In a recent interview with Kara Swisher on her show Sway, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, shared his thoughts about a number of different things, including Elon Musk and Tesla. He hinted at a widely anticipated Apple Car, saying, “We’ll see what Apple does.” The interview also touched upon his thoughts on being called Tim Apple, artificial intelligence, and augmented reality.
On Elon Musk & Tesla
Swisher asked Cook about Drive.ai, a self-driving startup that Apple recently acquired.
“Apple is testing autonomous vehicles. It was, reportedly, last year Elon Musk said he offered to sell Tesla to Apple for 1/10 its value. And he said you wouldn’t even take a meeting with him.”
Tim Cook replied that he’d never spoken to Elon while sharing his great admiration and respect for him and Tesla.
“You know, I’ve never spoken to Elon, although I have great admiration and respect for the company he’s built. I think Tesla has done an unbelievable job of not only establishing the lead but keeping the lead for such a long period of time in the EV space. So I have great appreciation for them.”
As for the work Apple is doing with Drive.ai, Cook replied that he is “going to be a little coy on that” and redirected the conversation to his thoughts on autonomy.
“The autonomy itself is a core technology, in my view. If you sort of step back, the car, in a lot of ways, is a robot. An autonomous car is a robot. And so there are lots of things you can do with autonomy. And we’ll see what Apple does. We investigate so many things internally. Many of them never see the light of day. I’m not saying that one will not.”
When asked if it would be in the form of a car or technology within a car, Cook stated that he wasn’t going to answer that question. Swisher shared she thought it had to be a car, noting that one can’t just do the tech and that Apple wasn’t Google. Cook replied,
“We love to integrate hardware, software, and services, and find the intersection points of those because we think that’s where the magic occurs. And so that’s what we love to do. And we love to own the primary technology that’s around that.”
That sure makes it sound like Apple is developing its own vehicle.
On His Sexual Orientation
I wanted to add his stand here because I personally support LGBTQ+ and have many dear friends who have struggled with the fact that they are openly hated by family members for being who they are and owning their own truth. Tim Cook speaking out on this topic is something that is not only encouraging to my friends who have struggled, but to many, many others. Seeing not just any tech CEO, but the CEO of Apple, touch upon this and share his truth is empowering for many people. Swisher asked Cook:
“You decided to come out in 2014 in a Bloomberg piece. I can’t believe you didn’t come to Kara Swisher, but that’s OK. That’s alright. I’m forgiving you. And you’re the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Do you feel the need to be an even louder voice now or a more prominent leader in this area? You just teamed up with non-profit Encircle to donate a million dollars. You’re serving as honorary co-chair.”
“The way that I looked at this was I wanted to speak my truth because I saw kids struggling with who they were and maybe being disowned by their families, maybe being bullied — a set of horribles, if you will. And I felt that coming out and speaking my truth would help show them that there was a light at the end of the tunnel; that they could rise and do things incredible in life, that they were not capped in some kind of way because they were part of the LGBTQ community. And I feel like — well, I know because I’ve gotten so many different notes and people reaching out to me over time — that I accomplished that for a number of people. And I feel really good about that. I don’t feel like that’s all I need to do. I think to whom much is given, much is required. And so I’m going to continue. Encircle is a great example. I don’t know if you’re familiar with that organization.”
Swisher noted that she was familiar with the organization and Cook shared a bit more of what Encircle does.
“They build homes. They have kids that come to these homes. They have programs built around. It’s a safe place to be. I think that program is scalable. And so we want to help that in any way that we can. And I’m going to speak out on laws and regulations that pop up that are discriminatory to the community.”
Swisher asked Cook if he would be at Apple for 10 more years. He replied that he might not but that he feels great at the moment and the date of departure is not in sight. When asked if he wasn’t running Apple what he would do, Cook didn’t know.
“I don’t have a clue, because I love this company so much, that it’s hard to imagine my life without it.”
Swisher’s interview with Tim Cook showed more than his polished image. It allowed for him to speak on topics such as the Apple Car and Tesla while also sharing a bit of his heart and what drives him. It is a rare gem, indeed. You can read the transcript of the interview here.