On the eve of the iPhone 5c and 5s launch, Apple executives Tim Cook, Craig Federighi and Jony Ive sat down for an all-encompassing interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. It's not often that Apple execs sit down for in-depth interviews, but when it happens, it is usually chock-full of interesting information. The Businessweek interview is no different.
One of the many persistent criticisms regarding Apple's iPhone strategy is that the company needs a cheap handset to appeal to more cost-conscious consumers. Cook, however, explained that Apple's business model isn't predicated on churning out low-value devices at cheap price points.
To Cook, the mobile industry doesn't race to the bottom, it splits. One part does indeed go cheap, with commoditized products that compete on little more than price. "There's always a large junk part of the market," he says. "We're not in the junk business." The upper end of the industry justifies its higher prices with greater value. "There's a segment of the market that really wants a product that does a lot for them, and I want to compete like crazy for those customers," he says. "I'm not going to lose sleep over that other market, because it's just not who we are. Fortunately, both of these markets are so big, and there's so many people that care and want a great experience from their phone or their tablet, that Apple can have a really good business."
Later on in the interview, Cook drives the point home, noting that Apple never preoccupied itself with the idea that it had to develop a low-cost phone. "Our primary objective," Cook explained, "is to sell a great phone and provide a great experience, and we figured out a way to do it at a lower cost."
The article also touches on the close collaboration between Ive -- Apple's design guru -- and Federighi -- Apple's senior VP of software engineering. Indeed, one of the predominant mantras heralded by Cook following the ouster of Scott Forstall was that Apple needed to "encourage even more collaboration" between the company's various teams.
With desks that are reportedly just a one-minute walk from one another, Ive and Federighi have worked closely together for quite some time.
What makes that collaboration work is the two men's shared focus on usability and simplicity. Sit down with top executives from, say, Samsung's mobile division, and you'll probably hear a great deal about how much the company listens to the market and can move to address global needs with astonishing alacrity. Ive and Federighi will spend 10 minutes talking about how hard they worked to perfect iOS 7's blurred-background effect. "I think, very often, you can't call out by attribute or name areas of value," says Ive regarding what people look for when using a product. "But I do think that we sense when somebody has cared. And one thing that is incontrovertible is how much we've cared."
With respect to Apple's chief competitor in the smartphone space -- Android -- Cook appears to be unfazed by Android's ever-increasing market share. For Cook, the true metrics that matter are customer satisfaction and actual device usage.
Does a unit of market share matter if it's not being used?" Cook asks. "For us, it matters that people use our products. We really want to enrich people's lives, and you can't enrich somebody's life if the product is in the drawer."
There's a whole lot more to digest in the full article and it's well worth checking out. From Cook's view on Apple's share price to his views on Android fragmentation, the Businessweek interview provides a rare glimpse into the minds who help churn out some of the world's most popular products. You can check out the story in its entirety over here.