Apple CEO sees more ‘gamechangers’, hints at wearable devices

Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook defended the company’s record of innovation under his stewardship, saying he expected it would release “several more game changers” and hinting that wearable computers could be among them.

“It’s an area where it’s ripe for exploration,” Cook said yesterday at the All Things Digital conference, an annual gathering of technology and media executives in the California coastal resort town of Rancho Palos Verdes.

“It’s ripe for us all getting excited about. I think there will be tons of companies playing in this.”

His remarks come at a time when worries are mounting that the company which created the smartphone and tablet markets is ceding ground to competitors such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Google Inc, with a slowdown in earnings growth hitting its share price.

Cook stopped short of clarifying if Apple was working on wearable products amid speculation that it is developing a smartwatch, saying only that wearable computers had to be compelling.

He added that Google’s Glass – a cross between a mobile computer and eyeglasses that can both record video and access the Internet – is likely to have only limited appeal.

“There’s nothing that’s going to convince a kid who has never worn glasses or a band or a watch to wear one, or at least I haven’t seen it,” he said in the near one-and-a-half-hour question and answer session.

“So I think there’s lots of things to solve in this space.”

Apple is not averse to doing a large acquisition if the acquired company could help Apple develop an important product, he said, noting it has done nine acquisitions in the current fiscal year, versus the company’s historical average of about six deals a year.

Cook also hinted at updates to the company’s iOS mobile software, saying the future of iOS would be evident when it holds its annual developer conference next month, and said the company was investing heavily in online services such as its mapping application.

Its Apple maps service that replaced a Google Maps app last September contained embarrassing errors, drawing fierce criticism from consumers and reviewers and forcing Cook to offer a public apology.

When asked if Apple has lost its cool, Cook said “absolutely not” and went on to list statistics of device sales and usage.

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