Apple shared its financial results during an earnings call for the second quarter of 2014 on Wednesday evening, and, as always, CEO Tim Cook answered probing questions from analysts following the call, several involving future products and those mysterious new product categories.
Cook spoke again about new product categories, and also went on to share some intriguing hints that we can’t help but relate to that widely rumoured iWatch.
“We are expanding Apple’s products and services into new categories, and we are not going to under-invest in this business,” he said during the call. “We’re also investing through acquisitions, and we’ve acquired 24 companies in the past 18 months.”
“The most important thing that we do is to make great products that really get our users excited to want the next one, and that will always be the case,” Cook continued. “And you can bet that that’s where the vast majority of all of our attention is, on doing those things.”
We discuss what Tim Cook had to say and what these new products might be in the video below.
When asked about how he feels about the business diversification going on at Amazon and Google, both of which have recently launched Apple TV competitors (the Amazon FireTV and Google Chromecast) and continue to rival Apple in other areas, Cook said: “The key thing that… for us, is to stay focused on things that we can do best and that we can perform at a really high level of quality that our customers have come to expect.
“And so we currently feel comfortable in expanding the number of things we’re working on. We’ve been doing that in the background, and we’re not ready yet to pull the string on the curtain.
“But we’ve got some great things there that we’re working on that I’m very, very proud of and very, very excited about.”
While these comments are not unusual from Cook (he’s mentioned that exciting things are in the pipeline during several previous earnings calls), his following comments had us intrigued.
“For us, we care about every detail, and when you care about every detail and getting it right, it takes a bit longer to do that. And that’s always been the case – that’s not something that just occurred, you know,” he said.
“As you probably know from following us for a long time, we didn’t ship the first MP3 player, nor the first smartphone, nor the first tablet. In fact, there were tablets being shipped a decade or so before then, but arguably we shipped the first successful modern tablet, the first successful modern smartphone and the first successful modern MP3 player. And so it means much more to us to get it right, than to be first.”
These comments immediately made us think of the long-awaited iWatch, Apple’s rumoured foray into the wearable tech market. Apple would certainly not be the first to launch a smartwatch. Rivals such as Samsung and Sony have already released wrist-worn devices, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the rapidly expanding wearables industry.
See: 11 iWatch rivals compared in our wearables round-up
“I think you can see so many examples out in the marketplace where it’s clear that the objective has been to be first,” Cook continued, furthering our belief that he’s referring to smartwatches. “But customers, at the end of the day, don’t care about that, or that’s not what they look for from Apple – they want great, insanely great, and that’s what we want to deliver. And so that’s the way we look at it.”
“Like, from an acquisition point of view, we have done 24 [companies acquired] in 18 months; that shows that we’re on the prowl, I suppose you can say. We look for companies that have great people, and great technology, and that fit culturally. And we don’t have a rule that says we can’t spend a lot, or whatever. We’ll spend what we think is a fair price.”
“What’s important to us is that strategically, it makes sense, and that it winds up adding value to our shareholders over the long haul. We are not in a race to spend the most, or acquire the most. We’re in a race to make the world’s best products, that really enrich people’s lives.”
“And so, to the tune that acquisitions can help us do that – and they’ve done that, and continue to do that – then we will acquire it, and so, yeah, you can bet that we will; you will continue to see acquisitions, some of which we’ll try to keep quiet, and some of which it seems to be impossible to keep quiet.”