Interview

Watch rare interview with former iOS chief Scott Forstall and original iPhone team members

The Computer History Museum last night hosted Pulitzer Prize journalist John Markoff (formerly of the New York Times) who interviewed former iOS chief Scott Forstall and the original iPhone engineering team members Hugo Fiennes, Nitin Ganatra and Scott Herz.

“We knew we were doing something right with the user interface design,” Forstall told Markoff, citing an example of a two-year old girl and a 99-year old woman who could use iPhone and iPad without any user manual.

“The team was amazing and we knew we were doing something right,” he added.

“The first text I ever sent was on my iPhone, because texting on other devices was horrid,” he revealed. Commenting on Apple's late co-founder Steve Jobs, Forstall called him “the most intense person I’ve ever known.”

Jobs was “super driven, demanding and forced people to do their best,” Scott said.

“When he was sick, I’d go to his house every day. On some days, he couldn’t open his eyes,” he said of Steve's passing. “We got Siri right before he passed and he loved it because he was too weak to type. I was surprised, it just seemed like he’d always be there.”

Asked to comment on the then controversial skeuomorphic design, which imitates real-world materials like leather in software, Forstall responded by saying the following:

I never heard the term skeuomorphism, even years after we built iPhone.

I mean, that’s a horrible word. It sounds unnatural, it just sounds terrible. When I look at good design—when I look for good design—I look for something which is easy to use.

Approachable and friendly that you can use without a manual.

If you look at the designs we did at Apple, we talked about photo-illustrative, metaphorical designs. And those were infused into the design sense of Apple by Steve Jobs since the original Mac if not earlier. The original Mac had a desktop and folders that looked very much like the desktop on which that Mac sat.

And so we used these design philosophies. It doesn’t mean that we loved every single part of it. It doesn’t mean I loved every single part of it. There’s definitely things that I was less a fan of than others. But we built these designs that worked. And how do we know they worked? You just had to watch people use it.

Here's the full video of the interview (the Forstall part begins at 1:07).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjR2vegUBAo

The original video is available on Facebook.

Asked if there ever was a time he shook his head at something about iPhone (assuming he's still using one), Forstall said this:

That happens all the time. If you’re a designer, if you care about design, you can’t go through any part of your life without shaking your head and thinking that could have been done better. And I thought that for our design, even the first version. The second version you’re always making it better.

On Apple secrecy:

The thing about Apple is we all get it, we all live in that culture. They were very respectful. You develop a talent for describing what you’re working on without giving too many details.

Fiennes added that the first time he saw pinch-zooming was at the original iPhone keynote. Ganatra said he heard Forstall on many occasions talking about scrolling deceleration, adding he was “being very detailed about scrolling and how the UI responds to touch.”

“There’s a lot of math that goes into making it work so well,” said Ganatra.

And to illustrate Apple's legendary attention to detail, Fiennes said Jobs asked him to move the processor in an iPhone a couple of millimeters in order to make the printed circuit board (which ordinary users never get to see) symmetrical.

Forstall suggested Apple kicked off work on a tablet project, dubbed Project Purple, because Steve hated an unnamed Microsoft employee (Scott says it wasn't Bill Gates).

“It began because Steve hated this guy at Microsoft. That is the actual origin. Every time Steve had any social interaction with that guy, he would come back pissed off,” said Forstall.

“Steve came in on a Monday, there was a set of expletives and then he said, 'Let's show them how it's really done'.”

Steve later put the tablet project on hold to work on iPhone, asking Scott if they could take a rubber-band scrolling demo they were doing with the tablet and shrink it down to a phone.

The rest, as they say, is history.

I also like this anecdote on how Jobs scammed Apple for free lunch:

He and I would go to the cafeteria at Apple all the time, and he would insist on paying. I was like, you're paying me enough that I can afford the $8 lunch, but he'd always, if he got his food before he'd wait at the line for me to get up there and he'd pay.

And he made it so you could pay with your Apple badge.

So you'd come up there and you'd badge in, and it would be directly withdrawn from your paycheck. Somehow, I was like, 'Why are you, really, go sit down, I feel like an ass when you're sitting up there waiting for me and I can't get any long-cooking food.'

Steve said 'No, no, no, this is great. I only get paid $1 per year. I don't know who's paying every time I badge!' He was a multi-billionaire scamming Apple!"

