Apple CEO Tim Cook joked Tuesday that, whenever he starts feeling his energy sag, he visits one of the company's bustling retail stores — which he's dubbed the 'face of Apple' — to help lift his spirits.
Cook made the comment in the course of his keynote interview at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference. Asked about the company's retail strategy, Cook called Apple's stores the face of the company, and more than simple retail outlets.
"I'm not sure store is the right word any more, they are the face of Apple for almost all of our customers," he said. "They don't think about Cupertino, they think about the local Apple store."
"There's no better place to discover, explore and learn about our products than in retail," he added. "Our team members there are the most amazing, awesome, incredible people on earth. It's the best retail experience, it's an experience where you walk in and instantly realize it's for the purpose of serving, not selling."
Cook acknowledged that he's privileged in not having to face too many bad days at Apple's helm, but on the rare occasions where he's feeling a bit down, his solution is often a trip to the Apple Store.
"If I ever feel like I'm dropping down to a level that's below excited, I go to the Apple Store," he said. "It's like a Prozac!"
Cook further explained that Apple plans to move some retail locations into bigger spaces over the course of 2013, as some of its stores aren't big enough to handle their current traffic levels.
"If I ever feel like I'm dropping down to a level that's below excited, I go to the Apple Store," said Cook. "It's like a Prozac!"
"Last quarter we welcomed 120 million people in our stores. It's so huge that some of our stores aren't big enough. We're closing 20 of our stores and moving them and making them larger this year."
Apple will also add 30 new stores this year, including its first in Turkey. The new retail openings, Cook said, will be disproportionately outside the United States.
Apple's physical retail outlets, once derided by skeptical industry observers as an impractical expansion, have become a focus of media speculation, with new additions regularly opening to large crowds and anticipation. Cook said the average store did more than $50 million in revenue last year, and he credited Apple's retail operations with a good deal of the runaway success of the iPad.
"One thing that's not well understood ... I don't think we would have been nearly as successful with iPad if it weren't for our stores," he said. "The tablet was ingrained in [consumers'] minds as this heavy thing the Hertz guy held. But our store is the place to go and discover and try it out and see what it can do.
"I don't think the launch would have been nearly as successful without stores that welcome people in at ten million a week and show this," he added. The stores "give Apple an incredible competitive advantage."