In recent months, a number of analysts and tech pundits have loudly criticized Apple, asking why the company hasn't pulled another category-defining product out of its hat in the face of stiffer competition from the likes of Samsung and others. Last night, Apple CEO Tim Cook sat for a wide ranging interview to answer the critics who think that the post-Steve Jobs Apple may have lost its mojo.
Right off the bat, AllThingsD interviewers Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher pulled no punches, asking Cook nearly every sensitive question you can think of, from the company's falling stock price, to questions regarding the popularity of iOS versus Android, to the lack of new products emerging from the company's Cupertino labs. As expected, Cook refused to reveal anything specific about the company's upcoming products, which, according to comments made during the company's last earnings call, will appear in the fall and in 2014.
And while there was no firm word on the rumored smart television, or the rumored smartwatch, Cook did respond directly when asked about the commercial viability of the Google's Glass device. Cook said, "I think there's some positive points in the product. I think it's probably more likely to appeal to certain vertical markets. I think the likelihood that it has a broad range appeal…I don't…that's tough to see." The conversation then veered off into a broader discussion about wearable computers, during which Cook again dodged directly confirming or denying that Apple might have a smartwatch in the works.
Although Cook did come back to the question of the viability of Glass as a mainstream device, saying:
"There's nothing that's gonna convince a kid who has never worn glasses, or a band, or a watch, or whatever, to wear one. Or at least I haven't seen it. So I think there's lots of things to solve in this space. But, it's an area that's ripe for exploration, it's ripe for us all getting exciting about…
I think in terms of glasses, I wear glasses because I have to. I can't see without them. So I kinda have that problem. I don't know a lot of people that wear them that don't have to. People that do wear them generally want them to be light. They want them to be unobtrusive. They probably want them to reflect their fashion, you know, their style and so forth. So, from a mainstream point of view, this [points to his glasses] is difficult."
Coming from the CEO of the company responsible for kick-starting the smartphone and tablet categories, this could rank as one of the most important analyses of Google Glass we've heard to date. So, for the record, Apple doesn't think Google Glass will garner a broad consumer base. A year from now we can check back and see if Cook has the same high-level predictive chops as his predecessor. In the meantime, when pressed for an answer regarding new innovations from Apple, Cook would only say, "I think we have several more game changers in us." You can watch the entire video interview here.