6 Things I Learned about Apple from Gruber's Interview with Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi

Daring Fireball's John Gruber has posted the full video of The Talk Show Live from last week's World Wide Developer Conference, where his guests were Apple senior vice presidents Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi. It's a great interview, and I highly encourage you to watch it in its entirety, but there were six things in particular I learned.

Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, John Gruber

Phil Schiller, Craig Federighi, John Gruber

iMore also posted a full transcript of the interview, and with each of the points below I supply keywords you can use to Find the portion I reference.

1.) What Really Happens When You Remove a Stock Apple App in iOS 10

In iOS 10 users will be able to remove stock Apple apps (from the home screen). That parenthetical bit is the important part, because while Apple announced the ability to remove stock apps, Craig Federighi explained that doing so does the following three things:

A.) Removes user data associated with that app.

B.) Removes that app from being accessible by other parts of the operating system. This means that if you removed, say, the Stocks app, Siri would no longer consider that app when interacting with users.

C.) The app itself remains on your system, meaning the application binary. If you went to the App Store to download it anew, you're really just reactivating those hooks mentioned in point #2 and revealing the app on the home screen.

You can find Mr. Federighi's comments by doing a Find for "this is true" on iMore's transcript. Phil Schiller added information you can find by searching for "mistakenly report."

2.) Apple Designed App Store Ads with Small Developers in Mind

A concern I personally had when the rumor broke that Apple would add paid ads to App Store search results was the potential for big developers to thoroughly drown out small developers. It turns out Apple was ahead of us on that front, and according to Phil Schiller, the entire scheme was devised with small developers in mind. Here are some specific points Mr. Schiller made:

A.) There's no minimum bid for buying ads.

B.) Relevance is weighted higher than bid price when displaying ads.

C.) Developers can glom on by buying keywords that are part of another company's brand, but Apple believes this will benefit small developers more than larger ones.

D.) There's no exclusivity allowed, meaning that no developer can monopolize a keyword regardless of how much they pay.

When combined with the announced news that search ads would be separate and limited to one ad per search, these points greatly allayed any fears I had about search ads in the App Store.

You can find Mr. Schiller's comments by doing a Find for "sort of prior" on iMore's transcript

3.) macOS Sierra's Auto-Unlock Feature Uses Speed of Light Tests to Verify Proximity

The auto-unlock feature coming in macOS Sierra uses speed-of-light tests to check the distance between the Mac you want to unlock and the device you are using to unlock it. This prevents someone from hijacking or relaying an identifying signal to unlock your Mac when you're away from it.

If that check encounters any shenanigans, your Mac will insist you use your password. I like it!

You can find Mr. Federighi's comments by doing a Find for "it's a cont" on iMore's transcript.

Next: Deep Learning, Siri Domains, and Apple Watch Sandbagging

Page 2 - Deep Learning, Siri Domains, and Apple Watch Sandbagging


4.) iOS 10's Deep Learning Analysis of Photos Will Take Place Only "When You're Plugged in on AC Overnight"

One of iOS 10's new features will be "deep analysis" of photos designed to make them more searchable, and this includes facial recognition. Each photo will have some 11 billion calculations performed on it, and Apple is keeping all of that local to your device for the sake of privacy.

That's cool, but that's a lot of calculations. According to Craig Federighi, your iPhone can handle those calculations live when you take new photos, but the company will have your existing library of images analyzed only when your device is plugged in.

The larger your photo library, the more important that would be. It's also the kind of thing that the vast majority of users will never even stop to think about and appreciate—you'd only notice if Apple didn't do it this way and you found your iPhone battery drained to within an inch of its life 20 minutes after updating to iOS 10.

You can find Mr. Federighi's comments by doing a Find for "on deep learning" on iMore's transcript.

Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi

Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi

5.) Apple Will Expand Access to Siri to New "Domains" in the Future

Apple's decision to open Siri up to developers was one of the big things from last week's WWDC, but it's limited to six categories of apps. For now. Craig Federighi and Phil Schiller specifically said that Apple will expand access to Siri to other categories in the future. The "why" was even more interesting.

According to the two execs, the ability of competing services to hand users off to third party apps is based on the cheap trick (my characterization) of using keyword triggers. There's not so much "understanding" going on by these other services as there is an automatic handoff based on those keywords.

Apple's approach is to create domains where Siri understands the nomenclature of human word usage particular to that domain, and the company started with the six domains announced during the WWDC keynote.

You can find the comments on this topic by doing a Find for "WeChat" on iMore's transcript.

6.) Apple Sandbagged the Capabilities of Apple Watch

The newly-announced watchOS 3.0 looks like it is going to breathe new life into Apple Watch. The changes are so profound it caused our own Dave Hamilton to ask if Apple can do these news things on the original Apple Watch hardware, why did it even release the original watchOS versions.

It turns out there's a simple answer: Apple was sandbagging. According to Craig Federighi, Apple hobbled what Apple Watch could do while it sought to understand how people actually used the device. Key to this was understanding power consumption.

"We found that we actually really overshot the goal," Mr. Federighi said, "which was an area of just massive focus and paranoia through the release."

There are additional comments on Apple Watch in the interview about how Apple honed in on the user experience for watchOS 3.0.

You can find the comments on this topic by doing a Find for "on watchOS" on iMore's transcript.