If you need me to talk to Apple, I know a guy there. Tim
Ireland is in a spot of bother with Apple but it could all be sorted out with a good chat, says Brian Boyd
Apple CEO Tim Cook - a close personal friend of Brian Boyd
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook is very much in the news these days. On the basis that Tim knew who I was before I knew who he was and he once went to some trouble to seek me out for my opinion at Apple’s HQ in Cupertino, California, I have an “in” with the man.
I am now selflessly offering to use this personal connection in the national interest.
In September of 2014, Tim Cook hosted a major Apple event in Cupertino in which he launched the iPhone 6, the iWatch and some other bunch of nonsense.
At the close of the event, U2 would be performing and announcing the free giveaway of their “Songs of Innocence” album on iTunes.
Seconds after Bono and Tim Cook announced the giveaway from the stage in Cupertino, the U2 singer and guitarist The Edge marched off the stage and into a side room where I had been given the only interview they were doing at the event.
Interview duly completed I strolled out into the very pleasant Cupertino campus area and true to my vocational calling, got stuck in to the free beer.
A very pleasant man approached me and said “So you’re Brian Boyd - I’ve been hearing all about you”.
He was dressed in a black t-shirt and a cheap looking navy shirt (The Gap - at best) and I presumed he was an Apple employee who had heard about the slight misunderstanding earlier that morning when I had to jump over a white fence and was chased by Apple security guards before I was “reassessed” and found to be there on legitimate journalistic business for The Irish Times.
He then asked me how my interview with Bono and Edge went. I can’t really remember what I said; I had flown in overnight from New York, hadn’t slept in two days, it was incredibly hot in Cupertino and the newsdesk back in Dublin were about to print the next day’s newspaper and needed copy.
He was such a nice, smiling man that we continued talking about this and that. He asked me what I thought of the new Apple products that had been unveiled that morning? “I think Apple products are shit” was my considered response.
He laughed and then started talking about the Samuel Beckett Bridge in Dublin.
This didn’t throw me as I knew Apple had the bridge closed down two weeks prior to the Cupertino event so U2 could film a promo for the new iPhone on the bridge. It was all part of their deal with Apple.
I remember him saying “We had a lot of problems trying to keep that secret from the Irish public”.
We continued chatting amicably before the newsdesk back in Dublin rang me again, this time using uncharacteristically unparliamentary language to wonder where my copy was.
I told the man I better go and file, he shook my hand, wished me all the best and walked away.
My colleague Davin O’Dwyer - who was in Cupertino covering the tech side of the event - came running over to me, shouting “What the f**k!”.
He explained that the man who had been talking to me all the time was Tim Cook. Knowing I had an in, Davin asked me if I would chase after Tim and ask him to pose for a photo with Davin.
He was very obliging about this, I snapped away and then Tim took a photo of me and Davin together.
Davin asked me what we had been talking about. I froze. I remembered that I had told him the very first thing I had said to Bono and Edge when they came into the backstage room was “Did you get any free new iPhones and can I have one of them?”
I had then voiced the opinion that the fact that Apple were paying U2 $100 million for the album but didn’t even give the band any of the new iPhones was “pretty f**kin’ cheap of them”.
I had also said that it hadn’t escaped my notice that at a big, glitzy Apple event in their own Headquarters taking place to show off their new iPhone and having paid U2 a large sum of money to join with them at the event, that a certain member of the band (clue: he’s the singer) while playing me new songs on his mobile phone, wasn’t using an Apple phone.
I had told him that not only was this ironic but was further proof that “iPhones are shit”.
But the strangest part of my unlikely connection to Tim Cook is just striking me now, almost two years later to the day.
He knew who I was - he sought me out on the campus and came over to talk to me. He must have known within a few minutes of talking to me that I had absolutely no idea who he was.
But still he stayed there talking to me all that time. He was gracious and charming the whole time - even laughing at my coarse opinion of his products.
In a hotel room in San Francisco later that night, I looked up his Wikipedia page. It lists his net worth as $785 million.
I tried to remember if we had exchanged mobile numbers at any stage. I searched through my pockets but couldn’t find anything. I still have the beer glass from Cupertino though.
Whenever I see his picture in the paper, I nudge people and say “That’s the Chief Executive of Apple, Tim Cook - he knew who I was before I knew who he was”.