Like the rest of the technoverse, I followed the D10 kick-off with Tim Cook and took away my own impressions. I can’t claim any of them are novel, because my RSS feed from 10pm on was filled with tea-reading from the punditry, but I’m posting them on a “FWIW” basis:
- 10 and 2 – you can’t get a real sense of Cook’s demeanor as he was getting grilled by Father Time and Kara Swisher from any Live Feed of the event, but if you take a look at the 17-minute synopsis clip posted on All Things Digital, you got to see the same Tim Cook that you saw at any of Apple’s recent media events: a picture of poise. Leg crossed, thoughtful and concise in his responses and dead-set on not revealing anything to the hosts, (despite being prodded constantly) he wasn’t the animated, anecdotal presence that Steve Jobs was, but that’s who he is (as Cook himself said). He laughed when Ping was mentioned, which I thought demonstrated a level of self-deprecation and the accessibility noted by many observers. I’d give him an 8 if this wasn’t his first major appearance that wasn’t Apple-programmed. For a newbie, I’d say he hit it out of the park.
- Apple won’t be manufacturing iPads in the U.S. – Cook gave a very diplomatic answer to the question of if/when Apple would move its manufacturing stateside. I don’t know where Mossberg got his information that there was some kind of manufacturing resurgence in this country, but it’s not happening. Listen to the part where Cook describes not being able to fill the venue with this country’s tap-and-die specialists, let alone the entire cities teeming with this skill in China. By mentioning that parts of Apple’s production are happening here (chip and glass manufacturing), he offered the carrot that made his answer palatable.
- The iTV did not become any more of a certainty - I’m fully aware that this conforms to my personal worldview that Apple shouldn’t make a television, but I didn’t get any sense that it was more likely having heard Cook’s/Apple’s answers regarding Apple and television. Cook even made a point of saying how much more popular the AppleTV was this year (2.7 million have sold this year alone vs. 3 million total last year). If anything, Cook highlighting the AppleTV’s success lowered the bass on the drumbeat of eventuality that’s being pounded out by the tech press over the iTV. I know: I’m biased.
- Patents are a pain in the ass – In what I thought was one of Cook’s finer incendiaries, he called out companies that respond to Apple’s patent suits with standards-essential patents, making the point that Apple also owns several, but refuses to use them. It was a nice little jab at Google and Samsung, who are currently employing the practice, unfortunately with some success. He also didn’t concede settlement, stating that the company won’t tolerate being “the developer for the world.”
- Facebook and Apple will become closer in the future – First: duh. Second, keeping in mind the laugher Cook had when Ping was mentioned, I don’t think Apple will try to enter “the social” in any meaningful way on its own again. The no-brainer partnerships with the Facebooks and Twitters are where Apple will focus, which is exactly how it should be.
- Fasten your seat belts - Cook was visibly most effusive when he was talking about what Apple had in the pipeline, so expect Cook’s first full year as Apple’s CEO to be a barnburner. WWDC should give us a taste. I can hardly wait.