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Tim Cook Answers Questions on AR, Plant Investments & iPhone Delay Rumors while Revealing a new Twist on AI Projects

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Yesterday Patently Apple reported on Apple's financial results and Tim Cook's opening statement to yesterday's conference call with analysts. Earlier today I reported on Tim Cook's specific response to the VPN matter in China and this current report covers specific responses from Apple's CEO on building new plants in the U.S., on AR, on a new twist on autonomous vehicles and projects and on the question of the iPhone 8's rumored delay. One of the questions actually had Cook rolling on the floor with laughter. Can you guess which one it was?


On Building new Plants


Regarding President Trump's tweet about Apple building three big U.S. Plants (starting around the 24.40 mark of the conference call), Cook stated that he would answer it in terms of creating jobs. For instance, Apple started with the $200 million investment in Corning in Kentucky for expanding their plant. Cook went on to say "We think there's more of these that we can do. I think there's several plants that could benefit from having some investment to grow or expand or even set up shop in the U.S. for the first time." Cook did hint there would be something more to reveal later this year.


I noted in the report about the President's tweet and the Wall Street Journal report that "Without details about the nature of Apple's three-plant plan, it's difficult to interpret what President Trump was trying to convey in the WSJ interview. Are the plants in tune with the multiple plants that Foxconn is about to announce or completely new Apple-centric plants? Nice appetizer but as the old Wendy's ad used to say: Where's the beef?


Cook's reply to the question about any plants were once again evasive. Apple is likely to help other companies expand their plants and may even encourage a foreign supplier to come to the U.S. and open a plant. While Cook did confirm that more would be revealed later this year, I'm not sure there will be three "Apple" plants but perhaps plants expanding due to Apple's investment fund.


On Apple's Future AR Markets


On a question about AR, Cook noted that "I cannot be more excited about AR and what we're seeing with ARKit in the early going. To answer your question about what category it starts in, just take a look at what's already on the web in terms of what people are doing (one and two) and it is all over the place from entertainment to gaming … I've seen what I would call more small business solutions; I've seen consumer solutions; I've seen enterprise solutions; I think AR is big and profound.


This is one of those huge things that we'll look back at and marvel on the start of it. So I think that customers are just going to see it in a variety of ways. Enterprise takes a little longer sometimes to get going but I can already tell you that there's lots of excitement in there and I think we'll start to see some applications there as well. And it feels great to get this thing going at a level that can sort of get all of the developers behind it. So I couldn't be more excited about it.


A New Twist on Autonomous Vehicle Rumors


"In terms of autonomous systems what we've said is that we are very focused on autonomous systems from a core technology point of view. We do have a large project going and making a big investment in this from our point of view. Anatomy is sort of mother of all AI projects and autonomous systems can be used in a variety of ways and a vehicle is only one but there are many different areas of it and I don't want to go any further with that – but thank you for the question."


Delay or Not Delay, that is the Question


And lastly, one analyst brought up that the press and blogs were obsessed with the delay over the iPhone and wanted to know Apple's take on it. Apple's Tim Cook stated "We have no comment on anything that's unannounced." You were able to clearly hear Cook and Luca in the background choking with laughter on this. The analyst then said, "fair enough, I thought it was worth a shot," and the belly laughs finally burst out. I had never heard Tim Cook laugh so hard ever.


Was Cook hysterically laughing at the analyst trying to get an official answer to that question or that the whole 'iPhone delay theme' worked into a frenzy by the press and blogosphere completely off-base? My money is on the latter, how about you?


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