Tim Cook on the iPhone’s Future, Content and Coming Out

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s coming out had been in the works for a whole year: Cook told the Washington Post in a wide-ranging interview Monday that he had prepared to come out as gay for about a year before finally taking that step in October of 2014. “Just thinking through what to say, how to say it, where to say it, how to do that in a way that advanced what I was trying to do,” he said.

Cook explained that his decision to come out was prompted by many notes from kids that he had gotten ever since he had taken over the leadership of Apple. Cook’s sexuality had been an open secret for some time, making him a kind of unofficial role model, and giving him some insights into what many gay teenagers were going through. “They were kids who were distraught,” he told the Post. “Some had been pushed out by their families. They thought they couldn’t achieve anything.” By coming out, Cook wanted to signal them that one can be gay and successful, and that it helps to be honest about it.

Cook’s interview with the paper comes at a time of increased scrutiny for Apple. The company has seen two mixed quarters, with iPhone sales declining, and revenue in China becoming a sore spot. Slowing iPhone sales have also prompted questions on whether Apple has any “next big thing” in the works at a time when competitors like Facebook, Google and Amazon openly advance their virtual reality and connected home strategies.

Cook didn’t comment on any future projects, but said that the iPhone as a product was far from dead. “This is still an unbelievable product category to be in, and not just for this quarter, year or for years,” he said. “There is nothing that’s going to replace it in the short term or in the intermediate term either.”

But Apple is clearly going through a transition, with services becoming an ever-larger part of its business. In fact, services revenue surpassed the amount of money Apple makes with selling Macs and Macbooks for the first time earlier this year. Some of this revenue includes subscription fees for Apple Music, and Apple’s increased focus on content and services has also led to increased investments into original content.

Cook mentioned some of those investments during his interview with the Post, including original music video programming and the company’s new show “Planet of the Apps,” but also stressed that Apple may be willing to spend more. “We do view that the future of TV is apps,” he said. “And if there’s a way we can be a catalyst into that happening faster or better, then that would interest us in content.”

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • YouTube Originals A Heist With Markiplier

    YouTube's First Interactive Special Stars Markiplier and Has 31 Possible Endings

    YouTube is diving into interactive entertainment with a new special featuring popular gaming creator Markiplier as a black-clad super-criminal who tries to steal a priceless artifact from the world’s most secure museum. Along the lines of Netflix’s “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,” viewers will control the outcome of the interactive movie, “A Heist With Markiplier.” The first-person [...]

  • Euphoria HBO

    'It's an Explosion': Inside the Rising Costs of Making a Scripted TV Series

    When Apple TV plus launches on Nov. 1, it will do so with what’s arguably the most expensive new-series lineup in TV history. Among the streamer’s initial offerings are the drama “The Morning Show,” bearing a price tag believed to be more than $15 million an episode, and the dystopian sci-fi series “See,” which is [...]

  • Erika Nardini - Barstool Sports

    Listen: Barstool Sports CEO Learns From Digital Media's Past Mistakes

    Long before she became CEO of Barstool Sports, Erika Nardini had a front-row seat to the early days of the internet advertising world and she has no intention of repeating its errors. Over a career that saw stops at AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo and Demand Media, she watched as the digital powerhouses of yesteryear cluttered the [...]

  • Dany Garcia

    Dany Garcia Invests in Privacy-Focused Social Media Service MeWe

    Dany Garcia, CEO of Seven Bucks Productions and founder, CEO and chairwoman of the Garcia Companies and TGC Management, has taken a minority investment in MeWe, a startup that positions itself as a social network rival to Facebook — but one that gives users full control over their own data and privacy. Garcia co-founded Seven [...]

  • Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg Quibi

    Quibi Says It Has Sold Out $150 Million First-Year Ad Inventory

    Nearly six months before Quibi is slated to hit the market, a cluster of large advertisers has committed millions in ad spending to the ambitious — and untested — premium mobile-video brainchild of Jeffrey Katzenberg. Quibi announced that it has sold out its $150 million advertising inventory for the first year. The startup’s category-exclusive ad partners [...]

  • Mackenzie Davis Terminator Dark Fate

    ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Paramount Pictures claims the top spot in spending with “Terminator: Dark Fate.” Ads placed for the sci-fi action film had an estimated media value of $6.81 million through Sunday for 796 national ad airings [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content