Tim Cook outlines vision of post-PC world

Apple usually lets its products do the talking. But to kick off Wednesday’s iPad launch event, Apple CEO Tim Cook took to the stage to outline his company’s vision for what he calls the post-PC world and where Apple’s tablet fits into that world.

You can watch Apple’s event in its entirety via streaming video. But we’ve transcribed some of Cook’s comments on Apple’s strategy and excerpted them below, so that you can see how the newly unveiled iPad fits into the overall vision outlined by Apple’s top executive.

When we’re talking about the post-PC world, we’re talking about a world where the PC is no longer the center of your digital world, but rather just the device. We’re talking about a world where your new device, the devices you use the most, need to be more portable, more personal, and dramatically easier to use than any PC has ever been.

At Apple, we have three blockbuster post-PC products. The iPod reinvented the music player and changed the way people listened to music and played games. The iPhone reinvented the phone and changed all of our expectations of what a phone could be and how easy and fun it should be. The iPad—the revolutionary device that defined a whole new category. In many ways, the iPad is reinventing portable computing and is outstripping the wildest of predictions.

Apple’s strengths

Now, any company would be thrilled to have just one of these devices. At Apple, we’re fortunate to have all three, and the momentum has been staggering. Last year alone, we sold 172 million post-PC devices, and this made up 76 per cent of our revenues. This is incredible. Apple has its feet firmly planted in the post-PC future. Part of the reason for this is that the things that make a great post-PC company are the things that Apple has been about for many years. It plays to our strengths; it’s what we love to do.

Let me give you a few examples. Our retail stores. Our retail stores provide the best buying experience and the best customer service anywhere. And while that’s important for a buyer of a Macintosh, in some ways it’s even more important for a buyer of an iPad or an iPhone or another post-PC device because these devices are new to many people. There needs to be a place to discover them, to learn about them before they are purchased, and learn how to get the most out of them after they’re purchased.…

Another key element of our post-PC success is iOS, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system and the easiest to use by far. iPhone, iPad, [and] iPod touch are all based on iOS, and we have now sold an astonishing 315 million devices through last year, and 62 million just last quarter.…

Now you can’t talk about the post-PC world without talking about the App Store. The App Store is the place to go to discover and download applications that make your devices even more usable and more personal. We have almost 600,000 apps in the App Store. This is an amazing number and is an amazing virtuous cycle: Great apps, lead to more downloads, lead to more great apps, which leads to more downloads. In fact, just a few days ago a lucky customer in China downloaded the 25 billionth app. 25 billion! This is a mind-boggling number that we couldn’t even have imagined when we launched the App Store just a few years earlier.

Another key part of the post-PC experience is iCloud. Of course, iCloud keeps all of your content in sync across all of your devices. Take a photo using the camera of your iPhone and boom—it’s pushed automatically and wirelessly to your Mac, your iPad, or even your Apple TV. It’s simple, it’s elegant, it’s automatic, it just works. And in just a few months, we’ve gotten over 100 million customers of iCloud.

Where the iPad fits in

That brings us to iPad. We think that iPad is the poster child of the post-PC world. The momentum behind iPad has been incredible and has surprised virtually everyone. We sold almost 15.5 million iPads just last quarter alone. To put this in some context, we sold more iPads in the fourth quarter of last year than any PC manufacturer sold of their entire PC line worldwide. We think this gives you an indication of the potential of this product.

But it’s not just about the numbers. iPad is showing up everywhere in the daily lives of people—in their work lives, in their play lives, all around the world in tens of millions of people. And perhaps PCWorld said it best: “The iPad is so ubiquitous, and so entwined in mainstream culture already, that it is hard to imagine a time without it.” This is a product that is less than two years old. 

When we set out to create the iPad, we set out to create not just a new product, but a new category. And we said that in order to do that, the iPad had to be the best device for doing some of the things that you do most often—things like browsing the Web or checking email. Now, this is a tall order. But when we asked the iPad users, they told us that’s exactly what we had done. When we asked iPad users who had a notebook, a desktop, and a smartphone their favorite device for email, they responded “iPad.” For browsing the web, they responded “iPad.” We asked iPad users who also had an e-reader what their favorite device was for reading books—they overwhelmingly said “iPad.” We asked iPad users who also had a portable gaming device, and even a gaming console, their favorite device for playing games. Their response? iPad. In fact, for so many activities, they responded iPad. This is incredible when you remember that this device has been on the market for less than two years.

Now, part of the reason is the incredible bundled apps with iPad, and the over 200,000 apps that have been custom-built to take advantage of the big, beautiful multi-touch screen. These apps are gorgeous and ground breaking. They help you create, or learn, or do almost anything. Great educational apps, like Solar Walk, business apps like Stock Touch, incredible games like Infinity Blade. You won’t find these incredible apps on other tablets. In fact, and in some estimations there are over 100 competitive tablets that came to market just last year. You won’t find that great experience. 

Let me give you some examples. This is a Twitter app on a Samsung tablet running on Android. Now, you can see it’s pretty basic, it kind of looks like a blown up smartphone app. That’s because that’s exactly what it is. Compare that to Twitter running on iPad. You can view the tweets, you can see web pages and photos and videos that are mentioned in the tweet on the big, beautiful screen. And here it is for Yelp. You know, it looks like a stretched out smartphone app. Lots of white space, tiny text, its kind of hard to see. Compare that to Yelp running on the iPad: clearly designed to take advantage of the large canvas. This is a key reason why momentum on iPad continues to build and the competitive tablets aren’t gaining traction. 

The new iPad and beyond

With the amazing new iPad, a new affordable price for the very popular iPad 2, and amazing software like iPhoto and the rest of the iLife and iWork Suite, we have redefined—once again—the category that Apple created just two years ago with the original iPad.

I hope you can see why we believe the iPad has enormous potential, and is the ultimate poster-child of the post-PC world. I’d like to thank all of those employees at Apple and everyone who supports apple for making today possible. It’s the privilege of a lifetime for me to work with so many innovative people, the most innovative on Earth. Now, only Apple could deliver this kind of innovation in such a beautiful, integrated, and easy to use way. It’s what we love to do. It’s what we stand for. And across the year, you’re going to see a lot more of this kind of innovation. We are just getting started.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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