," Cook said, referring to the Watch. "We saw that something you wear has to be more personable, more customizable ... the fashion thing is totally new for us."

Is the Apple Watch good looking? Yes it is, but it is not a design item that I can see being a fashion cross over hit. In terms of the much talked about battery life, Cook admitted that the smartwatch would have to be charged once a day, but he craftily masked the importance of that by saying the reason it will need to be charge daily is because people will be using it so much.

Cook couldn't help landing a blow on Google while raising the subject of privacy. He said again that Apple is uninterested in gathering user data because the company does not make money in that area. I believe Cook on this issue and he is actually saying if the business model changes then Apple may curate data, but at the moment it does not even need to, so why would it. Cook has stated before that this action offends him, and he pointed once more in Google's general direction as a company that does gather user data.

In the lengthy interview, Cook also explained the end of the iPod Classic, a device that many see as the foundation for Cupertino’s current invovlment in mobile. The original iPod is no longer available on Apple's website and the company offered no reason for the demise of the music player. According to Cook, some of the components needed to build the Classic are too expensive to justify continuing making it in the face of ever declining sales. Likewise, making a new iPod based on the Classic without those parts would also be too expensive for the company to justify, so they axed the product altogether.

In other related news, Cook confirmed that he will be meeting with Alibaba's executive chairman Jack Ma "later this week" about a potential partnership between Apple and the online retail giant. Whether this is to sell iPhones or to use Apple Pay remains unclear, although the latter seems the more likely at this point. Ma has been enthusiastic about a linkup between Apple Pay and Alipay during the conference, and he says Alipay is the third largest payment service in the world behind VISA and MasterCard.

In other Tim Cook news, the CEO visited his home state of Alabama and gave a speech at the capitol that slammed the state for its views on equality and he urged change.

As a state we took too long to take steps toward equality and once we began, our progress was too slow," Cook said in a ceremony in the Alabama State Capitol. "Too slow on equality for African Americans. Too slow on interracial marriage, which was only legalized 14 years ago. And still too slow on equality for the LGBT community.

Under the law citizens of Alabama can still be fired based on their sexual orientation. We can't change the past, but we can learn from it, and we can create a different future," Cook said.





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Luke Jones

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