Apple to ’60 Minutes’: Nothing to Hide Except All Our Secrets

The nightly newsmagazine peeked behind Apple’s curtain and discovered a few new nuggets and lots of locked doors

Apple's New York store on the Upper West Side

Apple and its top executives made one thing clear during a lengthy “60 Minutes” interview Sunday night: The only thing that’s secret is everything.

During the segment in which interviewer Charlie Rose referred to secrets five times, Apple CEO Tim Cook and others repeated mantras familiar to anyone who follows the company, but provided the program limited access to some of its most closely guarded sanctums.

It comes in the midst of Apple trying to broaden its business beyond its overwhelming reliance on the iPhone, including more diverse aims at entertainment. The company relies on its blockbuster smartphone for most of its sales, but questions about its growth have intensified attention on the more modest performance from new products like Apple Music and Apple Watch.

The company let cameras into the studio of Jony Ive, Apple’s chief design officer, for example. The office, which has the same look as Apple’s retail stores, is one of the most protected spaces in Apple’s Cupertino headquarters. Though “60 Minutes” brought cameras inside the workshop, Apple covered multiple workspaces with cloaks.

“I see these covers over some of these desks. You know, why is that?” Rose asked.

“That’s so you can’t see what’s underneath it, Charlie,” Ive said.

The program got new peeks at some of Apple’s inner workings, including an explanation of the development of the Apple Watch and a visit to the construction site of the company’s “spaceship” headquarters, which is installing 3,000 sheets of curved glass imported from Germany to wrap around the building.

But viewers learned many things that Apple followers already knew: that late cofounder Steve Jobs was a perfectionist, that the company rejects accusations that it is skirting tax responsibilities by holding billions in revenue overseas, and that its reliance on Chinese workings has to do with their skills and not low wages.

Cook and Eddy Cue, the company’s top executive in charge of internet services and software, including its entertainment-related businesses, deferred discussing Apple interest in a television service. Cue focused on his pleasure working for a company that build products that reach people the world over, and Cook took the opportunity to discuss how Apple has “more secrecy here than the CIA.”