BuzzFeed Managing Editor John Paczkowski had the honor of spending a 20 minutes car ride across Manhattan with Apple CEO Tim Cook, and during the talk, the two discussed new iPhone features, privacy concerns, the iPad Pro as a desktop replacement, and the possibility of someday being able to delete those darned default iOS apps.
Tim Cook is twisted sideways in the deep passenger-side backseat of a black Cadillac Escalade, rolling through Manhattan from the Flatiron district up to the company’s flagship Fifth Avenue Apple Store — where a great glass cube sits atop Apple’s subterranean retail center.
Cook likes making surprise “drop-in” visits from time-to-time, keeping them secret, to make it easier on everyone, particularly employees who might agonize over a visit from Apple’s main man if they knew he was on the way.
“I almost always go in unannounced,” he says. “It’s rare that I tell anyone that I’m going. But I do try to go to stores every time I’m traveling to a new city. It’s important.”
Although Apple SVP Eddy Cue is also making the visit alongside Cook, as is Apple VP Greg “Joz” Joswiak, Cue says they typically wind up being spectators along with everyone else. “This is all about Tim.”
During the ride, Cook is asked about the privacy implications of the always-on “Hey Siri” feature of the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus handsets.
“First you can decide you don’t want Hey Siri,” Cook responds. “But the real answer to that is that the information is held on the device and so it is not going back to Apple. Apple doesn’t have access to it. So there’s not privacy concerns I think, for most people, when the information is held on their device and they can encrypt it with their passcode. […] I hope that people trust us to do the right thing there.”
Paczkowski discusses Cook’s enthusiasm over the new features coming with the new iPhones, such as Live Photos and particularly 3D Touch:
“I think Live Photos is a medium that hasn’t existed before. It’s like discovering a new form.” But he’s most excited by 3D Touch. “I personally think 3D Touch is a game changer,” he says. “I find that my efficiency is way up with 3D touch, because I can go through so many emails so quickly. It really does cut out a number of navigational steps to get where you’re going.”
When asked if Apple holds back new features for the non-“s” device debuts, he replies that: “As soon as products are ready we’re going to release them. There’s no holding back”
Cook says the new iPhone Upgrade Program that allows customers to finance their iPhone, and AppleCare+, AND get a new iPhone every 12 months, is all about making it easier for those who want to get a new device each year, and he insists the company’s intention is simply to improve the customer experience.
Cook is then asked if he thinks people will give up their Mac for an iPad Pro:
“I think that some people will never buy a computer,” Cook says. “Because I think now we’re at the point where the iPad does what some people want to do with their PCs.”
Cook also is quick to note that there are those who will always buy a Mac, and that it will continue to be offered by the company. “I see the Mac being a key part of Apple for the long term and I see growth in the Mac for the long term.”
One more question is posed to Cook before getting out of the car at the Apple Store: Why can’t users delete those darned default apps like “Tips,” and “Stocks,” even if the user knows they’ll never use them?
For Cook the question seems a familiar one. “This is a more complex issue than it first appears,” he says. “There are some apps that are linked to something else on the iPhone. If they were to be removed they might cause issues elsewhere on the phone. There are other apps that aren’t like that. So over time, I think with the ones that aren’t like that, we’ll figure out a way [for you to remove them]. … It’s not that we want to suck up your real estate; we’re not motivated to do that. We want you to be happy. So I recognize that some people want to do this, and it’s something we’re looking at.”
Paczkowski’s article is recommended reading, as he continues his article describing Cook’s visit to the Apple Store, and how both customers and particularly Apple Store employees, are genuinely excited to meet Apple’s popular CEO.