Tim Cook discusses Apple work culture, product innovation, self-repair service for iPhone and Mac, Steve Jobs and more in new interview
In a wide-ranging new interview with Popular mechanicsApple CEO Tim Cook discusses product innovation and how it drives Apple to make better products, allowing customers to fix their iPhones and Macs with the self-service repair program, Steve Jobs and his legacy, and more.
During the interview published in a special issue of Popular mechanicsCook describes Apple’s philosophy of creating innovative new products and how Apple fostered an environment of innovation.
They don’t follow a single path, they can come from anywhere in the company. We believe in bringing together groups of people focused on solving a problem for a user. You choose various teams that look at the problem from different angles.
We debate the things we do and don’t do, because we know that we can only do certain things well. You have to debate and say no to a lot of great ideas so you can spend your time on the really amazing ones.
Responding if there was ever a time when Cook first heard an idea and said “that’s cool”, he recalls telling staff about the Apple M1 and M2 silicon chips and the rich history of Apple in the creation of chips for its products.
Oh, they happen all the time. I feel like this every day, like a kid in a candy store. We were just talking down the hall about M2 and M1 – the history there goes back over a decade. It goes back to the genesis of the M chips, or the A chips, of the iPhone and really going in and understanding, how do you put a powerful chip into something so small and not have it heat up and burn out?
We found ourselves with a similar problem for laptops: how do you put something in there that is the most powerful computer chip in the world? From there was born M1, and now we have taken it further with M2. And Mac is now a totally different product than it was before.
Cook also described Apple as an environment where people don’t take no for an answer, saying pretending something is impossible is a motivating driving force for Apple engineers.
Well, usually the way you get people here to do something is to tell them you’re not sure if it’s doable. It’s the red flag in front of the bull because a lot of people here don’t take “impossible” for real. If we convince ourselves that it is in the best interest of the user, it is an irresistible force for us to solve the problem.
Cook also touched on the topic of privacy, saying Apple considers privacy a “basic human right” and described the company’s work to give users privacy-focused features as a core philosophy. .
Addressing Apple’s role internationally, Cook said Apple has a set of core values that are the company’s North Star, including privacy, education, accessibility and the environment. . Cook also, for the first time publicly, commented on Apple’s new self-service repair program, which recently launched for the Mac. The program allows customers to order parts needed to repair their own iPhone or Mac, such as battery or screen replacement. Cook said the program is for customers who are technologically capable of handling repairs themselves.
There is actually something for everyone. We took a broader view and said, “What do people want? First, they want products that don’t break. So we strive to make products that last a long time, and that’s kind of the first job.
But invariably some people have to go somewhere for a fix. And you don’t want to have to drive two hours to find a repair center. So we’ve added thousands of independent repair shops.
On top of that, for the hobbyist and the do-it-yourselfer, we said, “We’ll sell you certified parts” – parts we use to repair. You can buy the part itself instead of buying a repair. And if you need a manual that tells you how to do something, you can have the manual. And if special tools or accessories are needed, we can provide them too. I don’t know how many people are going to tell us about it. This is for your reader, clearly.
Near the end of the interview, Cook was asked what he thought Steve Jobs would think of Apple today. He responded by saying he thought Jobs would like some things, but admits that for other things he could say Apple could do better.
I think about him a lot. I miss him very much. He always stopped by my desk on his way out. And there has never been a replacement for it. We would exchange snippets of the day and talk about the future. And we try to continue the mission he set for himself, to build the best products in the world that enrich people’s lives. And that hasn’t changed. Many things change over time. But the reason for our being is the same.
I think he would find things he liked and things he would say, “We can do better on that.” I think he would do both. As we all do. We are never really satisfied. We are still working on tomorrow.
The full interview can be found here.