Is Apple set to release a smartwatch? Boss Tim Cook hints at 'game changing' wearable devices but claims Google Glass 'has limited appeal'
Published 30/05/2013 | 06:46
Apple's chief executive Tim Cook has attempted to reassure investors by telling them that it has several “game changers” in the pipeline.
Mr Cook, speaking at a conference in California, did not go into details but promised that Apple would release new products and hinted that wearable computers could be among them.
"It's an area where it's ripe for exploration," Cook said on at the All Things Digital conference, an annual gathering of technology and media executives in the California coastal resort town of Rancho Palos Verdes. "It's ripe for us all getting excited about. I think there will be tons of companies playing in this."
Mr Cook's remarks come at a time when investors in the technology company have been rattled by lack of new product launches and a fall in profits this year for the first time in a decade. Apple made a net profit of $9.5bn (£6.2bn) in the January to March quarter, down from $11.6bn last year. Although the results were disappointing, they were better than analysts had expected as iPone and iPad sales boosted revenues to $43.6bn. The company said it had sold 37.4 million iPhones and 19.5 million iPads worldwide during that period.
Although Apple continues to remains dominant in the tablet computer and smartphone markets, investors have been worried that its market share was being eroded by rivals such as Samsung and Google. Apple has lost around 40 per cent of its stock market value since hitting an all-time high in September last year. Analysts have suggested the company needs to innovate once again to stay ahead of the competition, rather than relying on updates to existing products.
Rumoured new products are thought to include an Apple television and wearable technology such as a smartphone. Mr Cook stopped short of confirming whether Apple was developing a smartwatch amid recent speculation. He did seem to dismiss plans for a rival to the Google Glass, saying he did not believe the cross between a mobile computer and glasses could have mass appeal.
"There are some positives in the product. It's probably likely to appeal to certain markets. The likelihood that it has broad appeal is hard to see," Cook said.
"There's nothing that's going to convince a kid who has never worn glasses or a band or a watch to wear one, or at least I haven't seen it.
"So I think there's lots of things to solve in this space."
Apple has an interest and a "grand vision" for television that will go beyond the existing Apple TV streaming service.
Mr Cook also hinted at updates to the company's iOS mobile software, saying the future of iOS would be evident when it holds its annual developer conference next month, and said the company was investing heavily in online services such as its mapping application. Jonathan Ive, Apple’s British design chief, was leading the system overhaul after the company was forced to apologise for its iO6 update which forced users to abandon their Google Maps for Apple's own flawed version.
“Jony is really key. We recognised that Jony had contributed significantly to the look and feel of Apple for many, many years and could do that for software as well…What we did last fall was change things up, to really ramp up our innovation," Cook said.
"The key in the post-PC era for having a great product is incredible hardware, incredible software, and incredible services, and to combine them so you can't tell what's what. The magic is at the intersection."
Mr Cook also said Apple had "absolutely not" lost its cool and went on to list statistics of device sales and usage. He, however, acknowledged that he was frustrated with the sudden downturn in the firm's stock price.