On this episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask, Recode’s Kara Swisher and Dan Frommer ask and answer questions about the 2018 edition of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, usually known as WWDC.
You can read a write-up of the episode or listen to the whole interview in the audio player above. Below, we’ve posted a lightly edited complete transcript of their conversation.
Hi, I’m Kara Swisher, editor at large at Recode, and you’re listening to Too Embarrassed to Ask, coming to you from the Vox Media podcast network. This is the show where we answer all of your embarrassing questions about consumer tech and the week’s news. You can send us your questions on Twitter with the #tooembarrassed. We also have an email address, firstname.lastname@example.org. Reminder. There are two Rs and two Ss in embarrassed.
Today, I’m in New York City. I came out here to honor our friend Walt Mossberg with the Livingston Award for his achievement in mentoring and other things, but today on Too Embarrassed to Ask, we’re talking about something that’s near and dear to Walt’s heart. He’s been to all of them forever that happened back in Silicon Valley, Apple’s 2018 Worldwide Developers Conference, also called WWDC. Joining me here in New York to talk about WWDC is Dan Frommer, editor in chief of Recode, who was there.
Dan Frommer: Pleasure to be here.
Thanks. So let’s talk about how was it you went, you came and went?
Yeah, it was fine.
Yeah. Used to be a big, big, big deal.
So this one is a big one.
The fall one’s the big one.
All Apple keynotes look the same because they all have the black background and they all have the same ...
The drop label numbers and stuff like that.
This one has always been developer focused and they used to use it like eight/nine years ago to show off the new iPhone, but they stopped doing that. And since then it’s been really focused on the software.
The software. And the hardware comes in the fall.
Whatever they’re going to do.
Sometimes in the spring, but yeah. This has never been a hardware event except when it is. Yeah. Like last year.
Yeah, I saw some hardware in Chicago when I did that Tim Cook interview, he introduced some new iPad stuff, so that you never know when they’re going to do it, essentially.
Right. Okay. So this is a developers conference and is focused on software and things they’re going to do. So let’s start by talking about the biggest announcements from the event. There was no hardware at all. What? Correct.
Okay. Is that a surprise at all?
Nobody was expecting anything?
Pretty much every year it gets out to some reporter that there’s not going to be any hardware so that no one has any ... No one’s crying.
Expectations about it.
Of course they could surprise with, you know, the Apple “one more thing,” but in this case they did not do that.
What would it have been?
So last year, I think, I don’t remember if they used that terminology, but that’s ... they showed the HomePod off for the first time last year at WWDC. But that was unexpected.
Unexpected. Um, so let’s talk about the big announcements. What were they?
So the biggest ... They spent the most time on iOS 12.
Right, the new operating system.
Which is coming out in September and it’s the operating system that hundreds of billions of people use every day. It’s probably the biggest software tool that’s definitely the biggest software they make and one of the biggest in the world. So they spent a lot of time talking about that.
Pick apart what they were, the key issues between eight and 12.
Um, so there are, there’s some stuff that was designed for developers who are ...
Mm-hmm. Like the AR.
Two things that I think mattered. I wrote a post about this leading into the event. Look, the smartphone has hit maturity. There’s not going to be a new thing that radically changes the way that we use phones overnight, that radically changes Apple’s business or their trajectory in the market against Android.
That’s just not going to happen. Everyone has one, people know what they do. Over time, there could be some profound changes in how we use them, but really not so far. So the things that I think matter the most are Siri, this whole AI and voice-driven world. We don’t ... Look, I don’t know if it’s going to be how we do most things. It probably isn’t, but it definitely looks important.
It’s very important to Tim Cook. He and I had lunch recently, that’s all he talked about, was AI.
Good. He needs to because Apple should have been ahead of everyone, and they were early and Apple’s usually not even the earliest. Usually they’re second and they kick everyone out of the water.
In this case, they had Siri way before Amazon Echo existed and it’s kind of showed itself to not be that much of a priority for Apple until it seems like now they’re actually getting their act together.
