Tim Cook was treated to a rock star welcome in Salt Lake City last Sept. 30 where he spoke about the importance of encryption and the potential of Virtual Reality (VR) technology in a question-and-answer session.

The event took place during the Utah Technology Council, an annual confab of trade and advocacy groups involving technology and life-sciences companies in the state. Cook was invited by Utah senator Orrin Hatch to answer questions about privacy and current trends in technology.

Diving straight to privacy, Cook reiterated Apple's commitment to privacy, underscoring how Apple focuses on encryption technology when developing both its hardware and software products.

"We believe the only way to protect both your privacy and safety from a cyberattack is to encrypt," Cook said. "We throw all of ourselves into this and are very much standing on principle in this."

One would probably remember that Cook had a very public dispute with the Federal Bureau of Investigation due to the agency's insistence that the Cupertino company build a back door in its software to aid its investigation of the San Bernardino mass shooting last year.

Despite mounting pressure, Cook dug in, forcing the FBI to find alternative ways of obtaining data from the iPhone that the primary suspect used.

Cook also joined the VR conversation, which most observers consider the next big thing in tech. His pronouncement however lacked specifics in this issue and took a more personal view. He merely confirmed its potential, particularly in the way it preserves people's memories. He did not comment on whether Apple is also working on a VR technology amid the furious VR development among its competitors such as Google and Microsoft.

There was no word about the rumored Apple VR, which Cook has previously hinted when talking about Apple's future. This VR project has been reinforced by a flurry of recent hirings from companies involved in VR development. For example, there is the case of Zeyu Li who had been part of Magic Leap, a startup that builds display for Microsoft's HoloLens. There is also Yury Petrov who was involved in the development of Facebook's Oculus Rift as a research scientist.

The talk about memories, however, allowed Cook to pivot to Steve Jobs and his impact not just on Apple but on the tech industry as a whole. According to Cook, Jobs' office has been kept exactly the way it was, including personal knickknacks, when he occupied it five years ago.

"His spirit will always be the DNA of the company," Cook said.

Photo: Valery Marchive | Flickr

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