Tim Cook, Jony Ive discuss privacy, design and Steve Jobs at Vox Media’s Code Conference

Kara Swisher, Jony Ive, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Apple CEO Tim Cook speak onstage during Vox Media’s 2022 Code Conference.

Yesterday at Vox Media’s Code Conference Apple CEO Tim Cook, former Apple design chief Jony Ive, and Emerson Collective founder Laurene Powell Jobs took to the stage to discuss politics, policy, climate crisis, Steve Jobs’s legacy, and more. 

The annual invitation-only conference co-founded and hosted by journalist Kara Swisher kicked off yesterday with her signature red chair interviews. Highlights from the conversations include:

Apple CEO Tim Cook on the company’s approach to privacy:  

“[Steve Jobs] put it in such eloquent and simple terms: it means asking people’s permission, asking them repeatedly. And it has been at the heart of how we view privacy. And so you know, we believe that privacy is a fundamental human right.…What we felt is that people should own their data and they should make their own decisions. And so what we believed is that people should be empowered to be able to make that decision in a really straightforward and simple manner. Not buried 95 pages deep in a privacy policy somewhere, and so that’s the way that we’ve looked at it and we continue as each year goes by – to try to give our users, to empower them to make those decisions for themselves.” See The Verge’s coverage here.

On the biggest debate he ever had with Steve Jobs: 

“Probably the way the initial iPhone was sold… I was for putting it in the subsidy model. And he was for the revenue share. And his way was more creative and more different. My way would have scaled faster. At least I felt strongly and so we were in quite a discussion about this.”

Jony Ive on the care in design

“I think it’s easier to understand carelessness which is I see it being a disregard for people, you know. Carelessness to me is just seeing people as a potential revenue stream, not the reason to work immoderately hard to really express your love and appreciation for the rest of the species.

So for us in our practice of design, I think care is very often felt, and not necessarily seen. And I think, and I know it’s something that I think the three of us feel strongly about that sort of care, that is, I mean Steve talks about the carpenter, the cabinet maker that would finish the back of the drawer, and it’s that you’re bothered beyond whether something is actually publicly seen.

“You do it not because there’s an economic interest. You do it because it’s the right moral decision and I think it’s, I think, particularly as a designer. I think it’s very often in the very small quiet things like worrying about how you package a cable.

“Yeah, I worry about that ever such a lot. And Steve wrote about that a lot as well. And I think it’s that sort of that preoccupation when you’re set there on a Sunday afternoon worrying about the power cable that’s packaged as a zigzag thing and you’re going to take that little wire tie off when you’re set there on a Sunday afternoon worrying about this isn’t really very good.

“The only reason, I think you’re very aware that the reason you are there is because I think, our species deserves better.

The 2022 Code Conference – where journalist Kara Swisher holds the power players of tech and business accountable in signature unscripted Red Chair interviews – is taking place from Tuesday, September 6th to Thursday, September 9th in Los Angeles, California. This year, Code will bring together some of the biggest names in tech and business for conversations about what’s next in tech regulation, the global economy, Web 3, the future of work, the climate crisis, and so much more.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.