Apples ability to again transform the fast-moving technology arena is the central question in investors and Silicon Valley executives minds as the company's growth slows, and rivals like Samsung Electronics and Google take chunks out of its market share.
Industry executives and Apple observers continue to believe the company will come up with some sort of wearable device, like a smartwatch, and speculation persists about a long-rumoured TV product of some sort to shake up the living room viewing experience.
Were working on some things that are extensions of things you can see and some that you can't see, Cook said at the annual meeting, referring to a 32% increase in research and development costs last year.
Responding to a question about innovation, Cook said Apple preferred not to talk about new products under development so as not to tip off the competition. You can see were getting ripped off left, right and sideways, he said.
Apples shares fell 0.27% to close at $526.24 on Friday. They have clawed back substantial ground since falling below $400 in June, but remain well below the record-high $700 level of 2012, weighed by concerns about whether the company has any new hit products in the pipeline.
Though Cook steered clear of that discussion, he shed some more light on the Apple TV business, which executives have long referred to as a hobby for a company expected to chalk up some $181 billion in sales this fiscal year. The $99 Apple TV set-top box, which streams content from Netflix and other video sources to a TV, had racked up $1 billion in sales in the past year, he said. It's a little more difficult to call it a hobby these days, Cook said.
Cook took pot shots at Google, saying that most users of its Android mobile operating system are using older versions, presenting a security threat. In contrast, he said, 89% of users of devices based on Apple's iOS operating system have the most recent version of the software. Shareholders at the annual meeting at Apple's Cupertino, California, headquarters re-elected all board members.
In the run-up to the meeting at 1 Infinite Loop, many investors had publicly debated whether Apple should not put any of its massive cash pile to better use. Cook said the company will provide an update within 60 days on how it will use the cash, which totaled nearly $160 billion at the end of 2013. That time frame is in line with Apple's previous comments that it would announce its latest cash management plans around April.