The lunch story is at mark 1:56 in the video.

Although Forstall isn't currently building anything himself, he's “doing a lot” in terms of advising startups and Broadway (he has always loved theater and even used to act).

“It was always a passion” he said. “When I left Apple, I was introduced to a woman and we hit it off and she said ‘we should produce something on Broadway.’” Doing a Broadway show, he says, is like managing a startup.

“You start with the creative types, you invent something, then you put a bunch of money and effort and time behind it and you give it to the public.”

At the end of the interview, Forstall thanked everyone in the audience who had participated in creating iPhone, iPad and iOS. “It's not one person or even four people,” he said. “It was hundreds and thousands of people who made it happen.”

It is no secret that Forstall was a divisive figure within Apple due to its exacting standards, demanding demeanor and abrasive management style.

He was fired in a major management shakeup in October 2012, in part due to his alleged refusal to sign an apology letter over the Apple Maps debacle, prompting CEO Tim Cook to issue a public apology to Apple customers.

Tim Cook talks assistive technologies with Accessibility evangelists

Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down with three YouTubers who are Accessibility evangelists to discuss the importance of the assistive technologies built into the company's iOS, macOS, tvOS and watchOS platforms.

James Rath, a legally blind filmmaker; Tatiana Lee, a model, actress and lifestyle blogger; and Rikki Poynter, a North Carolina-based writer and deaf awareness activist, all published their video interviews with Apple's chief on their respective YouTube channels on Wednesday.

James Rath interview

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXy8KcONTSs

Rikki Poynter interview

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6_iOVSavdE

Cook explained to Poyter what Apple is all about when it comes to Accessibility:

Apple is founded on giving people power to create things, to do things that they couldn't do without those tools. And we've always viewed accessibility as a human right. And so just like human rights are for everyone, we want our products to be accessible for everyone.

He added that accessibility should be a basic human right:

It's a basic core value of Apple. We don't make products for a particular group of people. We make products for everybody.

We feel very strongly that everyone deserves an equal opportunity and equal access. So we don't look at this thing from a return on investment point of view—I've been asked that before. The answer is no, I've never looked at that. We don't care about that.

A lot of these Accessibility features, everyone can use. With HomeKit, I use HomeKit every day and control my house with my voice.

“It’s a basic core value of Apple,” said Cook.

Tatiana Lee interview

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58ZZFUDIM0g

Lee's whole video was shot with her iPhone 7 and edited using Apple's new app Clips.

Cook did the interviews to honor Global Accessibility Awareness Day, an initiative that promotes inclusion when it comes to creating products, content and experiences for everyone.

The company is currently highlighting apps on App Store that implement Accessibility features.

Lastly, Apple posted seven inspiring videos showcasing how people with disabilities are using assistive technologies built into iPhone, iPad and Mac. For the full overview of the extensive assistive features built into Apple products, check out its dedicated Accessibility webpage.

Watch Tim Cook interview with Mad Money’s Jim Cramer

Following Apple's quarterly earnings report two days ago, CEO Tim Cook sat down with CNBC's “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer to talk business and “the bigger picture”. Marking Cook's third appearance on the show, Cramer spoke with the Apple CEO about Wall Street’s reaction to his company’s latest quarter, job creation in the United States and his views on the future of Apple.

In terms of US job creation, Cook said Apple employs about 80,000 people domestically.

Of that number, nearly 25,000 people work in research and development. Cook said Apple is now buying more parts from US-based suppliers like Corning and 3M and underscored that an additional 6,000 people are employed by his company in a facility in Austin, Texas.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcxR0-ZgO5o

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTOR_of39do

Apple spent $50 billion last year in the US alone, Cook said.

But is he concerned about iPhone users switching to Samsung?

Read the full quote:

No, we don’t see much of that. We don’t want to see any of that, and we try really hard to retain people by giving them an experience that they really love. That’s our objective.

But generally speaking we measure that fairly closely, and we don’t see very much of that. On the switcher side, we were very pleased that we set a record for switchers outside of China for the first six months of this fiscal year.

As you know, we start in October and we just finished the first half in March. And we set a record there and we set a record for upgraders across the world. And so this felt really good.

Cook revealed that Apple is creating an advanced manufacturing fund in the United States.

“We're initially putting $1 billion in the fund,” he added, saying the Cupertino company will be announcing the first investment for this fund later in the month of May.