How so? Because I think Siri’s the hardest to use of all of them. Amazon’s very sharp when you use it on their ... in the Echo. And Google’s is excellent.
I would say the two symptoms are, it doesn’t do dramatically more and more complicated stuff now than it used to. And it doesn’t work that well. Like, it mishears you.
Yeah, Siri’s dumber than Alexa for sure.
It’s dumber. Exactly. That’s a great way of putting it. So this year they announced something called shortcuts, which is both a developer tool and also a consumer tool. Basically what it does is it ... you know, the problem with Alexa at all these things is they have the kind of built-in recipes they can do and then you can add onto it. And Alexa has this whole thing called skills or something like that and they always brag about how many skills there are.
They’re hard to use. They’re not very smart.
I like the compliment a day one.
“Don’t you look great, Kara?”
You use more than I do. But they require kind of an awkward way of summoning them. I actually use the baseball one to play the radio. But this is essentially Apple’s way of adding skills. A couple of years ago they opened up to like Uber and some of those, or maybe it was even last year, I don’t know, time is hard to track these days.
But this one basically, any developer, it seems like can add their thing to Siri. Now, it’s not super sophisticated. But.
So what do you see happening? What would be a more popular ...?
I actually think this is a really interesting approach because it’s definitely aimed at the ... I don’t want to say the early adopter set, but definitely the set that appreciates customization and but they also kind of like an app can pop up and say, “Hey, do you want to ...?” An example they gave was the Tile thing, you know, that you can put on your keychain and that Tile ...
Track your keychain.
And now I’m remembering this creatively, so hopefully I’m not messing up too many of the details. But basically, the Tile app on your phone can pop up and say, “Hey, do you want to add Tile to Siri with the command, like, ‘find my keys,’” or something like that.
Right, which makes sense. That’s useful.
And so then you would, if you say yes, then you would be able to approach Siri and say, “Hey, find my keys.” And that would alert the Tile thing.
Oh. So just opens out like, I do that. I kind of do that now. “Open Audible, play ...”
Yeah. But those are things that are not, were not built into Siri and now any developer can basically add those cues.
Which should mean ... My mother uses voice a lot more than I do. She always is talking to the phone in weird ways. It doesn’t always answer her, probably. But she does it. And AR?
AR is the other one, which ... So, to kind of be simple and describe what AR is, it’s basically computer animations over a screen of reality. So most apps use the phone’s camera to basically show you what would be in back of your phone and then they would draw stuff over it. Pokémon Go is the classic example of one millions of people have used, but you know, there’s the Ikea room furniture app where you can basically see what it looks like if you put a couch in the corner of your living room or something like that. These are apps that are interesting technology demos, but I still haven’t seen one that I would want to use more than once ever, or certainly not every day. And the good news is that there are many years before AR is something that needs to be essential in everyone’s life.
Well, I was sick, I was getting my global entry traveler and was in front of the Alexander Hamilton Custom House today and there was a fence and there was some history and I really wanted to know about the history of this fence because it looked like it was there since 1770 whatever, and I was thinking of if my phone had AR in some way it would just know it and just start telling me about it. I don’t always ... I was just thinking about.
Yeah, I guess the question is, so Siri and AR are both ideas of what could the computer of the future be? It could be something that you just talked to through your AirPods all day. It could also be glasses, AR glasses that you wear and just kind of ambiently add stuff to what you’re [seeing while] walking around.
Now, there’s some interesting things you could imagine that for. There’s some actually very practical ones. There’s always the example of the surgeon like, yeah, that actually would be really nice for a computer to kind of help guide a surgeon through a surgery or something like that. Or construction ...
But real kind of non-obtrusive, unobtrusive AR glasses, those are still several years away.
And so it’s interesting to see Apple building up that platform and building up its technology and offerings for developers years ahead of that future, which is, you know, in my opinion ...
Yeah, it’s a big bet Apple. It’s a huge directional ...
It’s a huge bet, but they’re actually delivering on it already, which is ...
