Rock Center   |  December 06, 2012

Apple CEO looks to reimagine television

Apple CEO Tim Cook talks about the death of company founder Steve Jobs and navigating the future of the company. Cook discusses the company’s operations in China, bringing jobs back to the United States and hints at Apple’s role in re-imagining TV. Rock Center Anchor and Managing Editor Brian Williams reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> first time apple 's tim cook has done this, a full-on television interview. spoken in any detail about the death of the legendary co-founder steve jobs . and here now, part two of our in august 2011 , tim cook was made ceo of apple . steve jobs reduced his own role to chairman of the board. then less than two months later, he was gone, after a long fight with pancreatic cancer .

>> it's so great to see so many of you here today.

>> it was tim cook who was chosen to preside over the private memorial service for apple employees. thousands of people gathered as the face of the founder gazed down upon them from the side of the building.

>> it was the saddest time of my life .

>> did you know how sick he was?

>> i always thought that he would bounce back because he always did. and it wasn't until extremely close to the end that i reached sort of an intellectual point that he couldn't bounce this time.

>> big boss coming through, people, look alive. it's his company to run now. and after the peaceful transition of power, he was quickly forced into crisis footing because of the situation in china, where so many apple products are assembled by skilled workers. there's been trouble and cook traveled there after harsh criticism of poor working conditions and low wages. the situation was later parodied on "snl" by cast members who actually make up the heart of apple 's demographic.

>> oh, no, talk about apple now. it's no work, right? you want starbucks to take you to duncan dkin' donuts?

>> china remains a major issue for apple and tim cook seems to have a ready answer for it. why can't you be a made in america company?

>> this iphone, as a matter of fact, the engine in here is made in america . and not only are the engines in here made in america , but engines are made in america and are exported. the glass on this phone is made in kentucky. so we've been working for years on doing more and more in the united states . next year, we will do one of our mac lines in the united states .

>> let's say our constitution was a little different and barack obama called you in tomorrow and said, get everybody out of china and do whatever you have to do, make these, make everything you make in the united states . what would that do to the price of this device?

>> honestly, it's not so much about price. it's about the skills, et cetera . over time , there are skills that are associated with manufacturing that have left the view out.

>> cook says apple has already created more than 600,000 jobs here in the u.s., that includes everything from research and development to retail to a solar power farm. he also points to the app industry, another one of those that didn't exist before apple came along. all those icons and all those downloads employ a lot of people.

>> all this side is ipods here.

>> it was such a different world just six years ago when we sat down with steve jobs for one of his last television interviews. he showed us around apple 's flagship store on fifth avenue in new york which six years later is still the big glass granddaddy of them all. back then, steve jobs was as usual all about the future.

>> we've got some really great ideas of the products we're going to build next year and the year after that we're working really hard on. i think our focal length is always forward.

>> he was all black turtleneck and glass frames and mystical and mysterious. forgive me, you and i could work at a best buy, we're plain-looking people. you're a much more conventional, seeming, guy. but there's obviously brainpower he saw in you that you brought to bear on this job.

>> i'm not sure a conventional person would have come to apple at that point in time. almost everyone i know thought i was crazy.

>> that's because apple was on the ropes back in 1998 . steve jobs had just come back and was trying to steal cook away from compaq computer, a name that was actually vibrant back then.

>> i'd just gotten to compaq, just gotten to houston. i agreed to come out and talk. five minutes into the talk with him, i'm wanting to throw caution to the wind and come to apple . and the rest is history.

>> tim cook 's personal history starts to robertsdale, alabama, the son of a gulf coast shipyard worker. he went off to auburn and then to duke for an mba. among what little else we know about him, he's got a lot of bob dylan on his ipod and bobby kennedy was his hero. he still has his accent from the south. these days, he finds solitude in the west. for all the folks trying to get to know you and figure you out, where do you go when you need to go someplace?

>> i work out. i'm in the gym about 5:00 a.m . every morning. if some free time , i go to a national park . i love getting in nature. and so these are the things that calm my mind and allow me to think clearly. that's what i do.

>> this is kind of your television coming-out. and i'm glad you did this. does this mean you have reached a cruising altitude ?

>> there's no -- maybe for other ceos. there's no cruising altitude at apple .

>> tim cook is a manager with a vision who is following in the footsteps of a visionary-turned-manager. while he has to worry about global issues like the counterfeiters who instantly turn out fake copies of every new apple product, cook has to keep one eye on the stock price constantly and the other on the future. and that sure sounds like it means tv. what can apple do for television-watching? what do you know that is going to change the game that we don't know yet?

>> it's a market that we see that has been left behind . i used to watch "the jetsons " as a kid.

>> absolutely.

>> i loved "the jetsons ." we're living "the jetsons " with this.

>> george, you'll never guess what happened.

>> facetime is "the jetsons " but television is still television.

>> it's an area of interest. i can't say more than that.

>> i'm not shocked. ten years from now, americans are going to be amazed that they ever -- give us broad generalities. what's the new thing? it's okay to tell me. let this stuff out. whatever you're thinking of for the future. it's all right.

>> our whole goal in life is to give you something you didn't know you wanted and then once you get it, you can't imagine your life without it.

>> starting with?

>> and you can count on apple doing that.

>> oh, frustrating. so television is an area of intense interest, that's almost a declaration in