Apple's Tim Cook Talks VR, Privacy, Amazon Echo & More…



Just where is Apple going?

Michael Grothaus

10:36, 27 Oct 2016

Under Steve Jobs Apple was an insanely secretive company. Jobs had things locked down so tight it was rare for an Apple executive to ever speak in public about the company. However, under Tim Cook’s reign, Apple does things differently (for better or for worse). While the company is still secretive, executives seem to talk more openly about some things–and those comments can often give hints of where Apple may be headed. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up a series of recent comments from Apple executives to see what they reveal about the future of Apple.

Apple On Privacy VS Artificial Intelligence

On Apple’s most recent financial conference call, CEO Tim Cook spoke about the company’s personal digital assistant, Siri, which often feels inferior to other assistants like Google Assistant. Google’s services work better because they know more about your personal life–scanning all the personal information you have on Google’s services to learn more about you. Siri, so far, has sworn off accessing most personal data–something Cook says will continue:

“In terms of the balance of privacy and AI, this is a long conversation, but at a high level, this is a false tradeoff. People would like you to believe you have to give up privacy to have AI do something for you, but we don’t buy that. It might take more work, it might take more thinking, but I don’t think we should throw our privacy away. It’s sort of like the age old argument between privacy and security. You should have both. You shouldn’t have to make a choice.”

Apple On Personal Digital Assistant’s Like Amazon’s Echo

On the same call, Cook said while he sees a niche market for personal digital assistant’s that take a speaker form factor in the home, he thinks the best assistant technology is mobile:

“We live in a mobile society. People are constantly moving from home to work and to other things they may be doing. And so the advantage of having an assistant on your phone is that it’s with you all the time.”

Apple On The Future Of Automobiles

Cook also discussed the future of the automobile industry in general. Though he wouldn’t comment on apple’s car plans, Cook signaled Apple did see the value in revolutionizing the car industry in some way:

“I can’t speak about rumors, but as you know, we look for ways we can improve the experience and the customer’s experience on different sets of products. We’re always looking at new things and the car space is an area where it’s clear there are a lot of technologies that will become available… or will be able to revolutionize the car experience. It’s interesting from that point of view. But certainly nothing to announce today.”

Apple On Television

Speaking at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit earlier this month, Apple iTunes chief Eddy Cue revealed the company thinks existing TV interfaces are crap. Cue said that television “needs to be reinvented” because the user interfaces of TV’s are confusing:

“You live with a glorified VCR. You’re still setting things to record. There are 900 channels, but there’s nothing to watch…The problem is the interface. The ways you interface with it are pretty brain dead.”

Looks like Apple may just be getting started with the Apple TV.

Apple On Retail Stores

Apple’s Senior Vice President of Retail Angela Ahrendts recently spoke at Fortune’s annual Most Powerful Women Summit and revealed a little about Apple’s thought processes behind retail stores. As MacRumors reports:

“She notes that the retail side of the company tries to hire candidates based on their empathy and compassion so that they can enrich lives rather than salesmanship…Another driving force behind the next-generation stores was making the retail spaces represent the products better. ‘How do we make it so the best of Apple can come together in one place?’ Ahrendts said they asked as they designed the new stores. Their solution was to map out everything people did on their devices and integrate them into the stores, which meant a larger focus on the liberal arts…Another way of integrating the liberal arts with the retail stores is turning the stores into community centers. ‘On the weekend you’ll see an artist sketching things or a guy playing a guitar,’ Ahrendts said. The goal is to help foster human experiences that draw people out of their digital bubbles. The town square concept also extends to naming. The accessory-laden ‘avenues’ represent avenues bordering a town square, while the giant screens are called ‘forums’ because they act as a hub for many activities.”

Apple On Augmented Reality

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Tim Cook revealed the company’s thoughts on the burgeoning technology of augmented reality:

“Augmented reality will take some time to get right, but I do think that it’s profound. We might … have a more productive conversation, if both of us have an AR experience standing here, right? And so I think that things like these are better when they’re incorporated without becoming a barrier to our talking. … You want the technology to amplify it, not to be a barrier.”

Apple On The Future Of Digital Music

In a Billboard interview Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine spoke about the recently redesigned Music app in iOS 10. Iovine says Apple believes the right music service is both technologically and culturally adept:

“And what we’re going to do, what we’re doing now that hasn’t been revealed yet, is we’re building the right hybrid. And we believe it’s the right hybrid, and the combination of these things together, we’ll build a music service that is technologically and culturally adept…We’re going to do whatever we believe is great. We are going to make a combination of tech and popular culture that is exciting and adept at both areas. So that’s what you’re starting to see. It’s going to have a voice. It’s not going to be just a utility — ‘Go here and get your music, good luck,’ or, ‘We’re going to send you a list’ — that’s great, but that’s not what this is. That’s not what this was, anyway.”

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