Last night, Charlie Rose aired the first half of his two-part interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook. It was a wide-ranging conversation covering Apple’s current products and problems, the future of the company and (of course) the loss of Steve Jobs. Here are the most important tidbits you might have missed.
It wasn’t hacked. There’s a misunderstanding about this. If you think about what hacking iCloud would mean, it means somebody would get into the cloud and could fish around in people’s accounts. That didn’t happen. What happened was, let’s take you as an example. Somebody could say ‘I know Charlie’s ID’ somehow, maybe it’s his email, and they may guess your password. Or, that’s not as likely — they might phish it. How do you phish it? I could pretend to be somebody else, and you could unknowingly give me your password. And that happens on the internet too many times today. That’s the number one issue by far, and it’s not just an Apple issue. This is an internet issue.
You just saw that this happened to I think millions of Gmail users. They were phished. My understanding is, it wasn’t a breach there either of the infrastructure, it was a phishing expedition. There are lots of bad people that do this. And what we said was, we need to figure out how can we try to protect our customers on this. That’s our top goal, and so we’re working internally about how to bring more awareness to these schemes. Some of it is like a public service announcement. We have to do things where we notify the customer quickly if it does happen, that’s reactive. We don’t want it to happen at all, but if it does, you probably want to know instantly. There are things like that, and some other things I can’t describe right now, where we think we can make a contribution beyond just making sure the cloud’s not hacked.
Charlie also asked about the company’s newfound willingness to work with outside partners, rather than do everything in-house. On Apple partnering with IBM to offer more work-related products:
Are we more open? Yes. We look at these products and the iPads that aren’t here, and we think we can change the way people work. We’ve changed the consumer’s life, we’ve changed the way students learn and teachers teach, but when you get to the working environment the change we’ve made to us isn’t significant enough. And so we begin to ask ourselves, why haven’t we done more? The real answer is, in the applications, there’s not enough apps that have been written for very deep verticals like what the airline pilot does, what the bank teller does, down at the level of the job. So we begin to ask ourselves should we do this, or should we partner, or should we just forget it? And I didn’t want to forget it, because this is a way to enrich people’s lives in a big way, to change the way people work, I mean, most of our life is spent working. And certainly our apps are changing the way I work, but I’m not seeing it as much in other places.
And so we begin looking out and thinking who can we partner with. And [IBM CEO Ginni Rometty] and I have been talking about some other things for a while, I have great respect for her, great trust in her. We begin to talk about this area, this is an area where they have got things that we don’t have. They have got deep vertical knowledge of many different industries. They have a huge sales force. So IBM brings significant enterprise knowledge to the table. We bring the products that enterprise want. So we have something they don’t have. We also don’t compete on anything. To me, this is the perfect marriage. There’s no friction, there’s just we have what they need, they have what we need, together we can provide something to customers that is blow-away. So IBM is in the process, with our help, of designing many different apps, for many different verticals, from banking to financial services to pharmaceutical to aerospace, and manufacturing, and they have the go to market that we don’t have. This is an area where I think everybody’s gonna win. We’re gonna win, IBM’s gonna win, and more importantly than us, the customer’s gonna win.
And hey, what’s going on with Apple TV anyway?
Tim came to the interview fully equipped with new Apple products: An iPhone 6, a 6 Plus, and an Apple Watch on his wrist. He briefly showed the Watch to Charlie, and mentioned a feature that may have gone unmentioned in the initial announcement:
It requires an iPhone, because they have been designed to work together. However, if you go for a run, and you don’t want to carry your iPhone, music is also on your watch. So with a Bluetooth headset, you can run and listen to your music without your iPhone.
Tim Cook is very measured in his public comments — his conversation with Charlie Rose didn’t give away much that we hadn’t already known. Perhaps the most revealing part was when Charlie asked Tim about Steve Jobs. You can see Tim briefly let the PR guard down here. He’s not talking about business any more. He’s talking about an old friend.