Apple is on the defensive. In a recent interview with the Wall St. Journal Apple CEO Tim Cook talked about the stock price drop after the recent quarterly earnings report and the new product categories Apple has in its pipeline that are coming this year. All well and good, but historically CEOs don’t give those kind of interviews unless they are on a defensive footing. In the interview, Cook revealed that Apple has repurchased $14 billion of its own stock in the last two weeks. Apple has now repurchased $40 billion worth of its own stock in the last 12 months. According to Cook, this means “we’re betting on Apple” and that “we’re really confident” in future plans.
Apple’s stock took a nose dive after its last earnings report. While Apple set records for iPhone sales and profits, it did not meet analyst expectations. When that happens stocks often tumble. Cook says Apple was “surprised” at the downturn. In the world of big tech and expectations it is all about judging what you did yesterday measured against what you will do tomorrow. With everyone wanting the next big thing and continued performance from the current product pipeline, Apple has distinct challenges to meet. As a part of the interview, Tim Cook said that Apple was surprised by the stock downturn and without giving anything away. promised new product categories this year.
There will be new categories. We’re not ready to talk about it, but we’re working on some really great stuff. Cook said that anyone “reasonable” would consider what Apple unveils to be new product categories. Of course no specifics were offered.
Apple is widely thought to be readying a smart watch, and from recent reports and rumors, the still mythical device may use sensors for health and fitness reporting. Apple is also thought to be preparing to enter the mobile payments market as well as have changes and new plans for its Apple TV or a TV product.
In the wake of declining iPhone sales, Cook slightly shifted Apple’s mantra that it isn’t worried about selling the most products in any category but instead creating the best products in that category.
I don’t view that as being satisfied with being small or however you want to define it,” he said. “I just want to say that the macro thing for us is making a great product and we must do that. If we can’t do that, we’re not going to force ourselves to hit a price point that makes us produce a product that we’re not proud of because we lose who we are in that. We’re not going to do that.
Cook also said “In the other places where we are number two, I’d rather be number one. And you can bet that we’re working on that.” From the sound of things, “reasonable” people would be led to believe that Apple is slightly worried about the expectations game and keeping analysts and its competitors guessing.