Apple CEO Tim Cook defends pricing of new iPhones

PHOTO: Tim Cook appears on "Good Morning America," Sept. 18, 2018.PlayLorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC
WATCH Tim Cook opens up about what's next for Apple, live on 'GMA'

Apple CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday defended the pricing of the company's latest iPhones in an interview on "Good Morning America."

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"We want to make an iPhone for everyone," he told Robin Roberts.

Cook explained that many iPhone users finance the devices through their cellular carrier, making the costly expenditure more affordable.

"Most people pay about $30 a month for an iPhone or $1 a day," Cook noted.

Last week, Apple executives unveiled three new iPhones at its Cupertino headquarters in California -- the tech giant's biggest and most expensive iPhones to date. The Xs starts at $999 while the Xs Max has a $1,099 price tag. Apple also debuted what the company described as the "affordable" iPhone XR, at $749.

The Xs Max features the biggest display in the iPhone sphere with a 6.5-inch screen. The iPhone Xs, for comparison, comes with a 5.8-inch screen. Both devices hit stores on Sept. 21.

PHOTO: The iPhone XS, left, and XS Max are displayed side to side during an event to announce new products at Apple headquarters, Sept. 12, 2018, in Cupertino, Calif.Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP
The iPhone XS, left, and XS Max are displayed side to side during an event to announce new products at Apple headquarters, Sept. 12, 2018, in Cupertino, Calif.

Spending $1,000 -- or more -- on a phone may be unthinkable to some people but Cook pointed out that the iPhone has effectively replaced a traditional camera, music player and video camera.

"We found that people want to have the most innovative product available and it's not cheap to do that," he said.

Last month, Apple became the first U.S. company to be valued at $1 trillion. In the midst of a looming trade war with China, the Trump administration announced exemptions to the 10 percent tariffs on nearly $200 billion worth of Chinese imports including certain Apple products. The tariffs would have started Sept. 24, shortly after the new iPhones and Apple Watch become available in stores. In January the tariffs are scheduled to increase to 25 percent. But the Apple Watch and AirPods are on the list of 297 exempt items.

'I think they looked at this and said that it's not really great for the united States to put a tariff on those type of products.'

Asked about the exemptions, Cook said, "The iPhone is assembled in China but the parts come from everywhere...The glass comes from Kentucky. There are chips that come from the U.S. The research and development is all done in the United States. I don't want to speak for [the government]. But I think they looked at this and said that it's not really great for the United States to put a tariff on those type of products."

Roberts said there was no guarantee the Chinese government would not take some kind of retaliatory action.

"I'm optimistic, because trade is one of those things where, it's not a zero sum game. You and I can trade something and we can both win," Cook said. "I think the two countries will sort this out."

Cook also hinted that the company would be building new facilities in the U.S. in the near future.

"Apple is a deeply American company," Cook said. "We're investing $350 billion in the country over the next five years. And we're starting facilities in a number of different places."

Cook eagerly touted the health benefits of the latest Apple Watch, including its much-hyped electrocardiography (ECG) function.

"All you do is put your finger right on the crown and hold it for 30 seconds. And it performs an ECG. And you can send it right to your doctor," he said.

The new feature on the new Apple Watch will be able to call 911 automatically if the wearer doesn't respond within one minute.

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