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Skilled workers, not cost, lured Apple to China says Tim Cook

Foxconnn, Schmoxconn - it's tool and die makers that get Apple excited

Skilled workers, not lower salaries, were the lure that brought Apple to China, according to Tim Cook.

In a soft-ball interview with US news magazine 60 Minutes, Cook said “China put an enormous focus on manufacturing. In what we would call … vocational kind of skills.”

That focus paid off: the CEO said “you can take every tool and die maker in the United States and probably put them in a room that we're currently sitting in. In China, you would have to have multiple football fields.”

Tool and die makers almost certainly make up a tiny proportion of Apple's million-strong Chinese workforce, but 60 Minutes chose not to probe the matter further.

The program did at least ask Cook about encryption, a topic on which the CEO opined that “I don't believe that the tradeoff here is privacy versus national security.”

Asked if the tradeoff is “versus security” Cook replied “I think that's an overly simplistic view. We're America. We should have both.” The CEO also re-iterated his stance that Apple will always comply with warrants but is happy for those requests to be futile if it protects customers' health, financial and other personal information.

Among other nuggets in the interview, Cook laughed off suggestions of Apple making a car without confirming or denying rumours, said it is “total political crap” when Apple is accused of tax avoidance by not repatriating cash to the USA because the tax code “was made for the industrial age, not the digital age.” The CEO also addressed the issue of worker exploitation by saying Apple audits and is slowly making progress, so is spreading its values and – sorry, we had to use the phrase eventually – changing the world.

Pressed on Apple's Watch not being a colossal hit and therefore being deserving of a re-think, Cook made the astounding revelation that “when we launch a product, we're already working on the next one. And possibly even the next, next one.”

60 Minutes is fond of Apple hagiography. Its PR is probably working on the next one and possibly even the next, next one. ®

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