Ahead of Apple’s iPhone 8 and iPhone X event tomorrow, Tim Cook sat down for an interesting interview with Adam Lashinsky of Fortune. Though the interview doesn’t provide us with anything nearly as tantalizing as the iPhone X leaks we saw over the weekend, it does give us even more insight into Tim Cook’s views on a varied number of topics, including the environment, human rights, and the misplaced narrative that the iPhone is becoming far too expensive.
When asked about Apple’s affinity for healthy margins and high-priced products, Cook, interestingly enough, fought back a little bit.
Well it’s not high margin. I wouldn’t use that word. 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.
I have no doubt that Tim Cook firmly believes this, but it’s a tough point to sell. The reality is that Apple’s entire history has been predicated on selling premium products at a premium price. And sure, some companies do enjoy higher margins than Apple, but in the smartphone space where Apple derives the bulk of its revenue, most — if not all — handset manufacturers are envious of the margins Apple has enjoyed with the iPhone over the last 10 years.
Cook later added that Apple’s products aren’t exclusively for the rich.
But 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 sizable number no matter who’s looking at the numbers.
It’s a reasonable point, to be fair. While some might scoff at the notion that Apple doesn’t create products for the rich, the reality is that Apple in recent years has done a better job of making iPhones affordable to everyone. Of course, you’re going to have to pay a pretty penny if you want an iPhone with Apple’s most advanced technologies, but picking up older iPhone models has long been affordable to more cost-conscious consumers.
All the same, it’d be tough to make a similar argument for other devices in Apple’s product line, specifically the company’s line of rather pricey laptops and desktops.
The entire interview is worth checking out as it features Cook chat about the App Store, Apple’s ongoing efforts in the health space, the company’s stance on privacy and more.