updated 09:30 pm EST, Wed January 21, 2009
Exec addresses rumors
After Peter Oppenheimer's initial presentation of Apple's Q1 financial information, investors had a chance to talk with executives about topics including the possibility of a scaled-down iPhone "nano," plans for a Mac netbook, and competing with the Palm Pre. "You know us, we're not gonna play in the low-end voice-phone business, that's not who we are, that's not why we're here," COO Tim Cook told an analyst, responding to a question alluding to a low-priced iPhone variant. "We'll let somebody else do that. Our objective is not to be the unit-share leader in the cell phone industry, it's to build the world's best phone."
Cook reaffirmed the wait-and-see approach for a sub-$500 netbook. "We're watching that space, but right now from our point of view, the products in there are principally based on hardware that's much less powerful than we think customers want, software technology that is not good, cramped keyboards, small displays, etc.," he said. "We don't think that people are going to be pleased with those products, but we'll see."
"It's a category we watch, we've got some ideas here, but for now we think the products there are inferior and will not provide an experience that customers are happy with," Cook added.
The COO also responded to a question regarding how the company plans to maintain its leadership against competitors such as the Palm Pre. "We've said since the beginning, software is the key ingredient," he noted. The executive argued that Apple is years ahead with its software, which he considers inclusive of the App Store content which has achieved over 500 million downloads.
"If you look at others, when you think about having multiple variations of displays, multiple variations of resolutions and input methods, and many different forms of hardware, it's a big challenge to a software developer," he said, maintaining that developers will avoid creating an app for each platform. "We approach this business as a software platform business, and so I think we approach it fundamentally different than people that are approaching it only from a hardware point of view."
"We are watching the landscape. We like competition as long as they don't rip off our [Intellectual Property], and if they do, we're going to go after anybody that does," Cook said. The individual presenting the initial question commented that the Palm Pre appears to directly emulate the iPhone's touch interface. Cook declined to confirm that the warning was aimed directly at Palm, although he did say that "we will not stand for having our IP ripped off, and we'll use whatever weapons that we have at our disposal."