Apple CEO Tim Cook has been talking new categories again, maintaining his promise that the company is innovating behind the scenes and that we'll soon see something exciting. However, particular elements of a recent interview have cast some doubt over whether those new categories will really be so new after all.
Since April last year, during an Apple earnings call, Cook has been promising that the company is working to enter a new product category. He reiterated this claim in January 2014 at the financial report for the first quarter of the year. The product category in question remains a mystery, but speculation points to an iWatch or an Apple Television.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Cook added further mystery to his claims, stating: "There will be new categories. We're not ready to talk about it, but we're working on some really great stuff."
But, when asked about whether "new categories" meant something entirely new or simply a radical update to a current product, Cook said that any "reasonable" person would say that the product Apple's working on is in a new category.
This comment has caused some concern among Apple watchers. It's thought that if Apple really is working on an iWatch or Apple television, Cook would not have felt the need to clarify that only "reasonable" people would agree that the product is in a new category. Perhaps the product Apple is actually hinting at is a bigger iPhone that fits in the Phablet category, or a more powerful iPad. Both of these products would be welcomed by many but they're not the all-new product many are hoping for.
Cook also said that he believes there are significant opportunities for Apple to expand the position of existing products including the iPhone, and noted that his statement that Apple doesn't aim to make the most iPhones has been misunderstood. This adds further evidence to support the Phablet theory, as it could suggest Apple is considering adding more iPhones to the line-up. Cook has previously spoken about the possibility of a bigger iPhone, but stated that Apple won't launch such device until trade-offs can be avoided.
"I just want to say that the macro thing for us is making a great product and we must do that. If we can't do that, we're not going to force ourselves to hit a price point that makes us product a product that we're not proud of because we lose who we are in that. We're not going to do that," he said during this week's WSJ interview.
There's always the possibility that Cook is just trying to manage expectations, or that he is trying to bring back the element of surprise that Apple has been famous for in the past. There is, after all, mounting evidence to support the theory that an iWatch is coming this year, including Apple patents, job listings and leaks.