It’s a big interest of Cook’s. What about the addictive ... the gray-scaling of all your apps and things like that. It’s already available. There’s a lot of these things available, but the addictive dashboard, right?
Yeah. So one of my guilty pleasures is getting a group together and comparing our ... you can already look into your battery sections of your settings.
Which you use most. Yeah.
... on your iPhone to see which apps are used the most. And I’m not going to even tell you how much time I spend on Twitter.
It would be ... it’d be depressing. But there’s, especially in the last year, there’s been this kind of a reality that people spend too much time on their phones. By the way, I love spending time on my phone. I think it’s an amazing device. But I’ll be the first to admit I am probably spending too much time on the phone.
Yeah, it’s addictive.
In my personal life, the best way to solve a problem for me is to get educated about what the problem is and how to solve it. So the first thing that Apple’s gonna let you do is see in pretty precise detail how much time you spend doing different things on your phone, different apps you use. What kind of apps.
It’s your dashboard.
Yeah, it’s a very clear but detailed dashboard, and then it’s going to let you set limits.
Right? Turn it off. You can open Twitter or you can’t.
Yeah, exactly. You know, “Hey, you’ve hit your Instagram time for the day.” And of course they’re not gonna really ... you can, there’s essentially a snooze button for it to ... You can say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Thanks. I’m on a plane, I got nothing to do, I’m going to keep looking at Instagram.”
And then there’s also the parental controls side of this, which is set limits for your children. Allowances, they call it. You could say something like, “Let them use educational apps as much as they want, but limit their YouTube to an hour a day.”
Or Snapchat or something like that.
I’m liking that.
Yeah, the cynic in me questions how serious and whether they’re just doing this because it sounds good right now.
I don’t care.
I don’t care. I’m good. No one else is doing it, so fine. Maybe people will then do it.
And Google ... To be clear, Google also announced something like this for Android. So it’s actually quite remarkable: In basically the last year we’ve gone from — and I’m not making this up, someone tweeted this — but basically in the last year we’ve gone from Ted Talks to the two top platforms in the world now have specific tools to limit the time you’ve spent in apps.
They’re the only ones that count in this, and they should even more so put deeper filing so you don’t just go to them, because there’s a physical element of going to things. Like you don’t open up your Uber app except when you’re using it as a utility. So that’s the kind of thing that should be front and center versus — or Lyft — versus Twitter, which should be buried. It’s like putting Twinkies in the back cupboard. Do you know what I mean? Just put them back there and maybe you’ll go for them if you’re super hungry but you usually don’t and can have some control of yourself.
So what’s new with FaceTime and why should we ... Should we do this podcast with 30 other people or what?
We should. Yeah, so this is a story I’ve neglected to do for years, but FaceTime is way bigger than anyone thinks it is. A lot of people use FaceTime. It’s a huge success for Apple. It’s not really something that you do in public all the time, so people don’t see other people doing it. Although I do see people doing it at major tourist destinations. FaceTime was a one-to-one tool and now you can have a group conversation. I believe 32 people at a time is the maximum.
Right. Sort of like Google.
Skype has this. It’s not a ...
You should just have it.
We were trying to get work people to do things instead of doing it on ... What do we do it on? Zoom?
Zoom. Yeah. Theoretically, we could use FaceTime.
This got a lot more attention than I expected it to. It seems like it’s a pretty obvious thing. It looks kind of cool.
Yeah, they often do that. Work is really important. They did something recently that everyone’s had for years. Then they just noticed it and it got a lot of attention, but I think it’s an interesting thing. They’re aiming at the work market or the work together market.
Well, there’s also the app Houseparty, which younger people use and actually some people use for work too. I had a ... What was it called? Like three-way calling back in the day. It was super fun to have two people on the phone at the same time. This goes along with that, too. Sure, why not?
Snapchat. How many can you get up to on Snapchat?
I don’t know.
Even Instagram, you can bring people into your livestream. It’s an obvious thing.
Yeah, there’s going to be more and more of that. They all have to have that, I think.
