He says Apple employees are doing the best work of their lives.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook was surprisingly talkative during the company’s first quarter earnings call today.

When asked if Apple was worried about competing with larger smartphone screens from other phone makers, Cook boasted that the iPhone 5’s 4-inch screen was the most advanced screen in the industry. “No one comes close to matching the quality,” he said. “We don’t sacrifice the one-handed ease-of-use our customers love. We put a lot of thought into screen size and feel confident we picked the right one.”

That doesn’t mean Apple will never aim for a bigger screen, but for now, Cook sounds confident that the iPhone 5’s screen can take on the increasingly (and hilariously) large competition. Apple said today that it sold 47.8 million iPhones last quarter, missing analyst expectations.

Surprisingly, Cook was also quick to chime in on the rumors of the iPhone 5’s slowing demand, which were mostly based upon supply chain analysis. “I would suggest it’s good to question the accuracy of any kind of rumor,” he said. “Even if a particular data point were factual, it would be impossible to accurately interpret the data point for what it meant for our actual business … the supply chain is very complex … yield can vary, supplier performance can vary.”

It’s strange for any company to respond to rumors, let alone the CEO of one of the most secretive companies in the world. Cook’s eagerness to respond to the rumors could be a sign that the initial analysis from the Wall Street Journal (and others) was completely off. Or he could just be playing the defensive. In either case, it’s interesting that he said something.