Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted the Ping social network has failed to excite most users, hinted at closer relations with Facebook, and called gaming on the TV "could be interesting" for Apple.
In a wide-ranging interview at the D10 conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, Cook answered questions on stage for more than 90 minutes, first from moderators Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, and then from the audience. Cook didn't announce new products or otherwise break major news, but he did offer more detail about his views on Apple and its future than he has in conversations with financial analysts and shareholders.
Some highlights from Cook's comments:
On Apple culture: "I'm not going to witness or permit the change of it."
On Steve Jobs' death: "It was absolutely the saddest days of my life when he passed away ... At some point late last year, somebody sort of shook me and said it's time to get on, and the sadness was replaced with determination."
On philanthropy: "To whom much is given, much is expected ... I think we can do even more, so we're looking at some things."
On transparency: "We're going to double down on secrecy on products" but open up "on social change" and "supplier responsibility."
On labor in China: "Last month we were at over 95% compliance on overtime, measuring overtime for 700,000 people."
On building Apple products in the U.S.: "I want there to be" an Apple product build in the U.S. again one day, but "there has to be a fundamental change in the education system" to bring back tool and die making as a skill.
On Apple TV: "This year, just in the first 6 months, we sold 2.6 million Apple TVs. This is an area of intense interest for us." ... "We're going to keep pulling the string and see where it takes us."
On owning various verticals: "I don't think Apple has to own a content business." "Do I think we need to own a carrier or the pipe? No." "I'm not interested in being in the console business." "Apple doesn't need to own a social network."
On Siri: "Customers love" Siri, but "there's more that it can do," and "I think you'll be really pleased with where we're taking Siri."
On his heroes: "Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King" are images you'll see in his office, and Bob Iger is a CEO he admires among others.
On iTunes Ping: "We tried Ping and and I think the consumer voted and said this isn't something we want to put a lot of energy into."
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