With about a month to before the Apple Watch launches, Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down with Fast Company for a wide-ranging interview that touched on a number of pertinent topics.
When asked rather directly about the perception among many that the Apple Watch still lacks an overarching use case, Cook articulated that similar pessimism colored previous Apple product launches.
With the iPod, the expectations for Apple itself at that time were very low. And then most people panned the iPod's price. Who wants this? Who will buy this? We heard all the usual stuff. On iPhone, we set an expectation. We said we'd like to get 1% of the market, 10 million phones for the first year. We put that flag in the sand, and we wound up exceeding it by a bit.
On the watch we haven't set a number. The watch needs the iPhone 5, 6, or 6 Plus to work, which creates a ceiling. But I think it's going to do well. I'm excited about it. I've been using it every day and I don't want to be without it.
Not surprisingly, and in line with a common perception a number of Apple observers have posited, Cook believes that Apple Watch apps have the potential to completely transform how the Apple Watch is used. Indeed, while the Apple Watch will come with a number of interesting built-in apps, Apple hopes developer creativity will take the device to places that even the company can't currently foresee.
Yes, but people didn't realize they had to have an iPod, and they really didn't realize they had to have the iPhone. And the iPad was totally panned. Critics asked, "Why do you need this?" Honestly, I don't think anything revolutionary that we have done was predicted to be a hit when released. It was only in retrospect that people could see its value. Maybe this will be received the same way.
When the topic turned to Jobs, Cook was as effusive as ever. Echoing what many have said about Apple, Cook said that Jobs's greatest strength wasn't in making every single decision (because he didn't), but rather in his ability to hire the right people to make those decisions he simply didn't have time for. Calling Jobs the greatest teacher he ever had, Cook said that Jobs's office at Apple is exactly how the Apple co-founder left it when he passed away in 2011.
The entire interview is well worth reading in its entirety for anyone with even a passing interest in Apple.