San Francisco: Apple Inc. chief executive officer Tim Cook, addressing questions about the company’s ability to keep innovating in consumer electronics, said that his staff has several more game changers in the pipeline.
The iPhone maker has some incredible plans, Cook said on Wednesday in an onstage interview at the D: All Things Digital conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. He singled out television and wearable computing as areas of interest.
Apple hasn’t released a new product since October, turning up the pressure on Cook to debut something fresh to reignite sales growth. Less than two years after succeeding Apple co- founder Steve Jobs, Cook’s tenure has been marked more by controversies—including criticism of the company’s tax practices, labour standards in China, cash management and mapping software—than by blockbuster gadgets.
In his clearest indication yet that Apple is considering electronics that can adorn the body, Cook said that wearable computing could be a profound area, and that the wrist is particularly interesting.
He took a dig at Google Inc.’s computer for the eyes, Google Glass, saying that such devices might struggle to go mainstream.
“People that do wear them generally want them to be light, to be unobtrusive,” Cook said of eyeware. “They probably want them to reflect their fashion.”
Apple has a grand vision, for television, which remains an area of interest, Cook said.
Apple’s stock has fallen 37% from a record in September and 17% this year amid questions about whether the company can unveil a device to match the success of the iPhone and iPad. Apple posted its first profit decline in a decade in the recent quarter and said a growth slowdown will persist until new products are introduced later in the year.
Apple will provide a glimpse of new software at its annual developer conference, which starts 10 June, including a redesign of iOS, the mobile-operating system that powers the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. It will be the first peek at the direction of new products under Jonathan Ive, whom Cook put in charge of Apple’s design vision. A new iPhone isn’t projected to debut until at least September.
The interview follows Cook’s appearance last week before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which issued a report that said Apple used a web of subsidiaries to avoid paying billions of dollars in US taxes. In his testimony, Cook denied any wrongdoing by Apple and said the corporate tax code is outdated.
Cook’s style of management has differed from that of Jobs, who was more involved in the minutia of product development and marketing. Cook, a supply-chain and sales executive, has delegated product-development oversight to executives such as Ive, Internet-services head Eddy Cue, marketing chief Phil Schiller, and technologies senior vice-president Bob Mansfield.
In addition to updating existing products, the company has been exploring a new television offering, a watch-like wearable computer and a music-streaming service, people familiar with the plans have said.
The stock-price decline has been frustrating, Cook said in the interview conducted by Kara Swisher and Walter Mossberg of website AllThingsD, which organized the conference.
“It’s been frustrating for investors and all of us,” Cook said. “This too is not unprecedented.”