Apple’s Tim Cook on the Future of Fitness
In an extended interview for the Outside Podcast, the CEO talks about the ways technology can help us lead healthier lives and the benefits we get from ignoring our screens
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CEO Tim Cook says that Apple has “things going on in our labs that are mind-blowing” when it comes to fitness. The comment was part of an extended in-person interview at Apple Park in Cupertino, California, that’s featured in the latest episode of the Outside Podcast. Cook and podcast host Michael Roberts spent more than an hour walking the grounds of the company’s headquarters, discussing everything from Cook’s need for daily exercise, to the new breed of health studies enabled by Apple Watch users, to the challenges of escaping screens in today’s hyper-connected world.
In September, Apple introduced the Watch Series 6, with the slogan “The future of health is on your wrist.” Cook told Roberts that the device, which now has a blood-oxygen sensor as well as an electrocardiogram app, is allowing people to “own their health in a way that they were not able to do before.” Later this month, Apple will launch Fitness+, inserting itself into the rapidly expanding online training space in a major way. Fitness+ will integrate your Watch data into guided workouts streamed to an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV screen. Cook believes that the simple interface will encourage people to explore new kinds of exercise routines and “maybe expand their universe a bit.” This kind of coaching isn’t new for Apple, he argued, but a “broadening” of the relationship the company already has with customers through its retail stores.
An avowed nature lover, Cook spoke about his love of America’s national parks—he travels to one or more almost every year—and offered frank advice to visitors who spend their time shooting selfies at scenic vistas: “Leave your selfie stick behind and just soak in the beauty of the park itself, because that will stay with you a lot longer.”
On the challenges of screens, Cook was emphatic that Apple doesn’t want to “own our attention.” He admitted he’s had to work on his personal device habits, and he promised that Apple would “take the challenge to continue innovating in that space just as seriously as we take the challenge to keep innovating in each of the product categories we’re in.”
Cook and Roberts also spoke about Apple’s environmental initiatives and response to the pandemic, as well as Cook’s belief that the company has a higher purpose.
You can listen to their full conversation on the latest episode of the Outside Podcast, available wherever podcasts are found and on the Outside website at outsideonline.com/podcast.