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Tim Cook: Apple products aren’t just for the rich

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In interview CEO says Apple isn’t a ‘high-margin’ company on eve of the launch of what’s expected to be its first $1,000 smartphone, the iPhone X.

Apple’s Tim Cook has given a rare wide-ranging interview in which he defends the company’s record of expensive products, subtly rebukes Google for its lack of respect for users’ privacy, and reveals that Steve Jobs once spent $10m on creating an iPad textbook just to show he could.

Speaking to Fortune Magazine, Cook said that he felt the company’s reputation for expensive products was over-emphasised, noting that wouldn’t use the word “high-margin” to describe Apple.

“There’s a lot of companies that have much higher margins. We price for the value of our products. And we try to make the very best products. And that means we don’t make commodity kind of products. And we don’t disparage people that do; it’s a fine business model. But it’s not the business that we’re in,” Cook said.

“If you look across our product lines, you can buy an iPad today for under $300. You can buy an iPhone, depending upon which one you select, for in that same kind of ballpark. And so these are not for the rich. We obviously wouldn’t have over a billion products that are in our active installed base if we were making them for the rich because that’s a sizeable number no matter who’s looking at the numbers,” he added.

Cook’s words may appear oddly timed, given the expectation that Apple will launch its most expensive iPhone yet, believed to be called the iPhone X, at a press event on Tuesday. The phone will likely cost at least $1,000 in the US, compared to rivals like Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8, which is selling for $929.

Cook also used the interview to hammer home Apple’s long-running message that it, and only it, is a technology firm dedicated to preserving users’ privacy.

“We try to advocate for people’s privacy because we are living in a world where technology can do lots of things, but there’s things that it shouldn’t do. And so we try very hard to protect people’s privacy and security and hopefully keep some of these bad things at bay for them,” he said.

In its 10 years of existence, the iPhone has never had a major malware outbreak, a fact noted by security experts on the smartphone line’s 10th anniversary, and something Cook was keen to capitalise on.

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