Apple CEO Tim Cook addressed a meeting of Apple’s shareholders yesterday, and some of what he had to say offers some interesting hints of things to come. Cook began by noting that this was the first shareholder meeting since the death of Steve Jobs, and used part of the time to pay homage to Jobs and the way his death had impacted Apple as a company.
Journalists from several news outlets were allowed to view the meeting (though not to sit in), and have published some of Cook’s remarks. Though he naturally did not go into specifics, Cook said that Apple is “working as hard as ever this year,” and that the coming year would see Apple release “some products that will blow your mind.” When one shareholder asked if he should return his recently-bought LG TV within the 60-day return window, Cook declined to comment. Apple has long been thought to be working on an iTV, and rumors of the device have grown stronger in recent months.
When asked whether Facebook was “friend or foe,” Cook replied that the social networking giant was a friend. He noted that a huge number Apple’s users are also Facebook users, and suggested that “the two companies could do more together,” noting that Twitter integration in iOS and the forthcoming OS X Mountain Lion had been “great for Twitter,” as well as Apple’s users. Two years ago, when Apple was preparing to launch iOS 4 along with the iPhone 4, the company was rumored to be in talks with Facebook to add OS-level Facebook integration to the iPhone. Those talks apparently fell through, leading Apple to integrate Twitter instead. In January iOS developers found references to Facebook in the beta version of iOS 5.1, leading many to believe that iOS 5.1, likely to launch with the iPad 3 in March, will include Facebook integration. Cook’s comments don’t quite confirm that Apple is working toward Facebook integration, but the do strongly imply it.
Cook was also asked what Apple intended to do with it’s $100 billion cash stockpile. Without going into specifics, he said that the company has been “thinking about cash very deeply,” and wanted to take care in making decisions as to what to do with it, so as to best serve Apple’s shareholders. When asked whether Apple had considered using the money to buy a content-generation company - a music label or a movie studio - Cook noted that Apple hadn’t needed its own music label for its accomplishments in the music industry, and that Apple’s focus would continue to be on devices and content delivery (i.e., the iTunes store), rather than on content generation.
Finally, Cook was enthusiastic about Apple’s recent forays into education with the launch of iBooks 2 and the company's e-textbook initiative. He noted that Apple has given nearly a billion dollars - either in discounts or equipment - in 2011.