Tim Cook Talks Apple TV, Cars, Watch - InformationWeek

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Tim Cook Talks Apple TV, Cars, Watch

Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses a wide variety of topics, including the company's innovation cycle, wearables, and what's coming to television. Here are the highlights from his conversation with The Wall Street Journal.

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The automotive and television industries are overdue for significant upheaval, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Cook took his usual, measured approach during his presentation at the WSJDLive a technology event hosted by The Wall Street Journal, in which he shared Apple's vision of connected cars, Apple TV, and Apple Watch.

Cook, interviewed by the Journal's Gerard Baker after his presentation, predicted big change ahead with respect to the auto industry. "It would seem like there will be massive change in that industry, massive change," he said. "You may not agree with that. That's what I think."

Cook did not reveal any of Apple's specific plans for the automotive industry beyond its attempt to bring the iPhone experience to cars via CarPlay. CarPlay, available in some newer cars, including Porsche, lets people access their music, navigation, and phone by speaking to Siri.

Google already has self-driving cars, and Apple is rumored to be working on a car of its own. Cook refused to reveal any such plans, repeating, "I do think that the industry is at an inflection point for massive change." He left the door open as to whether or not Apple will play a role in fostering that change.

(Image: EdStock/iStockphoto)

(Image: EdStock/iStockphoto)

The latest Apple TV will launch next week, according to Cook, costing $149/$199, depending on storage. It can run apps. It comes with a brand new, touch-sensitive remote for playing games, and can interact with iPhones and iPads for gaming, too. Cook said he believes the revised in-home box will transform how people interact with their television sets and living room entertainment.

"This [linear TV] model has outlived its usefulness," said Cook. "It's time to lose sight of the shore and move on with it."

How is the Apple Watch doing? Tim isn't saying, exactly. In his WSJ interview he said: "I can tell you tonight, we shipped a lot the first quarter; in the (September) quarter, we shipped even more, and I can predict we're going to ship even more this quarter." Early analyst estimates placed Watch sales through July at about 4.5 million. If that's how many Apple actually sold, then it may come close to shipping 12 million to 15 million of them by the end of the year, which is in line with expectations set by Wall Street. Apple distributed WatchOS 2.0 in September, and expanded availability of the pricey wearable.

[Read about Apple addressing 'Staingate' in MacBook Retina displays.]

Cook also touted the successful launch of Apple Music. The company says it has 6.5 million paying customers -- or about one-third of rival Spotify's numbers. Spotify is available in far more countries, and has been around for years. Apple Music launched in a trial basis in June and only began charging customers at the end of September. Apple Music has non-paying customers, too, totaling some 15 million.

Apple definitely has a lot in the pipeline at the moment. The company released the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus in September, in addition to a revised iPad Mini. New iMacs launched this month, and the iPad Pro should reach stores in November.

Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio

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10/20/2015 | 8:17:21 PM
Auto Industry: Massive Change & Inflection Point
 "It would seem like there will be massive change in that industry, massive change. You may not agree with that. That's what I think. [...] I do think that the industry is at an inflection point for massive change." -- Tim Cook

A massive change? Cars have started to shift from being powered by gasoline to electricity. That might sound like a massive change, but for some reason I don't think this what Cook was referring to. Self-driving cars? Now that might be more massive. How about if you could uber self-driving cars? An uber monthly subscription? Who knows what Cook was thinking when he said massive change, but what we know is that he did not mean something we already have.

Inflection point? This is a little easier to figure out. It means now, or soon. Months? Maybe, but more probably in a few years.

Cook thinks there's going to be a massive change in the auto industry in a few years. My bet is that Apple will be part of this massive change. What exactly and when is anyone's guess, but it will be sooner than later and bigger and smaller.

And I'm looking forward to it.
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