You’ll be surprised to learn why Apple provides public iOS betas

By , Aug 8, 2016

Tim Cook Joao Canziani photo Fast Company

Fast Company today published a wide ranging interview with Apple’s boss Tim Cook, software boss Craig Federighi and Eddy Cue, who is in charge of Internet software and services, that touches upon a number of interesting topics, including competition, iPhone sales slowdown, why public iOS betas exist (the real reason is now what you think) and more.

Cook also comments on the gloom-and-doom sentiment that has always surrounded Apple while admitting that the company does make mistakes along the way, and more.

Here are some choice quotes:

“You’re only as good as the last thing you did”

Tim Cook’s Apple isn’t resting on its laurels, says Cue:

Look, one thing you know if you’ve been in technology a while, you’re only as good as the last thing you did. No one wants an original iPod. No one wants an iPhone 3GS.

The article suggests that even though the executives wouldn’t acknowledge it the company is now moving beyond Steve Jobs’s vision. “It’s a subtle, evolutionary change,” reads the article. “Cook is pushing Apple into a future that is bigger and broader than anything Jobs could effect during his too-short life,” writes the publication.

“I want Apple to be here, you know, forever,” Cook said.

We want to be there from when you wake up till when you decide to go to sleep. 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.

“Our reason for being is the same as it’s always been,” Cook continued. “To make the world’s best products that really enrich people’s lives.”

“We sometimes fall short”

The doom and gloom sentiment that has more or less consistently surrounded the Cupertino firm isn’t lost on Tim Cook, but he’s not losing sleep over it.

Is Apple making more mistakes than we used to? I don’t have a tracker on that. 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.

Context: Apple lost a whopping $180 billion in market value in the past 17 months.

What tends to happen with Apple, not just today but in the 18 years I’ve been here is that invariably some people compare what we’re doing now to a vision or a product that somebody says they will create in the future.

“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.”

Why public iOS betas exist

Apple now does public beta testing of its most significant software projects, something that Jobs never liked to do. Last year, they provided public betas of iOS for people to play with, not just to help identify bugs in the software but because of Maps.

Take it from Cue and Federighi :

The reason you as a customer are going to be able to test iOS is because of Maps. We made significant changes to all of our development processes because of it.

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.

Maps is this core organizing structure for the physical world in which you interact. The map is a foundation for building all kinds of value on the platform, just as our operating systems are a foundation.

Cue then offered an example of something he’d like to see implemented on Apple Maps:

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.’

Now, that would be very helpful.


Is Cook concerned about the “Apple is doomed” narrative?

While acknowledging that he doesn’t “read all the coverage on Apple that there is,” Cook said, “The way that I look at that is, I really know the truth.”

Apple with its HealthKit, ResearchKit and CareKit frameworks is now invested in some aspects of the $9 trillion healthcare industry:

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.

Also, this image of Federighi is cool.

Craig Federighi Joao Canziani photo Fast Company

The whole interview is definitely worth your time as it contains a bunch of other quotes and thoughts on a number of other topics so hit the source link right below to enjoy the whole read now or save it for later.

Source: Fast Company

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  • Agneev Mukherjee

    Craig is just überCOOL.

  • Apple should look at jailbreak features people yearn for; and build it into future OS releases. Take suggestions from users. See what they like. One reason I’d jailbreak was to have the simple feature of searching spotlight for the location of an app icon without opening it up just so I’d know where it is; so I might move it to another folder. (Something I’d like to see Apple implement). Otherwise it might take me 10 minutes to search 5 utility folders to find it. (Quite annoying)

    • Y2J

      Apple does implement things from the jailbreak scene, it just takes years to do it. Also that spotlight search feature is available, either in the later versions of iOS 9, or in iOS 10, I can’t remember but I know it’s definitely there.

    • “People don’t know what they want until we show it to them.”

      • Sohail Wahab

        Until jailbreakers show it to . I was craving for universal spotlight feature for years. Currently it’s available as a tweak on iOS 9, they will release it on September on iOS 10 as a feature.
        They still need to implement some cool tweaks a s a feature like, 3D touching a song to make it play next on spotlight and similar 3D Touch functions.
        What makes me mad is that Apple is not using the entire potential that the products provide.

  • Alberto Espinal

    They are getting too lazy, doing the things they used to do like implementing things on the iPhone like when Jobs was alive, baby steps so people can upgrade just because the camera has 12 megapixels instead of 8, seeing the rumors of the new iPhone just keeping the same design while,  is not in the same time as they used to be, competition is tough now, people have different thoughts of technology as they used to, they have to innovate, people like to be please visually, why do you think car companies keep changing the body style of their cars, because people like to be pleased visually, so  keeps doing the same thing as the past, they come out with a new iPhone the the next year they come out with the S version so people can upgrade to the same but faster iPhone.

    • Rowan09

      Competition was always tough and change is inevitable on technology. Android changed drastically since its inception and it’s the most used OS.

  • Newgunnerr

    I’m sure Apple’s stocks will skyrocket in 1 year and a few weeks (10th anni)

  • Newgunnerr

    Man if I just had the chance to talk to Tim in real life and ask him why Apple doesn’t implement customization in iOS (e.g. Control center)

    • James G

      He’d have an answer and you probably wouldn’t like it. It’s definitely a decision on their part so far, not a lack of imagination.

    • :D

      Yeah I bet they could even implement it after about a couple of days’ work at most – they have no reason not to!! It doesn’t take away the simplicity either since there’s not much complicated about choosing what apps/settings show up.

  • Elias Chao

    Number 7 will blow your mind!!

    • James G

      You won’t believe what they commented next.

  • n0ahcruz3

    6s was a dud, it may have outsold other handsets but for apple and wallstreet its a disappointment sales-wise. 5c was a mistake cheap plastic phone with 16gb starting at 499$ is a bit overprice for a midrange phone. And thats why the SE is only $399. The new Macbook not good with 1 port i think its a downgrade from Air, I’d rather take the Air than the new Macbook and thats why Macbook sales also down(Macbook refresh is a must). iPad? LOL. Those are some of the mistakes apple made IMO. Nothing is compelling about a rose gold, 3D touch, 2gb, 12mp/5mp camera upgrade. Lets hope apple will deliver this time. Thats my 2¢.

    • nonchalont


    • Rolf Bause

      Agree, especially if you look at the competition these days: OnePlus 3 with 6gb of ram, 5,5″ amoled and 18mp sensor – for 400 bucks.

  • Mark S

    Without having to read that article I would guess to use anyone that installs it as a free guinea pig. They probably collect data on what works what doesn’t what you use, etc.

  • Diego Milano

    Huh? I rarely use Maps, I didn’t even try Maps when I downloaded their beta software, so I guess that makes me a useless beta tester, even if I may have helped them squash several bugs totally unrelated to such an app.
    This makes no sense, not even to themselves. 🙂