Apple CEO Cook: Innovation is not necessarily a change, trying to make Chinese users spend less money on new iPhones

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Author | Zhong Wenze Source | Tencent Technology (ID: qqtech), the original topic “Exclusive Interview with Apple CEO Cook: Innovation is not necessarily a change but to do better” Every year Apple Autumn New Product Launch is the most concerned in the field of technologyThe launch event is no exception this year.At 10 am local time on September 10, Apple Park was packed with guests and media people from all over the world.I came to San Francisco for the fourth time to attend the Apple conference. I saw Cook in the experience area of ​​the first three times, but I didn’t make any substantive exchanges.Shortly after the conference, I got the chance to have an exclusive conversation with Apple CEO Tim Cook.At this conference, Cook played the role of a serial host, inviting the heads of various business modules and partners to take the stage for demonstration.After entering the interview room, Cook’s state was very relaxed, and he could see that he was quite satisfied with the just-concluded conference – Apple released three new iPhones, a new watch, and a new iPad.After seeing me, Cook took the initiative to joked: “If you need, I can communicate with you in Mandarin.”The interview began in such a relaxed atmosphere.What is Apple’s biggest advantage in terms of innovation?Since the release of the original iPhone, Apple has been synonymous with “innovation” and has led the development trend of the technology industry.Before the autumn new product launch, the words “to innovation” were written at the Apple Conference China Media Invitation.In the just-concluded conference, Apple brought the iPhone 11 series with new colors, new crafts, new photos, new screens, new lifelines and many other new elements.The addition of these new elements makes this machine significantly more attractive than the iPhone XS released last year.Asked how Apple maintains its innovation and responds to the increasingly fierce market competition, Cook said that Apple’s biggest advantage is actually integration.This kind of innovation based on software, hardware and services is not available to other vendors.Cook told Tencent News that some vendors can build operating systems, some are responsible for making mobile phone chips, and some other manufacturers are making mobile phones.But they have no way to truly integrate these three directions to provide users with a better experience.This is also the biggest difference between Apple.This year’s iPhone photo was actually developed three or four years ago. Apple’s development in the field of photography in the past two years has not taken a radical rhythm. In 2018, when other manufacturers joined the three-lens, Apple’s iPhone XS series still maintains a doubleThe configuration of the lens.Instead of the third lens, Apple has added a new intelligent HDR technology to the iPhone XS model, which can greatly enhance the dynamic range of the photo.However, the perception of this technology to users is not intuitive enough. Many users are able to take better-looking photos, but they don’t know what technology is causing them.The iPhone 11 Pro series released this year has really introduced three lenses.At the press conference, Apple also mentioned that the lens of the iPhone 11 Pro series has been significantly improved. The addition of a super wide-angle lens enables a wider format of photos, and also adds a variety of camera modes such as night scene mode.The smoothness of switching between multiple shots is also the best performing smartphone.Cook told Tencent News that for the development of the new iPhone camera, Apple has been preparing for it three or four years ago. For Apple, any functional innovation cycle is quite long.Because this requires software and hardware to work together.In addition to taking pictures, the A11 Bionic chip of the iPhone 11 series began development three and a half years ago.Machine learning takes a long time to prepare and research, and there is no way to achieve these results within a year.Appearance is innovation, but don’t innovate for innovation. In fact, for Apple’s product strategy in the past two years, one of the controversial points is whether “the unchanging appearance can make consumers strongly feel that this is a brand new mobile phone.”For this question, Cook’s answer is quite pertinent.He said that “innovation does not necessarily mean change, but to do better.” If the change in appearance can lead to better functionality, better feel or better size, then Apple is willing to change its appearance.But if you change for change, you lose your focus on true innovation.Apple does not pursue the 5G for the first launch, the pursuit of the best 5G is the hottest topic in this year’s technology field, major operators and manufacturers are sparing no effort to promote the advantages of 5G.The biggest curiosity of the outside world is exactly why the iPhone 11 series just released does not support 5G?Cook’s answer is straightforward: “I think 5G is still a little ahead of the moment.”After investigating the market, Apple found that the entire market, whether it is infrastructure or chips, is not mature enough to support the launch of a high-quality product.Apple’s mobile phone has changed from 2G network standard to 3G, and then from 3G to 4G. Every product transformation will be hoped for faster and earlier.However, in Cook’s view, Apple’s goal has never been to grab the first and grab the starting lineup.Apple’s goal is to be the best, that is, waiting for the relevant technology to enter maturity.Cook believes that if Apple can make full use of 4G and 4G+ networks at this stage, it can still tap a lot of 4G network potential.In the iPhone 11 series just released this year, Apple is also planning this way.When Tencent News asked a sentence to evaluate 5G, Cook’s summary is: 5G has great