Tim Cook talks sapphire glass, iRing, gag orders, and how the NSA would have to cart Apple out in boxes...

Tim Cook's segment on ABC news aired last night. Ostensibly about the 30th birthday of the Mac, most of the time was spent on more sensational (and serious) subjects:

  • Cook confirmed Apple's Arizona investment in sapphire glass, currently only used to protect iSight camera lenses and Touch ID sensors, but rumored to become something more.
  • Cook dodged questions about an iWatch and bigger iPhone 6, of course, and instead joked about a ring.
  • Cook wants more transparency when it comes to federal surveillance but says Apple has a gag order on it, so they can't reveal what they'd like to.
  • Cook denied that the NSA had access to Apple servers, and said they'd have to cart them out in boxes to get that.

While ABC had to ask the questions, no reporter on earth would or should expect Apple product announcements, or even teases, during an interview. As for the government surveillance stuff, this is the strongest, most direct language I've yet seen from a technology executive. Again, I have absolutely no doubt that Cook and others at Apple find invasions into customer data beyond offensive. The more strongly they deny it, the worse it will be if any complicity is ever discovered, which is, sadly, about as reassured as we can be these days.

Check out the interview and let me know — how do you think Cook and Co. did?

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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 talks sapphire glass, iRing, gag orders, and how the NSA would have to cart Apple out in boxes...


He did as well as can be expected in that tight space. I did not find his "they do not have access to servers" line persuasive, because a) most documents s how tapping in routes between datacenters, not at the actual server, which would make even that strong denial moot, and b) Apple is under a gag order on what they are obligated to do for the NSA. To his everlasting credit, however, Cook comes right out and says, to ABC and to the President, that he believes that restriction must end. Kudos.

hmmm. Seems this is what all tech executives are saying. The NSA does not have access to their servers they just hi-jack the data on its way in and out. There is nothing new said here

It's interesting to have more access to Apple now w/Cook at the helm - or to say Apple open ending the windows and waving at us more. Jobs definitely seemed to like hiding behind the walled hedges of the Apple castle.

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IMO I don't think Cook is giving us more net sum info than Jobs. On the contrary Cook's interviews feel disciplined and canned - which is exactly what they should be. Jobs gave less interviews, but when he did he often flew off the cuff. His opinions were often surprising and provocative. Cook's answers feel cautious and rehearsed. Again, this is not a criticism. Cook's style is just more restrained and on message. But I do agree that news outlets get more access to Apple brass now.

what I was surprised at is that Cook only gets 7-800 emails/day. I would have thought that he would get way more.

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