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Apple CEO says it ‘means more to us to get it right’ than to be first

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Apple boss Tim Cook said in an earnings call Wednesday that it means more to the company to get a product right than to be first with it.

Discussing a better-than-expected set of financial figures for the three months ending March 29, Cook’s comments appeared to be a sideswipe at rival Samsung, a company fond of pumping out a plethora of products, with some, such as its first Gear smartwatch, seemingly rushed to market in a bid to exploit early demand.

“We care about every detail and when you care about every detail and getting it right, it takes a bit longer to do that and that’s always been the case,” Cook told investors during the call. “As you probably know from following us for a long time, we didn’t ship the first MP3 player, nor the first smartphone, nor the first tablet. In fact, there were tablets being shipped a decade or so before then, but arguably, we shipped the first successful modern tablet and the first successful modern smartphone and the first successful modern MP3 player.”

He added, “It means much more to us to get it right than to be first.”

While Cook’s comments may be aimed at Apple’s hardware offerings, critics of the company will happily draw attention to its relatively recent slip-up with Apple Maps, a product that clearly wasn’t ready when it launched in 2012.

Coming soon?

Cook’s “right not first” claim appears to be an attempt to explain to investors why it’s taking so long for the company to launch its first smartwatch. The more wrist-based computer offerings that hit the market from rival firms, the greater the pressure on the Cupertino company to come up with something special, though there’s still no official word on whether it’s even building a smartwatch.

In addition, Apple is thought to be readying two new iPhones. While a 4.7-inch handset is expected to launch in the second half of this year, an even larger model, possibly with a 5.5-inch screen, is reportedly facing delay over battery-size issues, pushing its launch date back to next year.

Cook’s comments came as the tech firm announced better-than-expected financial results for January to March, 2014. Revenue came in at $45.6 billion, up from $43.6 billion a year earlier, while profit reached $10.2 billion, up from $9.5 billion a year ago.

It sold 43.7 million iPhones over the three-month period, around six million more than a year ago. The iPad, however, performed less well, with 16.4 million units sold compared to 19.5 million during the same period 12 months earlier.

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