Tuesday Talk ~ those tea leaves

The image from Fortune magazine's exclusive Q&A with Apple CEO Tim Cook earlier this year.
The image from Fortune magazine’s exclusive Q&A with Apple CEO Tim Cook earlier this year.

Some people divine from tea leaves, some people, perhaps still, from chicken entrails. We make do with blogs and online news stories.

Sometimes, an Apple luminary is interviewed. Now, interviews are supposedly forums where people answer questions about topics. When an Apple luminary is interviewed, the topic is always Apple and what it’s going to do … unfortunately, Apple must have a training facility that instructs carefully in the art of looking positive, smiling authoritatively and saying virtually nothing.

Developers got a lot more from the well-informed John Gruber interviewing Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi at WWDC. The rest of us … not so much. Actually, virtually nothing. CEO Tim Cook drops very, very subtle hints that only make sense in hindsight. Unfortunately, his hints are so subtle, it’s only the hindsight that even begins to make a connection to a tangible event once something actually gets released or announced.

Cook does talk at length about money – he has an accounting background – but what can be divined from that? Even in Fortune’s ‘exclusive Q&A‘ earlier this year, he says very little beyond reiterating that Apple, like other companies, goes through cycles, and the line that every Apple employee will recite (which I actually believe is true, thank goodness): Apple is just focussed on making the best products. Cook went further and said that Apple thinks of its services as products too – this means Music, iCloud, Apple Pay and so on. The mythical (so far) car project is mentioned, to which Cook (predictably, but pleasantly) replies “Yeah, I’m probably not going to do [comment on] that.”

Apple, as already stated, only talked about forthcoming systems at the last WWDC before going on to the usual developer love-fest over the days following. We got no hints of new Macs, iPhones or anything else. This does leave us hanging, but rewardingly, in February’s Fortune interview with Cook, he stated that Apple regularly explores all sorts of things with teams of people. “And that’s a part of being curious. Part of exploring technologies and picking the right one is becoming so familiar with it you can see ways that it can be used.”

Apple hates releasing stuff that’s not ready – the premature and botched release of Maps had heads spinning – and rolling – at Cupertino. It was a rare and surprising situation.

So I’m happy with that.


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