In a magazine interview to mark his first year in charge of Apple, Mr Cook said the iPad, which starts at £269 (€333) for a Wifi-only iPad mini, was a “fair price”, despite being undercut by Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD and Google’s Nexus 7, which both start at £159.
“A great product doesn’t mean an expensive product. It means a fair price,” Mr Cook told Bloomberg BusinessWeek.
“The iPad mini is all the way down to $329. This isn’t an expensive product.
“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.’”
The 52-year-old was spotted this week visiting Apple's flagship British retail store in Covent Garden amid the Christmas shopping rush.
Twitter: mattlarge - Just spotted Tim Cook being shown around Covent Garden Apple store http://t.co/QSp9VJko
His comments are a response to investor disappointment that the iPad mini was not more aggressively priced to address the threat from rivals. Apple shares dipped when the 7.9-inch tablet was unveiled last month.
Android tablets have made significant inroads into the tablet market in terms of sales, Mr Cook admitted, but he highlighted third party web traffic data that show iPads appear to be used much more.
“Certainly the data that I’m seeing suggests - and this is all third-party data - that over 90 percent of the Web-browsing traffic from tablets are from iPad,” he said.
“Since these statistics do not correlate with unit sales, it suggests to me that the iPad user experience is so far above the competition.
“The iPad has become a part of their lives, instead of a product that they buy and place in a drawer.”
“[I have used] both of those - and some others,” said Mr Cook. “What I see, for me, is that some of these are confusing, multiple OSs [operating systems] with multiple UIs [user interfaces]. They steer away from simplicity.”
During Mr Cook’s first year as Apple’s permanent chief executive the firm has introduced an array of new products, including an updated iPhone, iMacs, iPods and MacBooks, as well as the iPad Mini. Its stock has risen by more than 40 per cent since he took over.
There have been missteps, however, including the embarrassment of Apple Maps, the replacement for Google Maps in iOS6, which was blighted by innacutrate and missing data. Mr Cook admitted Apple “screwed up”, but denied it put its rivalry with Google ahead of customers’ interests.
“We’re putting all of our energy into making it right,” he said.
“And we have already had several software updates. We’ve got a huge plan to make it even better. It will get better and better over time. But it wasn’t a matter that we… decided strategy over customers. We screwed up. That’s the fact.”
This evening he will appear in a second interview, recorded for American television. According to details released by the broadcaster, NBC, Mr Cook will offer new hints about Apple’s long-expected move into the living room.
“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,” he said. "It's an area of intense interest. I can't say more than that."
He will also say that some new Mac computers will be manufactured in the United States, after Apple came under fire in the American media for creating more jobs in China than at home.
Christopher Williams Telegraph.co.uk