Tim Cook on Expansion of Retail and the Apple Ecosystem

Apple CEO Tim Cook gave the keynote address at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet conference on Tuesday and indicated that the Apple ecosystem is still growing. He explained that Apple has now paid out $8 billion to developers, up $1 billion from earlier this year. Cook also discussed the company’s continued focus on retail, competition in the smartphone sector, the need for tablets of varied sizes and the importance of software and services.

“The developer part is the most interesting. In March last year, Apple said it had paid out $4 billion to developers when it announced it had hit 25 billion downloads. In July 2011, it was at $2.5 billion,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “Things are moving pretty quickly over in Cupertino, it seems, and Cook is extremely bullish.”

Retail remains a major focus for the company. According to Cook, the Apple stores averaged more than $50 million in revenue last year. He said the company has plans to make 20 of its stores larger and to launch 30 new stores worldwide.

Cook dismissed the notion of smartphones and “phablets” that compete solely on larger screen sizes. He also suggested that customers are more interested in the overall user experience than actual specs.”Do you know the speed of an AX processor?” he asked. “You probably don’t. Does it matter? You want a fantastic experience.”

And while the iPad Mini may have a thinner margin than the iPad, Cook believes it is worthwhile since it gets consumers to buy other products. “When we looked at iPad, what you would find when you looked at some data, you would find that over 50 percent of the people in countries like China and Brazil that were buying an iPad don’t own an Apple product,” he said.

Cook also emphasized Apple’s software and services. “Last quarter, if you looked at our software and services revenue, it was $3.7 billion,” he explained. “If you look at that versus software and services companies, that’s an incredible amount of revenue.”