updated 04:55 pm EST, Tue February 14, 2012
Apple chief says Amazon price may not keep users
Apple chief Tim Cook's turn at Goldman Sachs' technology conference saw him at once pragmatic and critical of Amazon's Kindle Fire. He suspected that Amazon both had and would "sell a lot of units" and that it may have carved out a niche, since it was "different kind of competitor" with different advantages. However, he disputed the idea that the $199 price was the only factor and suggested that some buyers might be soured on the Kindle Fire and its kind after using it.
"People feel great when they pay from their wallet, but when they get home and use [the tablet], the joy is gone," Cook said, adding that they might "hate it."
Partly touching on points made in January, the CEO contended that Apple wasn't aiming for the same audience, and its types "won't be satisfied" with limited devices. "We're pushing the next frontier," he said.
The Kindle Fire is sold at a loss on the assumption content will make up for the price. Besides its screen size, it cuts the price through screen quality, a small 8GB of storage, and absences of cameras and even hardware volume controls.
The impact of tablets as a whole was outlined in both practical and personal terms by Cook. Apple had gone from taking 22 years to reach 55 million Macs to just two for the iPad, and that was having a meaningful impact. Everyone from Cook's mother to his seven-year-old nephew had an iPad, and he personally was using an iPad for "80 to 90 percent" of both content consumption and work.
He painted a somewhat exaggerated picture of app development to show the contrast in interests and direction for the desktop versus iOS. Where "every inch" of the conference would be full if iOS developers would be invited, the same couldn't be said for the desktop. "If you invited all the cool PC developers to a meeting here [at the conference]... you wouldn't have anyone in the room," he said.