updated 10:17 pm EST, Thu January 23, 2014
ABC to air interview with Apple CEO on January 24
In what many might see as an unusual move for a forward-looking company, Apple is helping to celebrate the upcoming 30th anniversary of the Macintosh on Friday by talking with the press about the history of the company as well as its future. Macworld has just published an interview with several of the executive team -- Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi and software technology chief Bud Tribble -- while CEO Tim Cook will appear on ABC World News tomorrow evening.
Cook's interview, which has already been taped, will air on the network's nightly news broadcast, though some excerpts will be seen on Good Morning America earlier in the day. Nothing about the interview has been leaked so far, apart from a single image of reporter David Muir holding a Mac Pro, which will also be discussed. The timing of the interview, however, suggests that Apple's history and future will be a major theme.
Likewise, the Macworld interview touched on both subjects. Tribble, who is the only member of the current executive to have been part of the original Macintosh team, said that some of the "extremely strong threads of DNA" of the first Mac is still present in the current models, even though nearly everything about them has changed dramatically over the past 30 years. "That the Mac should be easily approachable and learnable by just looking at it, that it should bend to the will of the person and not bend the person's will to the technology -- those underlying threads also apply to our other products," he said.
Schiller agreed with the assessment. "There were so many things of value in the original Mac that it is still recognizable," he added, and joined Tribble in pointing out that while the outside perception is that the invention of the iPod, iPhone and iPad have shifted focus away from the Mac, the team believes such inventions re-invigorate Macintosh development.
Federighi went further, saying that while iOS and OS X "cross pollinate" each other, he believes it unlikely that the two operating systems will ever merge. In doing so, he took a swipe at Microsoft, which has engineered its current Windows incarnations to support both touchscreens and traditional keyboards and mice -- a move that appears to have alienated users or either form of input. "To say [OS X and iOS] should be the same, independent of their purpose? Let's just converge, for the sake of convergence? [It's] absolutely a nongoal," Federighi said. "It's obvious and easy enough to slap a touchscreen on a piece of hardware, but is that a good experience? We believe, no."
Interviewer Jason Snell noted that he had interviewed Jobs on the topic of the Mac 10 years ago, and asked then if the computer was to play an important role in the future of the company (at the time, the iPod had taken off and become Apple's top selling device). Jobs' answer was "of course!". This time, Snell asked the question of Federighi, the man in charge of iOS and Mac hardware. "There's a role for the Mac as far as our eye can see," he said in response. "A role in conjunction with smartphones and tablets, that allows you to make the choice of what you want to use. Our view is, the Mac keeps going forever, because the differences it brings are really valuable."