Tim Cook says Apple is uniquely positioned to enter new product categories

While not revealing any specifics, Apple CEO Tim Cook said Apple's hardware and software expertise might help the company build "great products" in new product categories

Apple on Monday posted earnings from Q4 2013 and delivered on all fronts. Revenue-wise, Apple earned $37.5 billion while generating an EPS of $8.26. Notably, both figures bested Wall Street estimates.

Earnings aside, Apple's quarterly earnings announcements are rather noteworthy on account of the conference call that follows. Here, Apple executives, typically Tim Cook and Peter Oppenheimer, answer analyst questions about a wide range of issues. The answers given obviously don't tip Apple's hand about future products, but there's often a whole lot of interesting tidbits worth reviewing.

Monday's earnings conference call was no different, and one blurb from Tim Cook is particularly worth highlighting. When asked about Apple releasing devices in new product categories, Cook responded:

I didn’t say in April that you would see them in this year and the first half of next year. So just to be clear on that. But what I have said is that you would see some exciting new products from us in the fall of this year and across 2014. And I obviously stand by that, and you’ve seen a lot of things over the last couple of months. In terms of new product categories, specifically, if you look at the skills that Apple has from hardware, software, and services, and an incredible app ecosystem, these set of things is very, very unique, I think no one has a set of skills like this, and we obviously believe that we can use our skills in building other great products that are in categories that represent areas where we do not participate today. So we’re pretty confident about that.

Sure, Apple can keep on iterating with the iPhone and the iPad and continue to make money hand-over-fist. But the real excitement in following Apple is keeping an eye on what new product categories they might enter in the future. While a number of rumors have pointed to an iWatch announcement in late 2014, only Apple at this point knows for sure what's in the pipeline. Notably, Apple's Jony Ive noted in a recent interview that he'd "love, love, love to show you what we are working on now" before clarifying that he'd lose his job if he spilled the beans.

The takeaway from this, I think, is that Apple is certainly eyeing new product categories. As opposed to other companies, however, Apple is going to wait until the stars align before it takes a plunge. After all, one of the reasons the iPhone was so successful was that Apple released it at the right time. In other words, the technology that made the iPhone so great simply wasn't up to snuff to be released as a product in, say, 2004.

One thing we do know is that when Apple does release a new device in a new product category, it will be fully baked - say, in stark contrast to the recently released and heavily panned Samsung Galaxy Gear.

Related Stories:

Apple aggressively hiring employees to work on iWatch product

Apple's iWatch to run on iOS as engineers battle with battery life issues

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.
Must read: 10 new UI features coming to Windows 10