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Tim Cook talks Apple Watch, TVs and the power of the iPhone

Nicole Lee, @nicole
10.28.14
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Tim Cook started out his talk with Gerard Baker, Wall Street Journal's editor-in-chief, at the WSJD Live conference with a very obvious statement: "The phone is the majority of the company's revenue," and it will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Apple doesn't just make money from phone sales, but also everything that comes with it -- apps, iTunes media and, yes, Apple Pay. Cook was eager to point out that Apple Pay reached over a million card activations in just the first 72 hours, and that Visa and Mastercard said that Apple Pay is already the number one player in contactless payments.

When asked what he thought of retailers like CVS and Rite Aid disabling Apple Pay due to a rival technology, he said it was a skirmish. He added that "over the long arc of time," retailers are only relevant if customers love them and that they'll need to adapt eventually. He said that Apple Pay is "the first and only mobile payment system that is easy, private and secure." "We don't want to know what you buy, we're not into collecting data, we're not Big Brother," Cook said. "We'll leave that to others," he added, as if to imply Google might be the Big Brother in question.

Cook said that [the Apple Watch] is something that you would use so much that "you will end up charging it daily."

Phones aside, Cook also touted other areas of growth for the company. Mac sales, for example, grew "remarkably" last quarter, adding that he thinks the Mac has a great future. Of course, he also mentioned the much-hyped Apple Watch, which he says opens up two new categories for the company: Health and fitness plus fashion. "We didn't announce a product, we announced three collections," Cook said, referring to the Watch. "We saw that something you wear has to be more personable, more customizable ... the fashion thing is totally new for us." As for the Watch's battery life? Though he wouldn't give details, he did say that it's something that you would use so much that "you will end up charging it daily."

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As for televisions, Cook reiterated what he said during his Charlie Rose interview, describing today's TV experience as outdated and "straight from the 1970s." He praised HBO's streaming-only service, and says consumers are increasingly trying to get away from a cable TV subscription. As for what Apple's going to do with TV? Cook played coy and didn't offer much details, but he seemed optimistic: "I believe something great can be done."

Answering a question about whether the Android vs. iOS wars will end up like the Mac vs. PC one, Cook said that wasn't a fair comparison. "There weren't enough apps on the Mac," he said. "That isn't a problem for iOS." He adds that iOS has over 1.3 million apps, and that generally speaking, developers are writing iOS apps first and then porting them to Android. "We sold a quarter billion iOS devices last year. I wouldn't call that a low-volume business."

Cook also tackled privacy at the end, a recent hot button topic. "Your data is yours," said Cook, emphasizing that the company takes privacy and security very seriously. "We don't read your iMessages. We designed iMessage as such that we don't read any of it," adding that if the government were to ask for it, they couldn't supply it. After fielding a question over the demise of the iPod Classic among others, Cook hinted that he's open to a collaboration with AliPay, Alibaba's online payment system. Jack Ma had said he wanted to work with Apple Pay in a previous talk at WSJD Live. "If we can find some areas of common space, I'd love it."

In this article: apple, timcook, wsjdlive
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