By Scott Martin
SAN FRANCISCO - Apple CEO Tim Cook today argued that the company's product magic is still deeply at work despite increasing questions over Apple's next big thing and its growth prospects.
Apple's chief was the main attraction at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet conference, an event that comes after the company's stock has shaved off more than 30% of its value in recent months.
"I've never been more bullish on innovation of Apple," Apple told investors attending the conference at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.
Share of Apple slid 2% to $471.67 in midday trading after the event appearance. Apple's stock is down from a 52-week high of $705.07 reached in September.
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Cook said that what sets Apple apart from other companies is its expertise in software, hardware and services. The CEO said the company has followed this path of so-called vertical integration for decades and only just now are competitors catching on.
"Apple has the ability on all three of these spheres to innovate like crazy and cause magic," he said. "People are trying desperately to catch up and they are finding it's not so easy to do."
Rival Google last year bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in what many expected was a play for patents and in-house hardware expertise to better go up against iPhones and iPads. Microsoft last year unveiled its Surface tablets in a first home-brewed hardware-and-software move into tablets and a new direction.
Cook chastised PC industry rivals for years of focus on price and specifications instead of quality and a great experience. These are things technology companies focus on because they can't invent anything new, he said. Cook said customers want to be wowed by their products and do not obsess over the processor specifications.
He pointed out that Apple sells more iPads alone than Hewlett-Packard's entire PC lineup.
"The iPad is the poster child of the post-PC revolution."
Cook also took indirect jabs at smartphone rival Samsung in critical remarks over its OLED screen technology. He said some people focus on size and use OLED displays, remarking "the color saturation is awful ... you should really think twice before you depend on the color of an OLED display." Apple uses what's called a retina display.
Cook faced a number of questions in a bid to gauge his thinking on areas spanning its massive $137 billion cash in use for dividends or acquisition, the company's growth and its profit margin pressures.
"What Apple does is sweat every detail," he said.