US broadcaster CBS released a short clip of an upcoming interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook. While this preview was primarily about the attacks on the US Capitol, the full conversation is said to feature a "big announcement".
While specific details about the announcement have been sparse so far, Gayle King, host of CBS This Morning, already clarified that it won't be a new product. Instead, it's said to be something "bigger and better than that."
This interview was explicitly planned for a "major new initiative", rather than a conversation about Parler and repercussions about that. The planning and preparation for the interview had already begun before last Wednesday and the events unfolding at the Capitol then.
#EXCLUSIVE: @GayleKing spoke with @Apple CEO Tim Cook about the assault on the Capitol and what he thinks needs to happen next.— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) January 12, 2021
See more of @tim_cook's interview Wednesday on @CBSThisMorning when he'll announce a major new initiative, that's not a new product. pic.twitter.com/QPYyoDVFv7
Mystery surrounds Apple's "big announcement"
Even though the mystery surrounding the performance will be revealed in just a few hours, some of the details of the interview could already suggest possible conclusions. For instance, the clip shows that Gayle King and Tim Cook weren't both sitting across from each other in Apple Park. Instead, King was filmed in an Apple Store.
An "Apple Stores as vaccination sites" announcement makes sense to me.— Neil Cybart (@neilcybart) January 12, 2021
1) King did the interview at an Apple Store.
2) Vaccines are certainly more important than new products.
3) Apple has been very aggressive in trying to help where it can regarding battling the pandemic.
Some observers, therefore, suspect that this could be an announcement around Apple Stores. The currently empty stores in many countries, for example, could be used by Apple to potentially serve as small vaccination centres. Apple had already declared war on the virus at the beginning of the pandemic with its own protective masks and visors.
Apple's "important initiative": Increased production in the US?
Another guess is that the initiative could be about the production of Apple's devices. So far only the Mac Pro is manufactured, at least to a degree, in Apple's home country. The iPhone manufacturer could therefore possibly announce the manufacturing of more products in the US. This would make it less dependent on China and the production there. Particularly due to the trade war between the United States and China, in recent months repeatedly such possibilities were mentioned.
Strengthened privacy in iOS 14
However, it is also possible that Apple could focus on an upcoming feature of iOS 14. For example, the company had already announced a few weeks ago that the so-called "App Tracking Transparency" would come in early 2021. The feature requires apps to get explicit permission from users before they can be tracked through websites or apps.
The feature was originally supposed to be part of iOS 14 in September to further limit advertising and tracking of iPhone users. However, in order to give developers more time to make necessary adjustments, the decision was made to delay it until early 2021. Facebook, in particular, had vehemently opposed the new feature in the past.
Apple and the CES: privacy has been the focus for years
Apple never shows up at CES, so I can’t say I saw this coming. pic.twitter.com/8jjiBSEu7z— Chris Velazco (@chrisvelazco) January 4, 2019
Such an announcement would once again be fitting in light of CES 2021, which is currently underway, and Apple's recent history with the show. Last year, for example, Apple formally participated in CES for the first time since 1992 after taking part in a discussion about privacy. In 2019, they showed up with banners on the same topic that read, "What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone."
The full interview between Apple CEO Tim Cook and Gayle King is scheduled to be shown on CBS later today, Wednesday. Due to the time difference, however, we're not expected to hear about it until tonight, so we'll know what the big announcement is really about by tomorrow at the latest.