SAN FRANCISCO: Apple chief executive Tim Cook offered his thoughts on everything from the firm’s focus on the business market and why iOS is better than Android, to the potential for an 'iPlane' during a wide-ranging talk at BoxWorks 2015.
Speaking on stage in a Q&A with Box CEO Aaron Levie, Cook began by reiterating the fact that Apple sold over 13 million iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus devices on the launch weekend.
Using this figure as a springboard Cook said it's clear that mobility is the biggest trend affecting the business world, but that many firms are still not taking advantage of the benefits.
“The best companies will be the most mobile. So I think this is a huge opportunity if you are at a company, if you’re a developer, for us in helping people transform business,” he said.
“But if you look at today, companies' mobile strategies are too much around doing email, browsing, basic things that are not reinventing or transforming your businesses.”
Cook said that, despite this lack of cutting-edge mobile business use, the positive is that, because no-one is leading the way, no-one had been left behind either.
“There are pockets of really interesting things happening out there but I’m not sure anyone at this point, including ourselves, deserves a really high grade compared to the opportunity that’s out there,” he said.
As this does take-off, though, Cook said that Apple is ideally placed to capitalise on this growth with its devices, as the line between work and home use of mobile devices blurs.
“If you want a smartphone you don’t say I want an enterprise smartphone. So we started many years ago to build enterprise features into our software, as we realised people wanted to use our phones everywhere in their life,” he said.
Cook, understandably, touted iOS as the best platform to lead this mobile charge, and when asked by Levie why this was so rather than Android, he deadpanned: “You want to pick the best product. That’s the most important thing.
“You want something that builds in security from the start, not having to deal with a fragmented ecosystem, someone that works with major players in the industry.”
Cook also had a dig at Microsoft and its push to create a single mobile and desktop operating system in Windows 10, saying this was not something Apple would do.
“We don’t believe in having one operating system for both the PC and the mobile. We think that subtracts from both and you don’t get the best experience,” he said.
He acknowledged that Apple has made it easier to move between devices running Mac OS X or iOS with features like Continuity, or Hand-off, but that Apple had no intention of “blending” them together into a single OS.
However, Cook did have some kind words for Microsoft, noting that the two, while formerly “foes”, are now increasingly becoming allies, as witnessed by the recent presence of Microsoft execs on stage at Apple's iPhone 6S unveiling.
“Apple and Microsoft still compete but frankly we can partner on more things than we can compete on,” Cook said.
“Many customers love Office, but they want to use Office on the Mac and they want it to work better on the Mac than it does on Windows.”
Despite Cook’s positivity on Apple's position in the market he admitted that the company does not have all the answers, hence why it has partnered with the likes of Cisco, IBM and Box to help with its enterprise push.
“We don’t have deep industry vertical knowledge, it’s not our thing. We can build an incredible platform and have incredible devices but we’re not going to know all the details of the financial services vertical or transport,” he said.
“We know something about these and can contribute some input, but mostly it will be about working with companies like IBM or Cisco to give a customer a full solution and we have no view that we could do that all by ourselves.”
The focus on the business market is already having huge success for Apple, and Cook revealed that enterprise revenue was $25bn for the 12 months to June 2015. "This is not a hobby," he said.
Levie also threw Cook some curveball questions during the wide-ranging discussion that the Apple chief did his best to answer.
At one point, rather than asking about plans for an Apple car, Levie asked whether the company is considering building an Apple plane.
Cook replied: “We don’t have an iPlane, maybe one needs to exist but it’s not something we’re even thinking about.”
No doubt the Apple rumour mill will take this as confirmation that such a product is in the works.
Levie also suggested that Apple should create an enterprise radio station to go alongside the Beats 1 station for Apple Music, a suggestion Cook seemed genuinely to like, saying it was “something to think about”.
The barrage of questions and quips from Levie throughout the interview led Cook to note at one point: “It’s like being with Stephen Colbert all over again.”
Despite the grilling, Cook seemed to have enjoyed his time chatting with Levie, who seemed keen to ensure that he gets the credit for any future Apple plane.
.@tim_cook Thanks for coming! You can thank me later for the Apple Airplane idea. ✈️— Aaron Levie (@levie) September 29, 2015
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