In a new interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Apple CEO Tim Cook offered some perspective on his first year in the commander’s seat. While typically reluctant to share many details of the company’s future plans, he did drop one interesting detail: Apple is bringing more of its manufacturing back to the United States.
“Next year we are going to bring some production to the U.S. on the Mac,” Cook told the magazine. “We’ve been working on this for a long time, and we were getting closer to it. It will happen in 2013. We’re really proud of it. We could have quickly maybe done just assembly, but it’s broader because we wanted to do something more substantial.”
Apple’s total investment in the new U.S. factories will be $100 million. “This doesn’t mean that Apple will do it ourselves,” he added, “but we’ll be working with people, and we’ll be investing our money.” (Apple already performs at least some Mac assembly in the United States.)
Cook also commented on the ongoing competition between Apple and Google Android, comparing the latter to Windows PCs—and not in a flattering way. “The operating system comes from company A,” he said. “Company B is doing some integration work, and maybe the services come from yet somewhere else. I think we know the kind of customer experience that produces.”
Apple, of course, is engaged in fierce legal battle against many of those Android manufacturers. “I hate litigation. I absolutely hate it,” Cook said. “For us, this is about values. What we would like, in a perfect world, is for everyone to invent their own stuff.” That we-want-rivals-to-invent-their-own-stuff argument is one that he’s used many times before.
Despite pressure from Android, analysts believe that Apple will remain a robust competitor in the mobile arena for the next several years. “The popularity of the iPhone across multiple markets will drive steady replacements and additional carrier partners will help Apple grow iOS volume,” read a recent note from research firm IDC. “However, the high price point of the iPhone relative to other smartphones will make it cost prohibitive for some users within many emerging markets.”
Android holds roughly three-quarters of the mobile OS market, in IDC’s estimation, followed by iOS with almost 15 percent. Microsoft’s Windows Phone, Research In Motion’s BlackBerry, and a few other software platforms make up the remaining percentage.
In other words, the state of Apple is strong—but Cook is under no illusions about the challenges facing the company, both from its rivals and the need to maintain its innovative edge.