Tim Cook says Apple still doesn't care if they cannibalize their own products

Shocker: Apple still doesn't care if they cannibalize their own products

In response to a question asked during Apple's Q1 2013 conference call, Tim Cook once again re-iterated Apple's long-held belief that they'd rather cannibalize their own existing product lines with new product lines than risk a competitor eating into their business. The only twist to the repartee this time was the iPad mini, and what if any affect it might have had on full-sized iPad sales.

Apple's CEO, Tim Cook said Apple continues to see cannibalization as a huge opportunity for Apple, and that any company that fears cannibalizing themselves risks someone else doing it for them. Apple knows the iPhone has cannibalized the iPod, and that the iPad has cannibalized the Mac. Whether or not the iPad mini cannibalizes the iPad maxi, due to supply constraints throughout the quarter, it's tough to tell at this point. However, Cook still believes that the tablet market will eclipse the PC market, and that's one of the reasons they see cannibalization as an opportunity.

Another reason is the halo effect. Apple saw with the iPod that, after a customer had a great experience with one product, they may consider buying another. For Apple, if someone buys and iPad mini or iPad first, the same thing could happen. In fact, Apple is confident of it, and already seeing evidence it will happen.

I've said before, Apple is one of the few companies in the tech industry that doesn't confuse it's products for its business. Instead of fearing change and riding its iPod fortunes into the ground, Apple introduced the iPhone, which rose as the iPod sales started to decline. And the iPad, which rose as PC sales started to decline.

They bet big on what's next. Perhaps at some point they'll misplace a bet, but the only way to win the future is to play for the future.

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Tim Cook says Apple still doesn't care if they cannibalize their own products


After owning the mini, I can say without a doubt that I would never buy an iPad maxi. The portability of this thing and the weight is too great to do that. I've used the iPad 2 and the 3. They don't touch the mini for my uses, bet everyone's different. And options are good.

The only Apple products I own is the iPad Mini and Apple TV. I have no intention of ever getting an iPhone or a Macbook. I've played with an iPhone and it is a horrible interface for a phone. Love my Android phone over an iPhone. And a MacBook is useless to me. I can't run ArcGIS or Civil 3D. Windows 7 PC for me.

With that said an iPad Mini and a Nexus 7 are the only two tablets I want to cover the best of both eco-systems. An Apple TV is great for my second TV for Netflix and Hulu Plus (my primary TV has an Xbox for that).

A horrible interface for a phone? You realize that the iphone and ipad all run the same OS with the most minute differences (ala optimization, etc) right? Definitely a hypocritical comment there.

You do realize that if you knew how to read that I did say it is a horrible interface for a PHONE. Did you bother to ask how I use my phone and tablet differentially? NO!

I use my tablet for very little things. No 1) Work related projects Field Mapping and Field Data Entry using API with ArcGIS. No 2) Web surfing for when I am in the living room. THAT IS IT!

What do I use my phone for? 1) Well I am constantly traveling to clients. I use Google Maps right from my calendar. I can't do that with an iPhone. 2) Since I travel a lot I like having access to my files no matter where I go. Guess what? I plug my phone to my Windows Laptop (if you know how to read, you know why I said Windows). Guess what, I have access on my phone to files from Dropbox, Google Drive, Box and SkyDrive. I just download it to my phone and pick it up from my phone when it is connected to my computer. You see Android has a classic file system, where you can deal with the files anyway you want, using a file manager. iOS doesn’t come with such a feature. Each app has its own environment, and in order to transfer certain files from your computer, you will have to follow an arduous path via iTunes. 3) It's all about choice. I can choose any app on my phone as a default. So if I click on a link I can set ANY browser as a default. I can't do that with iOS. 4) I love that I can place any icon anywhere on my screen. In iOS it acts like Windows 3.1. Everything is lined up to the left. That is "Nails on a Chalk Board" to me. (Yes I am quoting Rene on something stupid he said once) 5) Lastly, Android is extremely customizable. Not in terms of looks but functionality and all without Rooting. Try to do that with iOS without "Jailbreaking".

You see I carry my phone everywhere I go. Can't say that with a tablet. It is just there. Next time don't be so defensive and find out why.

Good day sir.

I realize this is the wrong topic, but do u know how i can get out of a recovery boot loop? I have an ipod touch 4g, iOS 6.1. It was jailed with evasion. All i see is the apple logo. Itunes wont let me restore. Ive tried tiny umbrella. I have redsnow on windows. What can I do? PLEASE help.
over 9000!

Apple always have had read the pulse of the market ahead of it's rivals and they have risked betting on future and till now reaped rewards for developing products that have their own standing in the market segment they operate in ..whether its MAc, or iPod or for that matter Ipad and iPhone...Apple is not only good at creating products but excellent at marketing their products.....thats why they are a trillion dollar company..

Halo effect happened to me. First someone gave me iPad 1, did not know how to use it but I remember I really liked the way Apple presented it when I opened the box. Then I moved on to ipod mini. Then I bought myself an iPhone 4S, three months later I bought myself iPad 3 and 7 months later I bought myself my first 15" MBP.