Fun fact: Cook has lost 30 pounds “thanks partly to my Apple Watch”.

You can read the full transcript of the Tim Cook interview on CNBC.

How Apple created Siri’s personality from Susan Bennett’s original voice work

Voice actress Susan Bennett revealed tidbits about becoming the voice of Siri in an interview with CNN back in October 2013.

In a new interview published Friday by Typeform, she offered some additional information about the origins of Apple's virtual assistant, provided an insight into how the process of recording Siri voices worked, why she passed on a five-year contractual offer from the iPhone maker and more.

Apple Music now has more than 20 million subscribers

Apple Music has surpassed 20 million paid subscribers, the company's SVP of Internet software and services tells Billboard. That marks a 15% jump in the last 3 months, when Apple announced it had passed 17 million users during its iPhone event in September.

That's impressive considering the streaming music service is less than two years old and up against veterans like Spotify with much larger user bases. Cue attributes some of Apple Music's growth to its string of exclusive deals with artists like Drake and Travis Scott.

Video: Apple’s Craig Federighi on the new MacBook Pro, Touch Bar and a touchscreen Mac

The MacBook Pro controversy isn't dying down yet so Apple dispatched Craig Federighi, its Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, who discussed the new Pro and thinking behind the Touch Bar feature in a short video interview with CNET in which he also defends no-touchscreen Mac stance.

He goes on to reveal that Apple had in fact built several touchscreen prototypes that however didn't impress Apple executives enough to greenlight the project.

Jony Ive speaks on MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar, touchscreen Macs & more

Jony Ive, Apple's Chief Design Officer, sat for a Q&A with CNET's News Editor in Chief Connie Guglielmo following last week's “Hello again” Mac event. Ive talked about various topics, including design considerations behind the creation of the Touch Bar, a marquee new feature of the new notebook, saying it's “just the beginning of a very interesting direction”. He explained why Apple'd rejected a touchscreen iMac “many, many years ago” and more.

Tim Cook: augmented reality is ‘profound,’ will take time to get right

Apple CEO Tim Cook once again sings the praises of augmented reality in a new interview with BuzzFeed News. Cook tells the outlet that his team is "high on AR in the long run" and he believes the technology can be "huge."

His latest comments echo those from previous interviews, including one from August with The Washington Post. He said at that time that Apple is very bullish on AR and is doing a lot of things with the tech behind the curtain.

Apple Music execs talk artist exclusives and more in new interview

Apple Music executives Jimmy Iovine, Bozoma Saint John and DJ Zane Lowe recently sat down with BuzzFeed's Reggie Ugwu for a rather interesting interview regarding the streaming music service. The conversation covers everything from the controversy surrounding Apple's push for artist exclusives to their plans for the future, and we've listed our favorite experts below.

Former Apple Watch engineer talks working with Jony Ive’s design team, secrecy, and more

Former Apple engineer Bob Messerschmidt recently sat down with Fast Company for a wide-ranging interview. Messerschmidt joined the iPhone maker in 2010, when it purchased his startup, and led the team that designed the Apple Watch's heart rate sensor.

As you can imagine, the interview is pretty interesting. Messerschmidt talks about everything from working with Jony Ive's vaunted design team, to how secrecy is embedded in Apple's culture. We've highlighted some of our favorite excerpts from the article below.

Here’s Charlie Rose’s full interview with Apple’s boss Tim Cook

CBS journalist and television talk show host Charlie Rose interviewed Apple's Tim Cook last December, but the complete video of the interview was behind the paywall up until recently.

Now, thanks to Hulu, you get to watch the whole 32-minute-long thing in your own time.

In the interview, Cook responds to wide-ranging questions, from what makes Apple Apple to whether the Apple Watch is his baby—even going as far as to suggest publicly how his company can improve its existing software and services.

Rejecting reason to innovate and other tidbits from new Charlie Rose interview with Jony Ive

Nearly three months following its wide-ranging interview with Apple's CEO Tim Cook, revered CBS journalist and television talk show host Charlie Rose sat down with Jony Ive, Apple’s Chief Design Officer and arguably the most powerful figure in the Cupertino company after his boss Tim Cook.

Ive explained how you “have to reject reason to innovate,” talked Steve Jobs and how Apple can stay hungry, discussed how Apple's products are “the physical manifestation of a set of believes” and more.