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This is Tim: Apple CEO talks at investment conference

Macworld staff | Feb. 15, 2012
On Tuesday, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, where he was interviewed on stage by Bill Shope, Goldman Sachs's IT hardware analyst.

We know that people have a very high expectation of Apple. We have an even higher expectation of ourselves. Our customers expect us to lead and we will continue to do so. We are blessed to have the smartest and most innovative people on Earth, and we put the same kind of effort and energy into supply responsibility as we do with our new products. That is what Apple is all about.

On growth opportunities for the iPhone

Yes, 37 million [iPhones sold in the last quarter] is a big number. It was a decent quarter. [laughter] It was 17 million more than we'd ever done before. And so we were pretty happy with that. But let me give you a different--at least the way I look at the numbers, which is maybe a little differently than you do.

As I see it, that 37 million for last quarter, represented 24 quarter of the smartphone market. So there's 3 out 4 people that bought something else. And it represented less than 9 percent of the handset market, so 9 out of 10 people are buying something else. The smartphone market last year was a half a [billion] units; in 2015, it's projected to be a billion units. The handset market is projected to go from 1.5 [billion] to 2 billion units. And so when you take it in the context of these numbers, the truth is that this is a jaw-dropping industry. It has enormous opportunity to it, and so up against those, the numbers don't seem so large anymore.

What seems large to me is the opportunity. So what we're focusing on is the same thing we've always focused on, which is making the world's best products. And we think if we stay laser-focused on that, and continue to develop to the ecosystem around the iPhone then we have a pretty good opportunity to take advantage of this enormous market.

On making iPhones more affordable, and appealing to developing markets

These markets are--first of all, they're critical. To go back to something I said before, the smartphone market is projected to be a billion units in 2015, so just three years from now, and 25 percent of that is projected to come from China and Brazil. And so just two of the markets, 25 percent. And obviously, those are two very critical markets, but there are others as well.

We've been very, very focused on China. China, we've had incredible success with iPhone. Over the past few years, we've gone from a few hundred million dollars of revenue in greater China, to last year $13 billion. So we really've been focused on trying to understand the market there and then taking those learnings to other markets. As it turns out--and not very many people agree with me on this, probably--but what I see is that there's a lot of commonality in what people around the world want.


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