Apple wracked up and impressive quarter. In fact, this quarter was, in many ways, second only to Apple’s monster holiday quarter. In addition to the impressive numbers, the call offered a glimpse into Apple under Tim Cook. Some of the statements made by Cook during the call offered interesting insights to the future of the company. Of course there are the prepared remarks quoted in Apple’s press release:
“We’re thrilled with sales of over 35 million iPhones and almost 12 million iPads in the March quarter,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The new iPad is off to a great start, and across the year you’re going to see a lot more of the kind of innovation that only Apple can deliver.”
Beyond that, however, Cook injected more personality and a sense of his leadership style. Although Apple’s CFO Peter Oppenheimer handled the prepared remarks, Cook’s answers to questions during the call offered some interesting insights.
The price reduction of the iPad 2 alongside the new iPad launch “Unlocked education demand” for the iPad line as well as price sensitive buyers. Cook is “thrilled iPad 2 sales.”
Since the new iPad is still constrained, the company refuses to draw further conclusions about a mix of price points – effectively avoiding any potential comments about a rumored low cost iPad mini.
Asked about further convergence between the iPad and OS X – a question alluding to Microsoft’s Windows 8 strategy, Cook said that “Anything can be forced to converged.” He noted that convergence requires compromises in products and that in many cases “What you have left at the end of the day dosn’t please anyone.”
He took that comment further using the analogy of convergence between a fridge and a toaster – something that wasn’t sensible and wouldn’t sell nearly as well as a separate refrigerator and toaster. Getting beyond that analogy, he said that companies “make compromises for convergence” adding “We’re not going to that party” and that some companies taking that route are doing so “defensively”.
Apple had “the mother of all Januaries,” according to Cook as he pointed out that in January the company had cleared the backlog of iPhone 4S orders while launching the device in China – a country with “tremendous opportunity for companies that understand” it.
After reiterating Apple’s efforts with Fortune 500 and Global 500 to encourage enterprise iPad adoption, Cook point out that Apple is no longer focused solely on getting the iPad “certified” by such companies and that Apple is “focusing on penetration” within company ranks – a move well beyond simple pilot projects.
Describing the iPad’s enterprise appeal, Cook noted that the tablet’s adoption spanned “across many verticals through government through education – absolutely the most broad based product I’ve ever seen in my entire career.”
Answering a question on carrier subsidies for the iPhone, Cook pointed out that carriers reported lower return rates for the iPhone than for any other device and described it as “the best phone on the planet to entice a customer” to make the switch from a basic handset to a smartphone.
When it came to Apple’s patent disputes with Samsung and other Android manufacturers, Cook admitted “I’ve always hated litigation.” Despite saying that he’d rather “settle than battle,” Cook made it clear that he wasn’t prepared to have Apple “become the developer for the world.” In the end he reiterated a point made by Apple under his leadership as well as that of the company’s late CEO Steve Jobs – that Apple just wants others to “people to invent their own stuff.”