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Apple Boss Says Tech Giant Still Has Its Mojo

(c) Sky News 2013

Apple (NasdaqGS: AAPL - news) 's chief executive has told investors that his company can still "innovate like magic", as he tried to convince them that the firm's best days are not over yet.

Speaking at Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS-PB - news) ' technology and internet conference, he said Apple had "never been so bullish" on the level of innovation - even though he would not comment on future features or products from Apple.

He said: "We wouldn't do anything that we consider not a great product. That is not why we are on this Earth. There are other companies that do that and it is just not who we are."

But he added: "If you look at skills, Apple is in a unique and, in my view, unrivalled position. We have leadership in hardware, software and services.

"The real magic is at the intersection of these. Apple has the ability in all three of these spheres and create magic."

But Apple's share price has tumbled 35% in recent months, from a high of just over $700 (£447) last September.

Mr Cook disputed a popular view that the smartphone market in developed markets may be saturated, or it is losing the phone battle with bitter rival Samsung.

Samsung's smartphone market share is roughly 50% greater than Apple and its growth rate is about twice that of the iPhone.

He said: "On a longer-term basis, all phones will be smartphones and there's a lot more people in the world than 1.4 billion, and people love to upgrade their phones very regularly."

Mr Cook also hinted at the fact that Apple's board is seriously considering returning more of its £87.6bn cash pile to investors and shareholders.

Last March, Apple announced a quarterly cash dividend and a share buyback that would pay out $45bn (£28bn) over three years.

At the time, it was sitting on $98bn (£62bn) in cash. It has so far returned $10bn (£6bn) of that, but investors want more - led by a legal action bid by billionaire investor David Einhorn from hedge fund Greenlight Capital.

Apple's own view is that its cash pile is a strategic cushion, offering it more flexibility if such a need ever arises and Mr Cook described the legal bid as a "silly sideshow".

Meanwhile, Apple is still fighting an ongoing patent battle against rival Samsung. It claims it was the company that really invented the smartphone, and that Samsung has copied its intellectual property.

Although Apple was awarded $1bn (£668m) in damages last year in a US court, it was criticised in London's High Court by senior judges who described its bosses as showing a "lack of integrity"  for publishing "false and misleading" information after losing a separate legal challenge.

When founder Steve Jobs was the head of Apple he launched a legal war against Samsung, which he named "thermo-nuclear", in an attempt to keep 'iPhone clones' off the market.

Mr Cook also revealed that he was opposed to the late Mr Jobs' wish to sue Samsung over the patent-infringement issues from the outset.

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