All right. What’s this Memoji?
A year ago, Apple came up with something called Animoji.
Animoji. Oh, right. The moving ... I hate them.
As cameras have gotten better, the front-facing camera has more resolution. It can see the muscles in your face. It can see your eyes. And some of this is through machine learning. It’s easy. By the way, Apple did not invent this. I could argue that Snapchat filter, whoever Snapchat copied, was the first to make this part of the mainstream. This is AR here, too. This is like, “All right. Put an animation over my face.” Apple started off with Animoji, which were a chicken ...
Yeah, I saw it.
I think the poop emoji ...
Stuff like that. For a week, cool people were making music videos and karaoke with it. I don’t know. I haven’t used it since then. Memoji is basically an animated version of you, similar to ... I don’t know. What is that?
Snapchat does those, right?
They all do. I think Snapchat even bought a company that does that.
In true Apple sense, it’s way more sophisticated than most of these. Apple now tracks your tongue and sees a lot more muscles in your face than it used to. Basically, it’s a 3-D animated version of you.
All right. Okay. Just another thing, right?
Just another thing.
Just another thing. We’ll see if it’s popular or not.
Maybe for a few weeks it will be, but probably not.
Yeah. Maybe with some people. People are used to putting those filters on pictures. I can’t stand when I see them, I have to say.
They also announced the camera filters, which I haven’t seen a lot of information about as to whether every company is now going to be racing to make iPhone camera filters or not, or if it’s just something that they’re making. I have to do some more research on that.
Yeah. Okay. What really piqued your interest? Anything of all these things or something else?
Two things. One at a meta level, I think Apple brought out a lot more women to give demos.
No, they did that in Chicago too.
Yeah. It’s just something they’ve been criticized a lot for in the past. It’s not like they’re going to fire their executive team and just replace them with women. I don’t think firing Phil Schiller to have a more diverse stage lineup is a savvy approach. Apple has always had the people who are making the technology give the demos. Now they have more women onstage and I think that’s great. It definitely shows. There were some tweets or maybe it was even in a Lefsetz Letter. Like, “Apple got the #MeToo movement. No one else is getting it.”
At a meta level, that was interesting to me.
To me, the two most important things were AR and Siri. I think the clear leader in AR among the major platforms, and I think that Siri ... I think it would be foolish to count Siri out. First of all, I don’t think there’s a 90 percent market share winner here.
I think that you’re going to use Alexa, Google and Apple for different things.
They all have to be good.
You may use two or three of them. Apple absolutely needs to get better and I think that the stuff that they announced suggests that they are aware of that, so we’ll see.
Okay. All right. We’re going to take a quick break for a word from our sponsors and then we’ll be back with Dan Frommer from Recode. Dan, can you give me your best reading of the line “hashtag money,” please?
Good. It’s a very Kurt Wagner way to do that.
We’re back with Dan Frommer from Recode talking about WWDC 2018. That’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. We’re going to take some questions from our readers and listeners.
Mossberg. Mossberg asks, “Will Kara [Swisher] use Apple’s new digital health controls to spend less time on her iPhone?” No. Do you think I should? Are you? Will you use them and set limits?
No. I will look at the stats, but I’m the kind of person ... I have to set the limits myself.
I don’t think a tool ...
Yeah, I know. You used to put a lock on your refrigerator. There’s all kinds of timer locks on refrigerators and things like that.
I think that I’m sufficiently embarrassed by how much time I spend in certain things, but that has not changed my behavior yet.
I think it is addictive. I’m not addicted to anything. I don’t drink. I don’t take drugs. I’ve never gotten addicted to anything. Food or anything like that. I’ve got to tell you, I’ve got a problem with Twitter or an Instagram. Using that. Checking. It’s weird. It’s a weird thing.
So is a lot of things, but you know what I mean?
I can tell it doesn’t make me feel better, for sure, which would be interesting. It would be interesting if you could link it to your mood or something.
If you’re wearing a watch that said, “This is making you sad.”
