Tim Cook talks Apple secrecy on Mac's 30th anniversary

A brief excerpt of an ABC interview with Apple's CEO discusses Apple's penchant for keeping things under wraps, and touches on sapphire and NSA surveillance.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook Sarah Tew/CNET

Why all the secrecy, Apple? Because you, Jane and John Q. Public, love surprises.

That's the essence of the response by Apple CEO Tim Cook to questioning from a curious ABC News reporter.

Cook recently sat down for an interview with ABC's David Muir for a segment that airs Friday evening on "World News with Diane Sawyer," on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh's introduction to the world. A brief except of that interview popped up Friday morning on ABC's "Good Morning America." Along with Cook in the excerpt were Craig Federighi, senior vice president of software engineering, and Bud Tribble, vice president of software technology.

In response to Muir's question about Apple's famed secrecy, Cook acknowledged that secrecy is part of the culture and excitement at Apple, and is all to the good because "people love surprises."

Digging further into Apple's zipped-lip measures, Muir said that there are stories of black drapes over products in development.

"Yes, there are black drapes and numerous locked doors and many other things," Cook said.

"And employees who can't even tell their families at home what they're working on?" Muir asked

That's also true, according to Cook. "My wife has no idea," Federighi chimed in with a grin.

Muir said that viewers told him he had to find out what the next big thing is, hoping for a hint at Apple's next major product. But not one to spoil a surprise, Cook deflected the question by laughing and telling Muir that "your badge probably wouldn't work in those rooms."

Finally, Muir touched on the new Mac Pro manufactured in a factory in Austin, Texas, asking Cook how big a deal it is to make computers in America.

"It's a big deal, but we think we can do more," Cook says. "We also announced a huge investment in Arizona. We haven't said what it's for."

"Sapphire glass?" Muir asked.

"It's the sapphire announcement, and that's all I'll say about it," Cook responded.

"When does that glass come off the line," Muir asked? "Is it for a bigger iPhone? An iWatch?"

Cook jokingly sidestepped that question by saying it's for a ring.

One topic not aired in the excerpt but covered in the full interview is Cook's take on the NSA surveillance controversy. Muir teased that Cook said it "might put the American people at rest if he were able to talk."