On September 15, Tech giant Apple announced its new products at a special event broadcast online. Usually, events like this are held live, in person, and are packed with reporters. But because of the coronavirus pandemic, the company did things differently this year. Apple CEO Tim Cook made his announcement in a prerecorded video message filmed at Apple headquarters, in Cupertino, California.
TFK Kid Reporter Rory Hu lives in Cupertino. After the Apple event, she and Cook met remotely. They talked about how Apple—and the U.S.—has adapted to the pandemic, the company’s efforts to protect the environment for future generations, and the importance of staying curious.
1. What do you think about the effect the pandemic has had on digital learning?
I think it’s reminded everyone out there how important the teacher is. I think it’s also reminded everyone how important technology is. And the intersection of the two. When you have a great teacher and great technology, learning can go extremely well. I know it’s been very different for kids like yourself with remote learning, but I think you’ll look back on this time and it will be a period of great learning.
2. What has Apple done to help kids continue to be creative during the pandemic?
We view creativity as a very important skill, and we think that everyone is born with creativity. So what we want to do is give tools to bring out that creativity. We have tools for moviemaking, and to allow people to create music, to take photos, to write a book or a novel.
3. Why is health such an important topic for Apple?
You know, it’s always been an important topic, but we began to learn more about it several years ago when we started working on the Apple Watch. Our big idea was to give people information for them to empower them to lead a better life, to lead a healthier life. That has never been more important than it is [now] because the world is so stressful.
4. What can you tell TIME for Kids readers about Apple’s commitment to protecting the environment for future generations?
We’re very committed to protecting the environment. We want to leave the world better than we found it. For the last couple of years, we’ve run Apple on 100% renewable energy. No dirty energy at all. Also, a lot of the products that we sell are made of recycled parts. Even the packaging is recycled.
5. How has Apple been affected by the pandemic?
Like you, we’ve been working remotely since March. We’ve had to learn how to do a lot of things virtually. It’s been building a new muscle for us. It’s something we didn’t know how to do before the pandemic. We had to learn very quickly. I’ve been incredibly impressed with the resiliency of our team. They’ve really rallied. We’re finding new ways to work.
We also asked ourselves how we could contribute. How could we help other people in this pandemic? We designed and donated [millions of] face shields. We also sourced and distributed face masks. We gave a lot of money to different groups that were helping families and people that had fallen ill with the virus.
6. What advice would you give to kids who have trouble studying at home during this time?
I would tell them to take their time and learn something cool. Learn something that they can use for a lifetime. I would really suggest learning how to code, because coding is nothing more than another language. It gives people the ability to create something and follow their passion.
I would recommend staying a kid. Always keep your curiosity, always keep your passion and your idealism. Never believe that things can’t get better. Everything can get better. I’m a big believer that each generation stands on the shoulders of the previous one and goes further and does more, so I’d love kids to think of it like that.
7. Thank you very much for your time, Mr. Cook. It was an honor to interview you. I hope that one day I can talk to you in person.
I hope so too, as soon as the pandemic is over.