Apple CEO Tim Cook was careful not to reveal any deep secrets in his sit-down interview with All Things D‘s Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. But he did drop a few breadcrumbs for Apple speculators to follow.
Speaking about Facebook, Cook said he thought Apple’s relationship with the social network is “very solid” and that Apple could do more with the company. He encouraged people to “stay tuned.” Many read that as a hint that deeper ties to Facebook might be coming in iOS 6 — similar to how Apple integrated Twitter at the OS level in iOS and OS X 10.8 “Mountain Lion” — but Cook wouldn’t elaborate.
If Apple does strengthen its relationship with Facebook, it would be further reason for the company to finally do away with Ping, Apple’s ill-fated attempt at a social network. Cook said he had thought about killing Ping when a member of the audience asked him about it, but he also noted that some customers really love it.
Cook also suggested that Siri, the voice assistant on the iPhone 4S, would be getting some enhancements in the near future. After saying Siri proved that people want to interact with their phones in new ways, Cook said the it could be broader, and that the potential was “unbelievable.”
“I think you are going to be really pleased with where we take Siri,” he said.
Asked about product secrecy, Cook said Apple would be “doubling down” on it, while at the same time explaining Apple would behave more openly with regard to its Asian suppliers’ practices. At the suggestion of an U.S.-based Apple factory, Cook didn’t entirely shoot down the idea, but he did say there would have to be big changes for that to happen.
“Could assembly process be done in the US someday? I hope so,” Cook said. “[There] has to be a fundamental change in education system to make it possible.”
On the neverending rumor that Apple is in the early stages of making a TV set, Cook didn’t budge. While he said Apple’s relationship with Hollywood was “good,” Cook simply didn’t answer when asked whether Apple was building a television or even the more general “living room content service.”
Ultimately, Cook guarded against saying too much during the interview, apart from dropping the first public acknowledgement from Apple that Ping is a failure. However, he did reveal some more insight into his thinking, and how profound an influence Steve Jobs has been in his life and career.