On the heels of the launch of iPhone 6, Apple Pay and Apple Watch this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook gave a wide-ranging and pretty candid interview to PBS's Charlie Rose, which is airing in two parts Friday and Monday night. Cook weighed in on the U.S. government's data collection, co-founder Steve Jobs' legacy, and the "terrible," "awful" of TV interfaces.
Cook has been talking about Apple's interest in TV publicly for several years now, and also conducting talks with the major owners of cable and broadcast networks, all the while building out a onetime "hobby": Apple TV. Here are some key excerpts and clips:
On Apple's biggest competitor: "Google is the top and they enable many people in the hardware business like Samsung, and Samsung is the best of the hardware companies in the Android world."
On U.S. domestic spying: "I don't think the government found the right balance; I think they erred too much on the collect-everything side. I think the president and the administration is committed to moving that pendulum back. It's probably not right to not do anything, so it's a careful line to walk. You want to make sure you're protecting the American people but there's no reason for them to collect information on you or 99.999 percent of other people."
On Apple's use of data: "When we design a new service we try not to collect data. So we are not reading your email, we are not reading your imessages. If the government laid a subpoena on us to give them your imessages, we cannot provide it. It's encrypted and we don't have the key."
On Steve Jobs' legacy: "His office is still as it was on the fourth floor. His name is still on the door. If you think about the things he stood for on a macro level, he stood for innovation, he stood for the simple not the complex. He knew Apple should only enter areas where we control the primary technology. All those things are still deep in our DNA."
On what Apple doesn't do: "The hardest decisions we make are the things not to work on, frankly. There are lots of things we'd like to work on that we have interest in but we know we can't do everything great."
On TV: "TV is one that we continue to have great interest in. I choose my words carefully there, but TV is one of those things that if we are really honest it's stuck back in the '70s. Think about how much your life has changed, and all the things around you that have changed, and yet TV, when you go into your living room, it almost feels like you're rewinding the clock and you're in a time capsule and you're going backwards. The interface is terrible, I mean it's awful."
On Beats: "Jimmy [Iovine] and Dr. Dre are off-the-charts creative geniuses ... I think they've done a fabulous job with their brand, the headphone business. It's a fast growing business. But they needed a global footprint. We have a global footprint -- they have been primarily U.S. I felt we could get a subscription service, we could get incredible talent and we could put our heads together and do some things that are beyond what either of us are doing.