Too expensive? Apple CEO says iPad mini ‘fairly priced’

Apple CEO Tim Cook has hit out at claims one of the company’s flagship products is too expensive.

In an interview to mark his first year in charge, Cook answered critics after Apple’s shares fell when the 7.9-inch iPad mini was unveiled last month – a dip put down to disappointment the tablet was not more competitively priced.

His comments come as the American tech giant prepares to do battle, to corner the Christmas market, against cheaper tablets like the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD, which both start at £159.

“A great product doesn’t mean an expensive product. It means a fair price,” he said. “The iPad mini is all the way down to $329. This isn’t an expensive product.”

Cook said Apple starts with the product rather than the price when in the design process, adding: “What we wouldn’t do is say, ‘We’ve got to have something for this price, and then let’s see what we can do for it.”

It reflects the different pricing policies employed by the likes of Apple and Amazon. While Apple looks to make a profit from the sale of its devices, Amazon sells its Kindles at cost and makes money from selling downloadable products, like e-books, from its store.

Cook also revealed Apple will be exclusively producing one of its Mac lines in the States from 2013. “We’ve been working for years on doing more and more in the United States,” he said. “When you back up and look at Apple’s effect on job creation in the United States, we estimate that we’ve created more than 600,000 jobs now.”

And he spoke out about the bitter rivalry between Korean firm Samsung and Apple, addressing the fact that, while Samsung makes components for Apple, the two are also fierce competitors.

“Life is a complex thing sometimes,” he said, “and yes, it’s awkward.”

Cook added that while he “absolutely hates” litigation, he felt Apple had no other choice but to sue for alleged patent breaches. “For us,” he explained, “this is about values. What we would like, in a perfect world, is for everyone to invent their own stuff. We love competition. But we want people to have their own ideas and invent their own stuff.”

And, it would appear Apple is getting ready for some more invention – this time in the world of TV.

Analysts have long speculated that Apple would release its own TV set, with Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster being particularly outspoken on the issue, predicting Apple would debut its own brand television sets in November next year.

So far, Apple has remained tight lipped. But 52-year-old Cook, who was spotted in Apple’s flagship UK store in Covent Garden earlier this week, has now said: “When I go into my living room and turn on the TV, I feel like I have gone backwards in time by 20 to 30 years. It’s an area of intense interest. I can’t say more than that.”

Looks like we’ll have to watch this space…