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This is Tim: Apple's CEO on New categories, China growth, and free updates

Macworld Staff | Oct. 30, 2013
Here's an edited transcript of what CEO Tim Cook said about the iPhone 5S, channel inventory, the difference between the iPhone 4S and the 5C, and more at Apple's recent conference call with analysts after releasing strong fourth-quarter results.

On reduced subsidies and lessons learned from the iPhone 4
The $400 number [approximate price for an iPhone 4 in China], just to clarify, is [the analyst's] number, not mine. What we did with our lineup this time is that the 4S is replacing the 4. And so if you look at the U.S. as an example, the 4S is now free, the 4 previously was free. When you translate that out of the U.S., depends on the market as to what specifically has happened. As you know, currency changes and the strength of the dollar doesn't play in our favor in some geos from that perspective. But generally, we see the 4S as our entry iPhone offer that gives someone the ability to access the entire ecosystem with a fantastic product. And we clearly understand that there is elasticity in the market, and we'll move accordingly.

On China
We had a pretty good quarter in China. We obviously want to do better, but if you look at the quarter we did grow by 6 [percent]. Underneath that, iPhone units were at 25 percent year-over-year despite significant constraints on iPhone 5S that affected the whole company. However, we were able to launch in our first round in China, and that was a big change, and the result of close work and a relationship with the carriers in China and the government. And so we feel really good about that; we were able to do that on the iPad as well, as we announced last week.

For the full year, the greater China region generated over 27 billion dollars in the sales force. And up 14 percent year over year. And so, we have a reasonable-sized business there. In the year-ago quarter, iPad launched. It launched late in China, and so that pressured the 6 percent down some; otherwise, it would have been, I think, even a stronger quarter given the strength of iPhone.

And so we are continuing to invest in stores: We opened one additional store in greater China in the last few weeks; we're investing in indirect distribution; our point-of-sales are up by about 50 percent year-over-year on the iPhone; and we're continuing to go out to more cities. Initially, we were very focused on just the large cities, and so we're working on both coverage, on launching earlier and execution, and continuing to build out our retail practice there.

On the tablet market
We continue to view the tablet market as huge. We see it as a large opportunity for us. We are not solely focused on unit share, as I've said many times; we're focused on usage and customer sat, loyalty, and other things that are very important to us.


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