“The most important thing to Apple is to make the best products in the world that enrich customers’ lives. That’s our high order bit. That means that we aren’t interested in revenue for revenue’s sake. We can put the Apple brand on a lot of things and sell a lot more stuff, but that’s not what we’re here for. We want to make only the best products.”
Tim Cook, on Apple’s Q1 2013 earnings call
This line bothered me the first time Cook used it, and it’s still grating on me.
1. The best is so boring. “The best” is just a few steps ahead of average. Why not aspire to perfect? Why not aspire to change the world?
2. The generic “products” feels really bland. Unlike so many others, apple.com doesn’t have a Products section. It has Mac, iPhone, and iPad sections. These were implicitly above being called “products”, and it always felt like they deserved to be exceptions.
3. I feel like there’s some clarity lacking here. As a teenager, I loved Apple for embracing creators. Today, Apple bends technology to serve people. That essence of transforming impossibly complex engineering into a magical human experience seems missing from Cook’s words.
Tim Cook is undoubtably brilliant, but I miss Steve’s voice. Interestingly, I don’t think I can even recall Steve trying to sum up Apple like this.
EDIT: David Chartier found Jobs using a very close description – granted he’s alliterating ”best” vs “biggest”. I’d still love to see Tim Cook find a better line than “best products”, or at least stop throwing it around so much. Josh also makes a great point:
It’s fitting that Steve Jobs used “best” also to describe what he wanted from Apple – because “best” implies competition and reality and Jobs was a cutthroat Machevellian competitor as well as a creator.