CBS’ 60 Minutes with Apple: here are the important and most curious bits

23 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5 of the most important details we’ve learnt about Apple’s products.

On a recent episode of 60 Minutes, anchor Charlie Rose had the chance to meet with Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, along with several other key members of his team as they spoke about various aspects of the company. TV viewers in the US will get a sneak peek at Apple’s plans for the future this Sunday when 60 Minutes’ Charlie Rose visits the company’s headquarters.

Should we ever stumble upon the rumoured Apple Car before its time, we’d imagine being bundled into a pure white van with unmarked licence plates and whisked away to a perfectly spotlit (no garish fluorescent lighting, please) plain white room with zero connectivity to the outside world until after its official launch.The special, pieced togetether from interviews conducted over the past few months since September’s iPhone announcement, started off with a discussion of the company’s transition to Cook from co-founder Steve Jobs. Most interestingly, Rose had unprecedented face time with many areas of that have until now been inaccessible to all but a handful of people intimately involved in the creation their genre-defining products. Rose will visit Jony Ive’s “secret” design studio, and will take a tour of the “Apple’s store of the future,” guided by Apple retail head Angela Ahrendts. At the outset when the mandatory question about Steve Jobs was asked, Tim Cook said, “I’ve never met anyone on the face of the earth like him before.” “Who had this incredible, uncanny ability to see around the corner; who had this relentless driving force for perfection,” he continued.

While the show isn’t likely to reveal a mockup for the next iPhone, it should give a rare insight into the studio in which Apple veteran Ive designs Apple’s products — at a time when Apple’s most recent designs have come in for criticism. It was born that way.” Rose was able to attend the pre-game of Apple’s weekly Monday morning executive meeting, though Apple expectedly declined to have the actual proceedings recorded.

Any Apple device ever created can be traced back in that design studio; from the very first iPod and of course the iPhone. “This great room is the one place in the company where you can look around and see everything we have in the works,” the design studio’s head Jony Ive said. Ahrendts, meanwhile, a recent hire from British fashion label Burberry, is shown walking through a prototype Apple Store that’s exemplifies the company’s new retail design language: spacious interior with high ceilings, paneled lighting, wall graphics, and thick wooden shelves and tables. If that doesn’t blow your mind, consider this: the tiny camera module comprises of 200 different individual parts and goes through 24 billion operations to take one shot.

Alongside Cook, executives like CDO Jony Ive, content chief Eddy Cue, marketing and App Store head Phill Schiller, newly appointed COO Jeff Williams, and others gathered around a large wooden table to discuss strategy. Though the upcoming episode will reveal details on how Apple creates its products, it’s safe to assume that audiences won’t get any look at any upcoming new products like the much-rumoured iPhone 6c or the Watch 2. His spirit will always be the DNA of this company.” The meeting with Jony Ive–considered to be the most important person at Apple today–happened within the Apple Design Studio; a room marked by black cloth shrouding what lay under apparently huge work tables.

Ive’s team consists of 22 designers, all of whom understandably operate as a very tightly-knit unit: over the course of the last decade-and-a-half, only two have departed. Ive showed off sketches and electronic blueprints of the initial Apple Watch prototype and demonstrated how the aluminum case was made from a CNC machine. “All of these things, I think, in aggregate, if we manage to get them right, you sense that it’s an authenticate, really thoughtfully conceived object,” Ive said.

The two that were chosen were those that ‘felt right’; not just in the tactile sense, but in the sense that they felt right emotionally–clearly a belief that courses through the design of every Apple product. In referencing the iPhones, Ive said that these products represented just the tip of the iceberg, that the different textures “considerably impact your perception of the product.” In the case of the Apple Watch, from sketching the prototype to designing an accurate 3D mesh using CAD software to creating highly precise models of the products using CNC machines, the entire process is overlooked by Apple’s design team which includes testing materials and colors that would finally make it to the product. With the new store design, imagined in collaboration with Ive, Ahrendts is attempting to create a dynamic experience that actively shows off Apple’s latest wares.

Apple pays every tax dollar we owe,” Cook said. “We pay more taxes in this country than anyone.” The CBS’ 60 Minutes featuring the interview with Tim Cook and Jony Ive, and the tour of Apple’s industrial design studio will be aired at 7:30 PM Eastern. Speaking of the camera used in Apple’s iPhones, Graham Townsend, Director of Camera Hardware, revealed the camera assembly comprises over 200 individual parts, all occupying an area roughly the size of a coat button. The episode will also feature an interview with the tech giant’s retail chief Angela Ahrendts and will give further details regarding what people can expect from the company’s future retail stores. Alluding to the phone’s processing power, he revealed, “24 billion operations go into the taking of a single photo.” Interestingly, when asked about whether Apple’s successive products ran the risk of cannibalizing the sales of their predecessors, Phil Schiller, Apple’s Head of Marketing, said, “It’s not a danger, it’s almost by design. Device cannibalization is “almost by design,” he said. “The iPhone has to become so great that you don’t know why you want an iPad,” Schiller said. “The iPad has to be so great that you don’t know why you want a notebook.

All you have to do is look at the perfectly aligned ports and grille located at the base of the iPhone to comprehend the insane attention to detail in design. No sales figures were shared but when asked if the Watch was a product that needed improvement, Cook punted: “I think all products need improvement. And I think the Watch is no exception to that.” The second part of the interview focused on a number of more politically-charged issues Apple has found itself in the middle of for a number of years.

Those include the ongoing privacy debate, including the subject of government backdoors, as well as issues like Apple’s corporate tax burden and its (largely) Chinese manufacturing workforce overseas.

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