Apple CEO Tim Cook Dishes on iPad, Steve Jobs, Patents and Siri

As expected, Apple CEO Tim Cook didn’t reveal much in the way of product news in a lengthy interview at AllThingsD’s D10 Conference, but he did share some interesting insights into the iPad, Steve Jobs, patents and Siri.

Reflecting on what he called the absolute saddest days of his life when Steve Jobs died, Cook says the Apple co-founder taught him that “focus is key,” adding that “Apple has a culture of excellence that is so unique and so special. I’m not going to witness or permit the change of it.”

Cook continues: “(Jobs) also taught me that the joy is in the journey, which is a revelation for me. And I think he taught all of us that life is fragile.”

Earlier on Cook talked about the iPad with wonder and awe. “I’ve never seen a product in technology that consumers loved pretty instantly, and business loved, and education loved, and people of all ages loved. iPad has just been unbelievable. It’s been a knockout and I think we’re in the first inning of it.”

In reiterating his long-held belief that tablets will eventually surpass the PC market, Cook explained why Apple is determined to not lump the two device categories together.

“Products are about trade offs and you have to make tough decisions. You have to choose. The more you look at a tablet as a PC, the more the baggage from the past affects the product,” he says.

Calling the recent patent wars a “pain in the ass,” Cook says: ”No one should be able to get an injunction off a standards-essential patent because the owner of the patent has the responsibility to license it on a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory manner.”

He also held firm to Apple’s stance on innovation: “From our point of view, it’s important that Apple not be the developer for the world. We can’t take all of our energy and all of our care and finish the painting and have someone else put their name on it.”

When pressed on the perceived weaknesses and beta nature of Siri, Cook barely flinched. “It’s one of the most popular features of iPhone 4S,” he said. “But, there’s more that it can do and we have a lot of people working on this, and I think you’ll be really pleased about some of the things you’ll see over the coming months… I think you’re going to be really happy with where it’s going.”

In terms of news, Cook kept a tight lid on Apple’s plans, but he did say the company plans to collaborate more closely with Facebook.

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