Tim Cook hides Apple Watch sales but bigs up Music numbers (and fanbois)

WWSJD at WSJD? Cook and Baker fight in the pomaceous kitchen

Apple Tim Cook WSJD
Credit: Apple, Inc.

Tim Cook, top Apple chef, talks turkey: At the WSJD conflab, Cook was interviewed by Gerry Baker, who grilled him about many and various savory topics.

F'rinstance: Watch sales figures (or lack of them), Music momentum, televisual hobbies (and Apple TV 4 release date), iPhone déjà vu, fractious carrier relationships, Car talk, the demands of the NSA and GCHQ, and Apple's corporate activism.

Tensions flared from time to time, but Tim stayed on-message, mostly—swatting away unhelpful questions and focusing on what he wanted us to hear.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers chow down on the details. Not to mention: Why fanbois fanboi...

curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.
[Developing story: Updated 8:43 am PT with more comment]

Geoffrey Fowler and Joanna Stern liveblog Tim's talk with Gerry Baker:

“We are not announcing the numbers,” Cook says on Apple Watch sales. ... “This is competitive information.”

Great question: How does Apple speed up the innovation of the iPhone? ... He really dodged that question [about] the “S” cycle...disputes the notion that we are in a 2-year innovation cycle.

Cook says Apple Music has 6.5 million paid users. ... Humans are great and all, but both Joanna and I love the algorithm aspects of Spotify.

Now on to Apple TV: It’s not going to be fundamentally disruptive of the TV watching experience, right? ... TV “has to be brought up and modernized.” [His] answer...is apps. My question: Are apps...really any better than channels?

Now Gerry is asking about privacy — and, importantly, the cost of Apple’s approach. ... Cook is explaining what information Apple doesn’t collect. ... “We think encryption is a must. ... No back door is a must.” ... Cook argues that even if there was a system that knew everything...it isn’t clear who is good and who is bad. ... Don’t assume the only way to have security is to have a back door, says Cook.  MORE

Shara Tibken and Connie Guglielmo tag-team thuswise:

Cook made the remarks during a wide-ranging interview here at a Wall Street Journal technology conference.

He added that he didn't mind irritating people as long as Apple was upholding the legacy of...Steve Jobs.

[He] revealed that Apple will start taking orders for...Apple TV [4] on October 26 and will begin shipping [it] by the end of next week.
When asked about his activism as CEO, Cook said..."Our culture is to leave the world better than we found it." ... "Steve formed Apple to change the world [and] that is still our drive."  MORE

Eric Slivka vicariously hears the apologia:

Apple CEO Tim Cook is on stage for the opening night of the WSJDLive conference in Palm Springs [with] editor Gerry Baker.

On whether Apple wants to control every facet of our lives:..Apple does want you to have a seamless experience.

Baker asks about Apple's car project, but Cook hesitates to say much.

Cook notes Apple will have 40 stores in China by the end of next year, and China currently provided [about a quarter] of Apple's revenue.

In response to a question about Apple's relationship to national security organizations, Cook says he is "very" comfortable with it. ... A rather tense debate about the tradeoff between privacy and national security ensues.

Cook notes Apple has a "responsibility to be a great global citizen,"...says Apple isn't worried about alienating customers with its stances.  MORE

Here's Mikey Campbell's soup-to-nuts report:

[You're fired -Ed.]

The interview started out slow with...Baker trying to pry some Apple Watch data out of Cook, who [was] expectedly tight-lipped.

Cook carefully talked around Apple Car rumors [but] was not prepared to offer insight into Apple's supposed plans.

Cook said Apple's new iPhone Upgrade Plan...should not be considered an attempt to undermine partner carrier sales.

Cook again reiterated that data privacy is a huge concern...in response to overtures from the U.S. government to create a backdoor policy that would allow...access to sensitive user data stored on Apple's servers.

On social responsibility, Cook is adamant that Apple should [be] diversifying the workplace, bolstering...education system[s] and decreasing [its] impact on the environment.  MORE

Meanwhile, Jefferson Graham contextualizes Cook's Music subs stat:

Apple Music has lost half of subscribers after trial period.  MORE

And Jon Russell leaves us with this:

A decent chunk of that 6.5 million may be people who forgot to cancel...and involuntarily became paying members.

It is very easy to become a paying Apple Music customer without necessarily meaning to.  MORE

Update: Ben Lovejoy says, "It's just the start:"

There are still plenty of unknowns. ... We don’t know the exact split between individual and family subscriptions...and we don’t know how subscribers map out across the countries. [But] average monthly subscription of $11 times 6.5M customers gives us...let’s call it a billion dollars a year.

That’s a very impressive start. ... It doesn’t take too much imagination to see a point...when Apple Music subscriptions will exceed revenue from iTunes downloads.

Spotify currently has over 20M paid subscribers [but it] took almost four years to hit 4M paid subscribers.

Cook said...he was “really happy about it, and I think the runway here is really good.” It’s hard to disagree.  MORE

And Finally...
Explaining fanbois -- The Bielefeld Conspiracy

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