Tim Cook, Apple CEO, shared his opinion about artificial intelligence, plans for Asia, and the experience of succeeding Steve Jobs in the interview with the Nikkei Asian Review. Despite the upcoming iPhone’s 10th anniversary, Cook underlined that “the technology is anything but mature”.
According to Cook, Apple is planning to open a research and development base in Yokohama, near Tokyo, later this year. The company has already revealed its intention to create a R&D base in China that will be very different from the Japanese one. The center in Yokohama will focus on the development of new component technologies. Cook calls it a center of “deep engineering”.
“I cannot tell you the specifics,” Cook said. “The specific work is very different.”
Apple doesn’t conceal its interest in Asian markets. This month, for the first time the iPhone 7 will start working with Japan’s FeliCa contactless payment system. Cook stated that Apple Pay – the company’s mobile payment service – will use the FeliCa standard because Japan is very important for Apple.
One of the companies that Apple has partnered with is Nintendo that is to bring a Super Mario game to the iPhone. “We have been working on FeliCa for a while and really hoped that Nintendo will come to iOS first,” Cook said, “so it just came together.”
Some experts explain such interest in Japan and large Japanese market by Apple sales slowdown in China. Cook said Apple sees “kindred spirits” in Japan, since it has “a lot of partners, supplier partners, and the developer community here is so vibrant.”
Cook underlined that Apple will be capitalizing on artificial intelligence in partnership with Japanese companies. AI is “horizontal in nature, running across all products and is used in ways that most people don’t even think about. We want the AI to increase your battery life and recommend music to Apple Music subscribers. As another example, AI could help you remember where you parked your car.”
Cook also touched the intention of Apple to create a cashless society with a help of Apple Pay, the iPhone and the Apple Watch. “We would like to be a catalyst for taking cash out of the system,” he said. “We don’t think the consumer particularly likes cash.”
Apple launched its digital payment service Apple Pay in 2014. Users got a possibility to pay at checkout in stores by only waving their iPhones near a terminal. The list of primary Apple’s competitors includes Samsung and Google. For the last two years, Apple has managed to get multiple new banks, stores and ATMs signed onto the service.