Tim Cook: Tech hasn’t done enough to push gender diversity

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Cook
Tim Cook gave an in-depth interview to HBO.
Photo: Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Tim Cook thinks the tech industry has “missed” doing enough to push gender diversity to break up the male dominated culture in Silicon Valley.

Cook answered the question as part of an Axios interview on HBO, which aired on Sunday. In addition to talking gender diversity, Cook also discussed his daily routine, concerns about the mental impact of Apple devices on users, and privacy regulation.

“I think the Valley has been open and accepting to many different people from different walks of life,” Cook said, regarding encouraging more gender diversity in tech. “But I agree 100 percent from a gender point of view that the Valley has missed it and tech in general has missed it. I know we spend a lot of energy on this and are constantly asking ourselves, ‘How can we improve more?’ and listening to what our folks tell us. I’ve got to believe other people are doing this too. I’m actually encouraged at this point that there will be a more marked improvement over time.”

In recent years, Apple has focused on increasing the diversity of its workforce. It has done this by sending recruiters to events focused on women in tech, as well as reporting “pay gap” information about the average earnings difference between men and women at Apple.

Anyone who watched the company’s most recent media event will also see that Apple events have featured far more female executives on stage.

Cook’s day, Screen Time, and more

Elsewhere in the interview, Cook discussed his own daily routine, which involves getting up before 4am each morning to read customer messages. He then hits the gym for an hour, before heading to work.

Cook also praised Apple’s Screen Time feature in iOS 12 as helping to cut down on people overusing their iOS devices. Cook previously said in an interview that the feature had even surprised him with regards to how long he spent doing certain activities on his phone.

Significantly, Cook also weighed in on the ongoing question of regulating tech companies which hoover up user data. Cook repeated his usual stance that he’s “not a big fan” of regulation, but said that there are limits to the free market. “I think it’s inevitable that there will be some level of regulation,” he said. “I think Congress and the administration at some point will pass something.”

Cook said that just because your device learns information about you does not mean this information must be passed along to companies. He did, however, avoid calling out Google, which is the default search engine on iOS. Cook said that iOS offers features like private browsing and intelligent tracking prevention help keep users safe. He also said that Google makes the “best” search engine.

Finally, Cook reiterated his thoughts that augmented reality will be a massive industry. “In a few years, we won’t be able to imagine our lives without augmented reality,” he said.