Tim Cook today sat down for a remote interview as part of the Viva Tech conference, which is touted as Europe’s “biggest startup and tech event.” During the 30-minute “fireside chat,” Cook discussed Apple’s commitment to privacy, the future of AR, how iOS is different than Android, and more.
On COVID-19, Cook touted the various ways that Apple has contributed to relief efforts around the world, including donations of face masks and ventilators, as well as the creation of the Exposure Notification API. He also noted that Apple is currently working with Product (RED) to donate COVID-19 vaccines to Africa.
On privacy and antitrust
As he said in past interviews, Cook reiterated today that he believes GDPR has laid crucial groundwork for privacy regulation to protect users. “GDPR was a good thing for Europe, and it should be standard around the world,” Cook said in the chat. “We support going further with GPDR as there is still work to do in the privacy world.”
Cook also said during the interview that the proposed Digital Markets Act in Europe would not be “in the best interest of the user.” This legislation, which was first unveiled last December, could lead to major changes for the App Store and pre-installed first-party applications on the iPhone. According to Cook, this legislation could lead to changes that seriously “destroy the security of the iPhone.”
The DMA in Europe would force Apple to allow side-loading on the iPhone, which is something Cook strongly pushes back against. If Apple had to allow side-loading, Cook explained, then features like App Store nutrition labels and App Tracking Transparency “would not exist anymore.”
“I would say [side-loading] would damage both privacy and security. I mean, you look at malware as an example, and Android has 47x more malware than iOS. Why is that? It’s because we’ve designed iOS in such a way that there’s one App Store and all of the apps are reviewed prior to going on the store. That keeps a lot of this malware stuff out of our ecosystem. Customers have told us very continuously how much they value that. And so we’re going to be standing up for the user in the discussions and we’ll see where it goes. I’m optimistic, I think most people looking at security know that security is a major risk”
Cook also refuted the idea that Apple is “monolithic,” saying that Apple focuses on making hardware, software, and services. According to the Apple CEO, Apple currently has around a 23% market share in France for the iPhone.
On ‘the dark side of technology’
“Technology by itself doesn’t want to be good,” Cook said during the interview. “It doesn’t want to be bad either. It’s neutral. Whether it’s great or not depends on the inventor and the creator and the creativity and empathy and passion of the inventor.
Cook went on to say that the world today does suffer from “vast amounts of disinformation” that has affected the COVID-19 vaccine rates, among other topics. “It’s clear that there needs to be something done here. This is not an acceptable state of the world,” he explained. “I’m not sure that anybody yet has a handle on how to fix it entirely.”
On future products
Cook was also asked about upcoming products and projects that Apple is working on, such as the Apple Car. As you’d expect, Cook was very coy and simply said that “there always has to be something up our sleeves.” He also explained that Apple begins work on many projects that never ultimately see the light of day:
“I fail daily. We do allow ourselves to fail. We try to fail internally, instead of externally, because we don’t want to involve customers into failure. But we develop things and and subsequently decide not to ship. We we begin going down a certain road and sometimes adjust significantly because of the discovery that we make in that process.
Failing is a part of life, part of whether you’re a new company startup or a company that’s been around for a while. If you’re not failing you’re not trying enough different things.”
“You can always count on it getting better and solving more problems for people,” Cook said in regards to the future of the iPhone. “I’m a great believer in the power of technology to help people. We approach the future with great humility because we know we can’t predict it.”
“We’ve been working with AR first with our phones and iPads, and later, we’ll see where that goes in terms of products,” Cook added while saying he “gets excited about AR because I see it as a technology that can enhance life.”
“I think we’re paying the total amount that people are talking about, but where it’s divided up is sort of the issue,” Cook said regarding Apple’s tax payments around the world. Other topics discussed in the interview, which you can watch in full below, include Apple’s environmental goals, global relations, and more.
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