Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, doesn't have his head stuck in the sand. He's aware of the company's stock slide. He's aware of Android's popularity, but he's not particularly worried about anything more than creating great products. That was the word yesterday from Cook's talk at the Wall Street Journal's D: All Things Digital conference, which was posted online.
Cook directly addressed Android's continuing popularity and increasing market share, saying that Apple has always favored quality over quantity. Cook quoted metrics on usage and customer satisfaction from various sources that he felt showed that iOS devices are in fact being used more overall than Android devices.
"There were twice as many eCommerce transactions on iPad than all Android devices combined," Cook said, citing an IBM eCommerce study that tracked mobile purchases on Black Friday. Cook said he thinks there are a lot of Android tablets sold that deliver a poor user experience and as a result are not used often after purchase.
According to the most recent numbers from ComScore, Android ranked as the top smartphone platform in the first quarter in the United States with 52 percent market share (71.1 million subscribers), while Apple’s share increased 2.7 percentage points to 39 percent (53.3 million subscribers).
On the issue of offering iPhone users a wider variety of devices, Cook said stressed Apple's continued focus on making a great product.
"It takes a lot of really detailed work to do a phone right, when you manage the hardware, the software and the services around it," Cook said. "We've put our energy in getting those right and have made the choices in order to do that. We haven't become defocused in developing different lines."
Apple's strategy with the iPhone has been to drop the price of previous models as newer models are launched. Apple has seen a lot of criticism recently in light of larger and cheaper Android phones. Cook said those kinds of features come at a cost.
"A large screen today comes with a lot of trade-offs. People clearly are looking at the size. But they also look at things like do the photos show the right color," Cook said, noting that larger screens have an effect on things like battery life and longevity of the device itself. "What our customers want is for us to weigh those and come out with a decision."
Cook was also asked for his opinion of Google Glass, which he said was interesting but didn't have broad appeal. Cook did call the “wearables” market a “profoundly interesting” one. Apple has been rumored to be working on a wristwatch product that could possibly pair with other iOS devices.
Cook’s talk comes just ahead of Apple’s annual June developer conference, where the company has traditionally unveiled the next iteration of iOS. The wristwatch device, along with a possible streaming music service, as well as a new Apple TV product have all been rumored for that event.
The company’s stock was trading up about a point to $445.62 in early trading Wednesday. That’s down from $705 in September. Cook said the drop has been frustrating for both the company and investors. Cook called the drop “frustrating” for both Apple and its investors.