Tim Cook says Apple is committed to AR, TV+ and privacy but not to Apple Car

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Tim Cook with MacBook at One More Thing event 2020
In a wide-ranging interview with the NYT, Apple CEO Tim Cook talked about privacy, AR, the Apple Car and Apple TV+.
Photo: Apple

It’s never easy to get Apple’s CEO to talk about the future. But Kara Swisher from The New York Times managed to get Tim Cook to drop a few hints about some of the company’s future plans.

Cook says Apple is committed to Apple TV+. And to user privacy. But he’s not promising that the Apple Car will ever be real.

The interview was on Monday’s episode of the NYT Sway podcast.

Tim Cook: AR is important to Apple’s future

Cook makes no secret of his support for augmented reality, and he told Swisher, “When I think about that in different fields, whether it’s health, whether it’s education, whether it’s gaming, whether it’s retail, I’m already seeing AR take off in some of these areas with use of the phone. And I think the promise is even greater in the future.”

But he wouldn’t talk about specific products, though he was willing to agree to Swisher’s statement that AR is “a critically important part of Apple’s future.”

Apple is reportedly working on a mixed -reality headset that might be unveiled as early as 2021. A pair of augmented reality glasses are expected to follow in the coming years.

Apple TV+ is also important

Cook used the interview to make it clear that his company is serious about Apple TV+, its video streaming service. “It is not a hobby. It is not a dip your toe in,” he said. “We’re making serious investments in Apple TV+.“

That said, he doesn’t expect the service to be the biggest. “We’re about making the best, not the most,” said Cook. And he doesn’t think it’ll crush Netflix. “I don’t see that if a given user buys Netflix, that they can’t also buy Apple.”

The Apple Car is an open question

Another potential Apple product that’s been the subject of many rumors and leaks is the Apple Car. Tim Cook didn’t try to pretend his company isn’t exploring making one. But he wouldn’t make any promises either.

“If you sort of step back, the car, in a lot of ways, is a robot. An autonomous car is a robot,” said the Apple executive. “And so there’s lots of things you can do with autonomy. And we’ll see what Apple does. We investigate so many things internally. Many of them never see the light of day. I’m not saying that one will not.”

Apple is committed to user privacy

Swisher asked about Apple’s commitment to privacy, which gave Tim Cook an an opportunity to talk about App Tracking Transparency, a feature expected to debut in iOS 14.5. This will require applications to specifically ask users for permission to track them online.

Cook said, “What it tries to get at is companies that are taking advantage of tracking you across apps of other companies, and therefore putting together an entire profile of what you’re thinking, what you’re doing, surveilling you across the web 24/7.”

And the Apple CEO says ATT is just another step in a long journey. “Every year, we add privacy features. If you look back in time, we’ve added some every year,” said Cook. “It is not aimed at a company. It’s aimed at a principle. And the principle is that the individual should be in control over whether they’re tracked or not, who has their data.”

Tim Cook starts to look toward the exit

Tim Cook has worked at Apple for 23 years, and he’s 60 years old. Swisher asked him if he’d still be at the company in another decade.

“Ten more years is a long time and probably not 10 more years,” he said. But he’s not eager to go. “I love this company so much, that it’s hard to imagine my life without it.”