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Tim Cook: Apple needs social, Siri updates are coming

Apple CEO Tim Cook has given hints that the Cupertino-based tech giant wouldn’t exactly be averse to scuppering its social effort Ping.

Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself... More

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Speaking at AllThingsD’s D10 conference Cook said that while Apple understood the need to integrate social elements into its products, that doesn’t necessarily mean it needs to has to “own a social network”.

Answering a question raised by ABC’s Joanna Stern, the Apple CEO said:

Apple doesn’t have to own a social network, if that’s the heart of your question. But does Apple need to be social? Yes. But the ways that we express that today are integrating Twitter into iOS, and you’ll see us integrate Twitter into Mac OS with Mountain Lion. Some people think of iMessage as social.

(Quote courtesy Macworld live blog)

He also acknowledged that Ping hadn’t exactly been an unmitigated success, saying “some customers love it, but there’s not a huge number that do, so will we kill it? I don’t know. I’ll look at it.”

At the same time, Cook hinted that the company could be forming a closer working relationship with Facebook:

They have their own way of doing things. But people can say that about us as well. But just because you have different views doesn’t mean you can’t work together. We want to provide customers simple, elegant ways to do the things they want to do. And Facebook has hundreds of millions of customers. And anyone with iPhone or iPad wants to have the best experience with Facebook on any device. So stay tuned.

According to The Next Web, Cook has previously referred to Facebook as ‘a friend’ of the company. “We do a lot with them, our users use Facebook an enormous amount. I’ve always thought the two companies could do more together,” he said.

Cook also promised updates to Apple’s popular voice assistant app Siri, saying that new features would arrive “in the coming months”.

He was however cagey about what some of those new features might be:

It’s one of the most popular features of our most popular phone. But there’s more that it can do. And we have a lot of people working on this. And I think you’ll be really pleased with some of the things that you’ll see in the coming months, where the breadth that you’re talking about… we’ve got some cool ideas about what Siri can do. And so we have a lot going on this.

The fact that Cook said the new features would arrive in “the coming months” means that we’re unlikely to see the updates released at the company’s World Wide Developers’ Conference (WWDC), which takes place in just a few days time.