Tim Cook and Rebecca Jarvis in AustinSource: ABC News

What you need to know

  • Apple broke ground on its future campus in Austin, Texas today.
  • Cook defended Apple's decision about removing the Hong Kong mapping app.
  • He also talked about why he communicates directly with President Trump.

After breaking ground on the company's newest campus in Austin, Texas which will employ about 5,000 by 2022 and have a capacity of up to 15,000, Tim Cook spent some time with ABC News' Rebecca Jarvis to talk about the a lot of the politics surrounding the company as of late.

Cook talked about how he is proud to build the company's "most powerful computer ever" in the United States.

"We are really proud to make the Mac Pro here -- this computer is our most powerful computer we've ever made, by far...it performs over 50 trillion tasks per second. I mean, this is just mind-blowing."

President Donald Trump flew into Austin on Wednesday to tour the production process of the Mac Pro and meet with Cook. In response to criticism of his personal relationship with the President, Cook explains that he is intentional in fighting for Apple's values directly with the White House.

"I don't believe in having people talk on my behalf...I don't believe in lobbyists. I believe in direct conversation. I strongly believe in engagement. I hate polarization. I despise it."

Tim Cook and Rebecca Jarvis in AustinSource: ABC News

When asked about why Apple has continued to build the iPhone in China, especially as political pressure mounts to move production to the United States or elsewhere, Cook says that is in a lot of ways already the case.

"If you look at the glass of the iPhone, which everybody touches all day long, that glass is made in Kentucky. If you were to take apart the iPhone you would see many of the silicone components that are made in the United States as well...the iPhone is the product of a global supply chain."

Pressed further on China, specifically on how the effect of potential tariffs could be on the iPhone and Apple's other product lines, Cook believes that the two countries will come to an agreement before the company needs to worry about dealing with such a cost increase.

"I'm hoping that the U.S. and China come to an agreement, and so I don't even want to go down that road right now...I'm so convinced that it's in the best interest of the U.S. and best interest of China, and so if you have two parties where there's a common best interest there has got to be some kind of path forward here. And I think that will happen."

Tim Cook interview with ABC NewsSource: ABC News

He also added that the company's decision to remove the HKmap.live app from the Chinese App Store, a decision that received sharp criticism from social groups and politicians alike, was made with safety in mind.

"In terms of the Hong Kong situation, I hope and pray for everyone's safety...more broadly I pray for dialogue, because I think that good people coming together can decide ways forward. In the specific app in Hong Kong, we made the decision unilaterally...we made it for safety, and I recognize that somebody can say that is the wrong decision and so forth. We obviously get second-guessed a lot when you make tough decisions on apps to be on versus off, but we made it for safety."

When asked about what might be next for Apple, especially in the area of acquisitions, Cook said that they aren't looking at any shocking big thing, but a lot of small interesting things.

"We are investing a lot in this country -- you saw the site earlier -- we are putting another billion here...we acquire things when they make sense, but we never acquire for size and revenue -- we acquire for talent and IP, and things that can improve people's lives."