As he continues France trip, Tim Cook talks AI/AR, taxes, iPhone production, and more in new interview

While making the rounds in France this past weekend, Apple CEO Tim Cook gave an interview to French newspaper Figaro. In the interview, Cook discussed a wide-range of topics, including Apple’s interest in building on Champs-Elysees, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and taxes.

As noted by MacGeneration, when asked about Apple’s rumored interest in building a new retail location on Champs-Elysees, Cook didn’t all-out confirm the company’s plans, but did note that it had an interest. “As for the space on Champs-Elysees you mentioned, we are still working to find out what we do with it.” Cook also touched on his love for France altogether:

France has always had a special place for Apple. This is the best place to discover and chat with all musicians, graphic designers, designers or photographers who use our products. There is such creative energy.”

Cook’s statement seems to imply that while the company secured the property, it hasn’t decided whether it wants to build a retail location or offices. Earlier reports suggested that the company wanted to do both and a retail store does make the most sense given the commercial nature of that area.

The interview then shifted to the production of Apple’s products amid pressure for the company to move some of it to the United States. Cook explained, however, that one thing often lost in the discussion about the location of factories is where the parts originate from:

“In these debates on the location of factories, there is too much tendency to focus on the place where the product is assembled. When you open the product and look at the different components, you will see that the whole world is represented. We have 4600 suppliers in Europe, and we have already spent $ 11 billion on the continent.”

Cook also touched on Apple’s ongoing tax battle in Ireland, again stating that Apple pays “more tax than any other company in the world.”

“We pay more tax than any company in the world. We do not tax evasion. In our view, the law is clear. We have to pay taxes where we create value.”

Last but not least, Cook touched on augmented reality and artificial intelligence, two areas he has praised multiple times in other interviews.

Cook first notes that artificial intelligence technology such as Siri “makes the iPhone even better.” Concerning the falling sales of the iPhone, Cook pointed to the PC as a preview of industry that declined and later rebounded as technology advances with things like augmented reality.

“Look at what happened with the PC. If you come back in the 1990s and early 2000s, you’ll see that sales have gone down a bit, before you start again. The smartphone will take the same route. Innovative products always make a difference.”

While in France, Tim Cook made surprise appearances at several Apple retail locations. More on that here. Today, Cook met with designer Julien Fournie, VizEat co-founders Camilla and Jean-Michel, visited the Apple Marché Saint-Germain location, and met with artist JR.

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