By Jacob Williams
This year’s D10 conference started with a bang. The guest of honor for the day was Tim Cook, and he revealed some interesting stuff. The discussions ranged from Apple’s manufacturing, to features coming soon. It was an interesting interview with lots of developments.
--Apple is doubling down on secrecy:
"We're going to double down on secrecy on products. I'm serious.
However we're going to be the most transparent company in the world on some other things.
Social change. Supplier responsibility. What we're doing for the environment. We're going to be so transparent in these areas because if we are, other people will copy what we're doing.
People will copy us on that and that's one area I want to be copied.
In the past we've had an annual report, and we've done more than others. But our communication was once per year. Now we're putting out monthly reports. We want everyone to know what we're doing.
Apple hasn’t ever really been known to give a lot away, but leaked parts of products have been pretty common lately. After all, parts have come out lately for what may be a new iPhone. Cook says that’s not going to happen as much from now on -- he even kept some things secret himself. With WWDC next week, Cook promised a lot of great things, but never gave a hint as to what they might be. Also promised was that Apple might actually be less secretive with other stuff, such as deals with suppliers."
--Apple is manufacturing in the U.S.
"The engines for the iPad and the iPhone are built in the US. Not just for the US, but for the world. In Austin. The glass is made in a plant in Kentucky. Not just in the US but for other markets too.
There are things that can be done in the US, not just for the US market, but can be exported.
There's an intense focus on the final assembly. They don't think about all of the parts underneath, where the significant value of the buildable material is. Can this be done in the US? I hope so, one day.
The tool and die makers in the US began to go down in the late 60's and 70's. How many tool and die makers are there in the US now?
I could call a meeting of all the tool and die makers into this room and we wouldn't fill it. In China you can fill cities with tool and die makers.
There needs to be a fundamental change in the educational system to bring back some of this -- but there are things we can do. The semiconductor industry is fantastic. The Corning deal with glass in Kentucky, it's fantastic. We will do as many of these as we can do.
We will use the whole of our influence to do this. "
One question came up about Apple’s investments in U.S. manufacturing. They have suppliers in both the U.S. and China, however Cook said that the iPhone and iPad are primarily built in the U.S. The glass for an iPhone is made in Kentucky, and the engine is built in other U.S. states. He mentioned trying to bring back American manufacturing, which is being over taken by Chinese manufacturing.
--Apple TV is Making a Come Back -- Dodges question about an Apple television set
Tim Cook loves the Apple TV. At D10, he began talking about it, and seemed to be saying that Apple will start improving on it. He mentioned recent numbers that showed the Apple TV making drastic improvements in sales, but Cook still thinks it needs to get better. On a related note, when asked, he dodged a question regarding Apple making a true television set.
"This is an area of intense interest for us. Many of us, the TV that we do watch, is almost exclusively on [the Apple TV]. That's what my TV watching is. All of my movies, everything is coming through Apple TV.
So, the customer satisfaction with that product is incredible. We're going to keep pulling this string and see where it takes us. Many people would say "this is an area in their life that they aren't pleased with." They might not be pleased with many things about it. The whole TV experience. It's an interesting area. We'll have to see what we do. Right now our contribution is Apple TV."
--Facebook and Apple may try to work together a little more
iOS 5 leaves Facebook in the dust, and showcases Twitter for sharing pictures, videos, and other multimedia. Cook stressed the fact that Apple wants to let customers do what they want and like.
“Facebook has millions, hundreds of millions of customers, and so, anybody that has an iPhone or an iPad, we want them to have the best experience with Facebook on those platforms.”
Apple and Facebook may try to work together, but Cook still says to “stay tuned”.
--Siri will be improved
"I think it's profound. It's not voice recognition -- it's the AI. That's what's profound. This is something that people have dreamed of for years. Yes, it could be broader and so forth. But, we see unbelievable potential here and Siri as a feature has moved into the mainstream. People hear "Siri" and people know what you're talking about. It's amazing this has come since October.
I think you'll be really happy with where it's going."
Siri is far from perfect, but it's new, "beta" technology -- naturally it needs some work. Tim Cook has promised that we’ll get a new, better Siri. He said that there are “a lot of people working on it”. Other reports suggest new Siri APIs.
Tim Cook gave us a good idea of what to expect from Apple in the coming years, under his regime. As for new products, his mouth remains shut for another week until WWDC rolls around.