potential, but there are still many problems to be solved.Apple is trying to make Chinese users spend less money on the new iPhone two years ago, the release of iPhone X, pushing the price of Apple’s flagship phone to a new high in history, hitting 10,000 yuan, making many users deterred, last year’s iPhone XS MaxThe price of the edition directly broke through the million mark.But in the 618 and Double 11 e-commerce promotional shopping festivals, the iPhone always gets very high sales.Such data may indicate that there are many users who like the iPhone in China, but the high price hinders them from buying new machines.Obviously, Apple is not willing to make the iPhone a mobile phone that rich people can enjoy.Cook told Tencent News that Apple already has a Trade In redemption plan in China.The user can sell the old phone on the handle to Apple at a discount, and then the discounted portion can be used as a subsidy to purchase a new iPhone.Take the iPhone 11 Pro just released as an example, starting at 8699 yuan, users through the Trade In redemption plan, only need to pay a price of five or six thousand yuan to start; in addition to the redemption plan, Cook added that Apple also launched 24The interest-free purchase service of the period, the average monthly payment for two years can also greatly reduce the pressure on users.Of course, in addition to the discount category, there is a simple and rude price cut.The price of the iPhone 11 is 1,000 yuan lower than the previous model iPhone XR.Chinese developers enjoy higher treatment than American developers?In July this year, Apple established the world’s second and China’s first design and development accelerator in Shanghai.This is a service program for developers. Apple provides venues, invites engineers from around the world to provide technical guidance and the latest development tools for Chinese developers for free.However, as the home base of Apple, there is still no design development accelerator in the United States.Cook said that because American universities have formed a programming curriculum similar to the design development accelerator, although there is no separate development site, the existence of college courses can complete some functions.Cook said that the reason for setting up design and development accelerators in China is that because China has a large number of entrepreneurs, they hope to expand overseas markets outside China.Apple is very excited about the state and speed of development of these developers.It is precisely because of this that it was decided to set up a stronghold in China so that more Chinese developers can join in and learn more skills.Cook also said that even Apple, the ability to be a company is limited.Therefore, in the course of the interview, he also called for the hope that more people can join the system.Chinese developers think about mobile phones. Apple has the highest quality app store in the world, bringing together the best developers in the world.So what are the commonalities of Chinese developers through the App Store?Cook’s understanding of Chinese developers is surprising.He said that the biggest feature of Chinese developers is that when thinking about problems, the first thing that comes to mind is the mobile side.Cook said that in many other countries and regions around the world, when developers think about problems or propose solutions, the first thing that comes to mind is the desktop, which is the computer.Chinese developers are different.Cook gave a concrete example: mobile payments have achieved great success in the Chinese market; but in markets such as the US, where users are still more accustomed to credit card payments.Under the strong pressure of credit cards, the mobile payment on the mobile phone and the watch side is naturally limited in development.For the Chinese market, there is no such burden, which also allows Chinese developers to more freely complete their own application development.Coupled with the strong entrepreneurial spirit of Chinese developers, the mobile ecology has achieved great success in China.Why has Apple been popularizing programming courses?While building smart products such as mobile phones and tablets, Apple also insisted on the promotion of programming.For example, Apple introduced an easier-to-learn Swift language. For example, Apple will host the Today at Apple event in a retail store in China to provide children with free learning programming opportunities; for example, organizing Chinese supply chains and foundries to learn programming.Apple showed great enthusiasm in programming promotion. Cook explained that Apple believes that a company must take more responsibility, not just profit.Apple hopes to make its own contribution to education.In addition to developing an easy-to-understand programming language, Apple has also designed related free courses to reduce the pressure on teachers to prepare lessons.Cook believes that “programming is the most important second language in every country in the world, or it can be said that programming is the only global common language.” Interview with Cook is not difficult to see Apple’s attitude towards innovation.The innovations that many manufacturers understand are from scratch; and the innovation that Apple understands is from nothing, and can actually improve the user experience.Apple’s understanding of innovation has also kept pace with the development of new products.Apple has begun to develop the face ID of iPhone X when the iPhone 5 is released. When the iPhone 6s was released, it has already begun to develop the iPhone. 