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Apple CEO Tim Cook. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

With all the TV maker partnerships Apple announced at CES, plus its earlier content deals, it's clear that video service is Apple's next big thing. But as Apple CEO Tim Cook made clear in a CNBC interview Tuesday, transforming consumer health is Apple's next really big thing.

Why it matters: Apple desperately needs its next act, as its recent earnings warning makes clear. The smartphone market has matured to the point where the innovations are more incremental and that isn't where Apple shines.

  • Don't get me wrong. I'm sure Apple's video plans are significant. Otherwise it wouldn't be writing giant checks to content providers like Oprah and Sesame Workshop. And it certainly wouldn't be partnering with rivals like Samsung and LG.

In the not too distant future, we will likely get the full picture as Apple launches its new video service. Augmented reality and autonomy are also areas where Apple is placing bets.

But it's clear that it is Apple's work in health care has Cook most excited.

"If you zoom out into the future, and you look back, and you ask the question, 'What was Apple's greatest contribution to mankind?' It will be about health. ... We are democratizing it. We are taking what has been with the institutions and empowering the individual to manage their health."
— Tim Cook to CNBC

Flashback: He talked with similar enthusiasm when Axios' Mike Allen and I met with him last year for our Axios on HBO interview.

The bottom line: Actions speak louder than words. But Apple has already invested years to understand tech and build relationships with hospitals, doctors and regulators. Those are things, unlike a new app or phone feature, that are hard for rivals to quickly duplicate.

  • Apple's work has already shown up in modest ways, like its fitness research lab, the ResearchKit that allows its products to be used in clinical studies, and the electrocardiogram in the latest Apple Watch.

The last word: As Cook told CNBC, "We're just at the front end of this."

Go deeper: Apple's expanding health lab

Go deeper

Biden's pick to lead major banking regulator drops out

Saule Omarova, nominee for Comptroller of the Currency, at a confirmation hearing on Nov. 18. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

President Biden's pick to head one of the country's most powerful banking regulators is dropping out of consideration for the post, according to a statement from Biden that accepted the withdrawal.

Why it matters: Saule Omarova, nominated to lead the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, faced a tough path to confirmation — with opposition from Republicans and moderate Democrats.

Judge temporarily blocks Biden vaccine mandate for federal contractors

Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

A federal judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked President Biden's vaccine mandate for federal contractors nationwide.

Why it matters: It's the latest setback in the Biden administration's rollout of COVID-19 vaccine requirements. Federal judges in two states temporarily barred the administration from enforcing mandates for millions of workers last week.

Biden threatens Putin

Photo: Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In a video call that lasted for just over two hours on Tuesday, President Biden warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that if Russia invades Ukraine the U.S. will impose unprecedented sanctions and provide additional weaponry to the Ukrainians, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said.

Why it matters: Russia's military activity on the border with Ukraine has triggered alarms from the U.S. and its European allies of a potential large-scale Russian invasion in early 2022. Sullivan said Biden made clear to Putin that, "things we did not do in 2014, we are prepared to do now."

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