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Tim Cook says Apple could have made a bigger iPhone 'years ago'

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Apple CEO tells Charlie Rose the company's just been patient

Apple CEO Tim Cook says the company could have made a larger iPhone long ago, but didn't, choosing instead to wait and make what it now considers a better product.

"We could have done a larger iPhone years ago," Cook told Charlie Rose in an interview that airs later today on PBS. "It's never been about just making a larger phone ... it's been about making a better phone in every single way. And so we ship things when they're ready, and we think that both the display technology here, the battery technology, but all — but everything else and the software."

There are 400-500 components on the Apple Watch chip

Cook says the same adage was in place for things like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, and how the company now views its next product — the Apple Watch. Cook noted that the product is arriving later than smartwatches from other companies, but represents Apple's first attempt at combining 400-500 components in a single chip. "There is a computer on a chip in here. You know, it's the first one we've ever done," he said.

Even so, Apple's own internal documents that were brought to light as part of the legal battle between Apple and Samsung earlier this year, tell a different story. "Consumers want what we don't have," said the top of a slide from the company's 2014 off-site planning meeting dated April 2013, that referred to the growth not only from smartphones that cost less than $300, but also with screens 4-inches and larger. The strongest consumer demand was "coming from less expensive and larger screen smartphones," said another. It wasn't until this week that Apple responded, with the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which are 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches respectively.

The larger iPhone tidbit was one of many in a wide-ranging interview with Rose that airs later tonight, the transcript of which has been viewed by The Verge. Three clips already posted from the interview include Cook discussing the Beats acquisition, Steve Jobs, and the future of Apple TV. Some others:

  • On iCloud security, Cook said "it wasn't hacked," instead calling it "a phishing expedition." He added that the company is trying "bring more awareness to these schemes."
  • Cook says that he "didn't see it coming" that Steve Jobs would pick him to be Apple's CEO at that particular moment. "He had talked to me about being CEO before. And so, I always knew it was his long-term thinking," Cook added.
  • Cook views Google as Apple's top competition. When pressed why it wasn't Samsung, Cook notes that it's Google that supplies Android to Samsung, and others.
  • Amazon's Fire phone gets a diss. "They've come up with a phone," Cook tells Rose. "You don't see it in a lot of places."
  • Despite the report that Apple's looking to acquire Path, Cook says flatly that the company has "no plans to be in the social networking area," and has chosen to integrate services like Facebook and Twitter instead.
  • Always the promiser, Cook says that Apple's working on "blow-away" products that nobody knows about, and that "haven't been rumored about yet."

Tonight is just part one of the interview. The second half airs Monday.


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