It’s rare to see Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly address what’s in store for the company’s future products, which is why the tech world pays close attention when he does. On Tuesday, the 52-year-old Apple chief took the stage at this year’s D11 conference and discussed the problem with Google Glass, the possibility of porting Apple services to other platforms, and two long-fabled Apple products that have yet to see the light of day.
Cook said believes that wearable computing is an area of “profound interest,” but doesn’t think Google Glass is the most viable option. The Apple CEO flaunted his iOS- integrated Nike Fuel Band on stage, noting that a wrist-worn device would feel more natural than a pair of glasses.
“For something to work here, you have to convince people it’s so incredible you want to wear it,” he said on stage in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif.
Rumors of an Apple smart watch began to gain momentum back in February when the New York Times reported that the company was experimenting with a wrist-worn mobile device. In the months that followed, patents detailing a device that sounds suspiciously similar to a smart watch have popped up on the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s website, leaving most convinced that an iWatch is certainly in Apple’s pipeline.
Cook never confirmed that the company plans to launch a wrist-worn iOS device, but did say the wearable tech is “ripe for exploration” and that such devices are “an important part of the tree” along with the iPhone and iPad.
Apple has been known for its platform exclusivity, but that’s something that could very well change in the future. When discussing the possibility of porting iOS apps or services to Android, Cook didn’t seem as close-minded as one would expect.
“We have no religious issue with porting an Apple app to Android,” he when asked whether or not iCloud should expand to other platforms. “If it made sense for us to do that, we would do that. You could apply that to every area of Apple.”
This is far from a confirmation that Apple services will make their way to Android, but the possibility of an app such as iMessage or iCloud heading to other platforms is certainly interesting.
Apple has already dabbled in the TV field with its Apple TV, which is a set-top that allows users to stream online video services such as Netflix and Hulu Plus or rent content from the iTunes store. However, after years of selling “a few hundred thousand” Apple TVs, rumors have suggested that a full-fledged Apple television set could be in the works.
While Cook didn’t directly comment on whether or not the company has plans to launch a TV unit, he did express some desire to revamp the way people consume television. “Many of us would agree there’s lots of things about the TV experience that can be better,” he said. “We answered some of those, not all of those, with Apple TV.”
The Apple CEO went on to say that this is an area of “incredible interest” to the company in Cupertino, but didn’t divulge any details. “It’s not an experience that I think very many people love,” he said when referring to the living room TV. “It’s not an experience that you would say has been brought up to date for this decade. It’s still an experience that’s too much like it was 10 years ago, in many cases 20 years ago.”
There’s no telling whether or not Apple plans to launch a TV, but it’s certainly not the only one competing for the living room space. Microsoft’s new Xbox One focuses just as much on the television experience as it does on gaming, especially since the company has partnered with ESPN to bring exclusive sports content to the console.
Apple plans to hold its World Wide Developer’s Conference from June 10 to 14 in San Francisco, where the company rationally unveils its next iteration of iOS and major OS X updates.
“We have some incredible plans that we’ve been working on for a while,” Cook said on stage. “The culture is all still there, and many of the people are still there. We have several more game changers in us.”