11. I don’t know which model of the future machine has officially started a new round of research and development after the release of the iPhone 11..The following is the complete record of Tencent News Conversation Apple CEO Cook: Tencent News: After the conference, I made a quick experience on the new products released today. Compared with the update of the previous products, I feel that this time the upgrade of the iPhone is very strong.Big, for the new iPhone 11, what has Apple done in the past few years?Can you share some behind-the-scenes stories?Cook: There are so many.Apple’s innovation cycle has been a long time.For the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro, we have been preparing for the past three or four years.So if you see the processor (A13), its GPU, and the complexity of the A13 bionic chip, we started doing this work about three and a half years ago.For the long-term preparation study of machine learning, let us see the results of the A13 bionic chip is very amazing.In addition to this, there is a camera. The camera function is actually a good integration of software and hardware. Only then can we achieve such a photo performance that we saw this morning.These results can’t be achieved within a year, and usually take years of effort to achieve.Tencent News: The slogan written by Apple at the invitation to the conference is “Innovation”. The iPhone has always brought many exciting innovations to users.But now we can also see that the world’s major smartphone manufacturers are innovating in their products, and the competition in the field of innovation is becoming increasingly fierce.How does Apple continue to achieve higher levels of innovation?Is the change in appearance an innovation?Because I see a lot of users who think that changing the appearance of the phone when buying a mobile phone is more recognizable.Cook: Although Apple has a lot of differences, there are two things that are different. The first is that Apple provides software, hardware, and services at the same time. So, the integration and integration between the three can be achieved.A good experience is an intuitive and easy to use experience.For example, the camera we just mentioned is also the same, because the software and hardware, as well as the integration of services, can achieve the current camera effect.In this industry, some manufacturers can build operating systems, some are responsible for mobile phone chips, and some other manufacturers are manufacturing mobile phones.So for these vendors, there is no way to truly integrate these three directions, thus providing users with a better experience.This is also the biggest difference between an apple.The second point is that if we look at the core technologies behind the iPhone, such as chips, I believe that everyone has seen a chart today, whether it is CPU or GPU, we are leading the industry for several years.This is also a result of our decision-making many years ago. You can see one direction that our team decided, because we saw at the time that if we really want to play the power of the mobile phone, we need to integrate all of these things.together.I think there are many differences between Apple, but these two are the most important differences between Apple.Tencent News: Just mentioned is innovation, but many consumers see “new”, especially for the new look.I want to ask Apple, is the new look not an innovation for Apple?Cook: Innovation is not necessarily a change. Innovation is actually about doing something better.So, if the change in appearance can make the function better, or the feel will be better, or make the phone size better, the appearance change can bring a lot of changes, so if it can be better, thisIt has reached our goal.However, if we say that it is only for change, we think it is not right.Because if you change only for the sake of change, it is equivalent to dispersing the energy that is focused together, and such an energy can be used as a true innovation.But now, it has lost the focus of attention, in order to make a difference.Tencent News: We have noticed that more and more Chinese consumers think that the price of the iPhone is too high. They like the iPhone very much, but because the economic ability can only be relegated to the next, or to choose other manufacturers’ mobile phones.Is there any way for Apple to let more Chinese consumers experience the latest iPhone?Cook: We hope that more and more users will experience and enjoy our iPhone. For the Chinese market, we have made many efforts in the past few months.The first of these is trade in – the redemption plan, which is carried out in our retail stores.Users can bring their old mobile phones to the Apple store, and then get subsidies through this program, thus reducing the price of buying mobile phones; in addition, in the Chinese market, we also implemented the installment payment program, for many product purchases, we can supportPayments are paid for 24 months and are zero interest.So if we put all of these programs together, for example, trade in the redemption, and then use the two-year zero interest payment, so in fact, you count, you have to pay very little every month.We have seen a significant increase in iPhone sales in China through such a purchase plan.This is also an important way for us to make the iPhone price more intimate.In addition, we also see today that the iPhone 11 is selling at a lower price than when the iPhone XR was first launched.What we are doing is to make it possible for as many users as possible to experience the iPhone.Tencent News: Apple opened the second world in China in July, the first design and development accelerator in China, giving Chinese developers a communication environment and a growth ground.We all know that Apple’s headquarters is in the United States, so why is the design development accelerator going to be earlier in China?Cook: We are very excited about the development of the developer community that we have seen in China.There are many entrepreneurs in China who want to be able to develop applications in the Chinese market while also gaining access to a larger international market.One thing we can do is to help Chinese developers enter the international market, in addition to giving developers better development tools.This is especially important for us, and it is also very important for developers. In