In new interviews, Eddy Cue explains why Apple launched a public beta for iOS, as Tim Cook outlines future ambitions


FastCo piece based on interviews with CEO Tim Cook and SVPs Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi may be long on commentary and light on quotes, but it does provide a few interesting insights along the way.

Apple’s decision to offer a public beta program for iOS, for example, was in direct response to the Maps debacle …

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Admitting the building the Maps app had been much harder than the company had realized, Eddy Cue said that it was that experience which led Apple to launch a public beta program for iOS, so that more bugs would be identified prior to release.

“To all of us living in Cupertino, the maps for here were pretty darn good. Right? So [the problem] wasn’t obvious to us. We were never able to take it out to a large number of users to get that feedback. Now we do.”

Apple now does public beta testing of its most significant software projects, something that Jobs never liked to do. In 2014, the company asked users to test run its Yosemite upgrade to OS X. Last year, it introduced beta testing of iOS, which is the company’s most important operating system. “The reason you as a customer are going to be able to test iOS,” Cue says, “is because of Maps.”

Cue also responded to those who criticize what they perceive as a lack of innovation since the days when Steve Jobs was in charge.

“The world thinks we delivered [a breakthrough] every year while Steve was here,” says Cue. “Those products were developed over a long period of time.”

Much innovation is incremental, he says, gradually increasing the functionality of both hardware and software.

Let’s say I’m at home doing email before work. I’d like Maps to tell me, ‘Don’t leave now. Your commute will be cut by 15 minutes if you stay home for a while.’ That would be very helpful.

Tim Cook said that he doesn’t worry too much about the ‘Apple is doomed’ stories out there.

The way that I look at that is, I really know the truth.

That doesn’t mean the company is perfect, he says.

We have never said that we’re perfect. We’ve said that we seek that. But we sometimes fall short.

The most important thing is, Do you have the courage to admit that you’re wrong? And do you change? The most important thing to me as a CEO is that we keep the courage.

Cook also said that there is no lack of ambition within the company – that it wants to expand into new areas, but will do so when the time is right.

Our strategy is to help you in every part of your life that we can, whether you’re sitting in the living room, on your desktop, on your phone, or in your car.

He cites health as one area where the company has already made huge strides into what is effectively an entirely new area for the company.

We’ve gotten into the health arena and we started looking at wellness, that took us to pulling a string to thinking about research, pulling that string a little further took us to some patient-care stuff, and that pulled a string that’s taking us into some other stuff.

Healthcare, notes the piece, is a $9T industry, and even one percent of that business would represent a $90B slice.

Even Apple might call that a pretty good business.

The story, while obviously spoon fed, is a good read on the perception that Apple is trying to present ahead of the iPhone 7 launch. If nothing else, enjoy this very serious picture of Craig Federighi from the story below:


Top Photo: CBS

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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