It's been over a year since Tim Cook succeeded Steve Jobs at Apple (AAPL), but only now, with the stock off 23% from all-time highs reached in September, is he truly opening up about the company. In interviews with NBC News and Bloomberg, Cook spoke about the Apple maps debacle, the advice of Steve Jobs, bringing manufacturing jobs to the U.S. and the future of the company.
"Our whole role 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," Cook told NBC's Brian Williams. When pushed for more details, specifically about the much-rumored foray into television sets, Cook offered only, "It's a market that we have intense interest in, and it's a market that we see that has been left behind."
David Garrity of GVA Research thinks the secrecy surrounding an Apple TV may soon come to an end. "Major hints were being dropped," he said, "and I would argue that's something we're gonna be seeing in 2013."
Speaking of 2013, Cook says more manufacturing will be headed to the U.S. in the coming year. "We've been working for years on doing more and more in the United States," he told Williams. "Next year, we will do one of our existing Mac lines in the United States."
Regardless of what products come out of Cupertino and how the manufacturing process is altered, Garrity notes that Apple as a whole is going through a conversion of sorts. "Apple is going to be changing as a company under Cook's leadership versus that under Jobs leadership."
Shareholders are hoping that change is for the better, and Apple has a lot riding on new products that haven't been fully battle tested. Cook told Bloomberg, "80% of our revenues are from products that didn't exist 60 days ago." Garrity argues that might be a positive going forward into next year. "The indication is, in terms of looking at the supply chain right now, that things have really ramped up with respect to what's coming out of Apple. So one could argue margins potentially improve in the first half of 2013."
How this will impact the share price remains to be seen, but Garrity seems to think that perhaps a special dividend would talk investors off the ledge if Tim Cook's PR tour doesn't do the trick.