particular, many Chinese developers may only think of the Chinese market at first, and we hope that they also have the opportunity to face the international.We really don’t have a design development accelerator in the US.However, in the United States, many of our universities have already offered courses in the Swift language. This course will teach you how to program. Students can use this course to integrate with their future entrepreneurship. So, no.The reason for establishing a design development accelerator in the United States is that there is already an existing foundation in the United States that we can use.So in China, we feel that we can make some contributions in such a meaningful way.However, the capacity of one of our companies is still limited, so I also hope to see more people involved and let this scale continue to expand.Tencent News: Why are Chinese developers so valued?What is the difference compared to developers in other parts of the world?Cook: In China, when many developers think about problems, they first think of the mobile side, which is mobile priority.For many other countries, they think more about the desktop.I know this may sound unbelievable, but there are many other countries like this.Many of China’s mechanisms are completely different from other countries, such as speed and efficiency.For a specific example, in countries other than China, I have not seen a barber who can come to your home to help you trim your hair. I have never seen other countries outside China to develop the sharing economy.So fast.Therefore, there are many cases in which we see that China is producing a lot of emerging industries and then pushing such a trend to other parts of the world.I think one reason for the rapid development is that Chinese developers regard mobile as the primary area of ​​thinking.When we talk about the mobile side, we will find that there are not so many burdens in China.For example, mobile payment has achieved great success in China.Many other countries still have a hard time developing mobile payment. Like many consumers in the United States, they are still very accustomed to using traditional credit cards. Therefore, out of habit, each time they pay, they directly pull out a credit card.Instead of a mobile phone to make a payment.So I think China is in a very unique position.We can see that many of the trends that have risen in China have been very successful, and in China, the ecology and experience of the computer side is not an old burden.In addition to this, China’s entrepreneurial spirit is very strong, and these two factors combine to have good results.Tencent News: I participated in many activities of Apple before. For example, Todayat Apple invited children from left-behind children’s schools to learn programming. For example, Apple will organize workers in the supply chain to learn programming. As a technology commercial company, why should we promote programming??Isn’t this supposed to be something the school is doing?Cook: We believe that a company must take on more responsibilities than just pursue profits.We want to help some countries. For example, for China, we discovered that environmental protection is a very important issue a few years ago, so we began to improve the environmental protection of the supply chain, while Apple implemented renewable energy utilization in its factories in China.For education, we actually have a long history, about 40 years.We believe that every school in the world should learn programming, because programming is the most important second language for every country in the world, or it can be said that programming is the only common language in the world.So we started to think about what kind of contribution we can make in this respect, so we designed a programming language, we hope that everyone can use this language as easily as our products, Swift language is out of thisThe purpose was born.In addition to the language itself, we have also designed related courses.Because many school teachers have done a lot of work every day, they have no way to create or design new courses.Therefore, we have targeted all aspects of the curriculum from pre-school to higher education and vocational education, and then have done this related programming course, and then provide this course for free.For us, this is really not a commercial act. It is a business. We feel that this is a thing to do. We hope to make a contribution by providing these courses and a simpler programming language.Tencent News: The hottest topic in the technology industry is 5G.Many Android phone manufacturers in China have released a number of 5G phones, and the price is not as expensive as previously expected.Apple users who are used to the iOS system are also looking forward to using the iPhone that supports 5G as soon as possible. How will Apple convince consumers to choose a non-5G version of the iPhone after the arrival of 5G?Cook: I think that (5G) is still a bit ahead.We have studied the market and found that the entire market, whether it is infrastructure or chips, is not mature enough to launch a high-quality product.Apple has changed from 2G products to 3G products, and then from 3G products to 4G products. Every time the product is transformed, some people say that Apple should be faster and earlier.However, Apple’s goal is never to grab the first, Apple’s goal is to do the best, and you want to do your best, you need the technical field to enter a stable period.Now many countries will launch 4G+, and even one operator in the United States has launched 5GE services.If we can make the best use of 4G network speed, in fact, you will find that there is still a lot of potential to explore and improve under 4G.So in the iPhone just released this year, we went to do this, I believe that everyone can feel these links in the future use.The 5G potential is huge, but there are still many issues to solve.(Tencent News Sun Shi and Wu Bin also contributed to this article).