Yeah. “Your heart rate is up 20 ...”
Yeah. I had a really interesting discussion the other day with use of Instagram. Someone who I thought was very happy was like, “I hate Instagram. It makes me feel terrible.” I was surprised. I was like, “I can see that.” Everyone is in these perfect zones and all enjoying something somewhere else. It was a great discussion. I was not expecting it, but it definitely creates FOMO. It creates all kinds of emotions just by the visuals that are on it, and I agree.
I think you can feel that. I’m super busy and then when I look at it, it gives me a ... I don’t know why. It’s interesting. It’ll be interesting studying this as the years go on. What makes you feel better? Twitter does not do the same thing. It’s just addictive in that ... like news, for example. I don’t know. What else are you addicted to on your iPhone?
Instagram Stories. I don’t watch any television.
Right, versus the feed.
Yeah. I don’t know. I follow a bunch of random Japanese guys that I don’t know who just are posting videos of life in Tokyo every day.
Oh, yeah. I guess so.
That’s kind of cool. There’s also these Instagram socialites I follow and they’re always at weddings on the weekends.
I find that amusing. My wife gets very mad when I show them to her.
I find it deeply indulgent.
Yeah, totally. Sometimes that’s good. A lot of times they’re bad. There was an essay that got passed around this week that was like, “Oh, these are bad.” Maybe it was last week. “These are bad. It makes me sad,” or whatever. I don’t know. I still find them amusing and interesting.
Yeah. Socialites that go to weddings. Dan, I had no idea. All right.
I don’t watch television, so this is my fiction.
Will we use them? No, we will not, but we hope that you will because you’re always on your phone. Narcis Mirandes says, “How would it be your ideal (and realistic) keynote?” I don’t quite know what that means. What would you want to see?
What’s the perfect Apple keynote?
Yeah, for you.
Well, first of all, let’s acknowledge the fact that there will never be another Steve Jobs keynote.
Right. Tim has gotten better, though.
Tim is great. I love Craig Federighi, who does the developer ones. I like Phil Schiller. I think he’s an interesting guy. I think that the perfect keynote is ... There needs to be an element of surprise and there needs to be ... It’s always great when Apple says, “Here’s something you didn’t know you needed. We made it and it’s awesome. You can use it today.”
“You can go out and buy it right now.”
Right, which they never do.
It’s harder to do now, especially with phones, where they have to get FCC approval and all that sort of stuff. The HomePod last year was super disappointing because, “Here it is. Oh, and you can buy it in six months,” or whatever it was.
I don’t know.
I agree. Just right as you walk out, they hand it to you.
You just give your credit card or your iPhone.
These are basically two-hour commercials. These are marketing events. Any emotional attachment to them, I’ve discarded as I’ve been to dozens of them.
You’re too old.
I’m too old.
All right. I think ideal would be ... I don’t know what an ideal one. They didn’t bring out a celebrity, did they?
Not this time.
It’s always Coldplay or something.
Now I’m impressed when they take on unusual venues, like the one we went to in Chicago, where they took over the school where I took the SATs.
That was cool.
It was interesting. We did an event the next day and the people from NBC were amazed by the Apple troops. Everybody lined up in perfect T-shirts, handing out umbrellas. Everything was locked in and NBC was like, “Ah!” The next day, we did not have it quite as organized.
Amazing attention to detail. That school was cleaner than it had ever been.
Oh my god. They had iPods in the green room. They had food. Everyone, even the school people, were blown away by how they do events. It was pretty funny, the difference between how they did that. They did a great event there, by the way.
Rom asked, “Can you record a group FaceTime video session?”
I think the answer is no because you cannot use ... Last year, they launched screen recording, but I believe it turns off during phone calls. There are a lot of laws that I think Apple doesn’t want to be the arbiter of. Two-party consent.
They’ve been on the privacy bandwagon.
Yeah. I think as a journalist who needs to record calls sometimes, I think it would be awesome if there was a feature where they could get two-party consent and record it digitally, but I don’t believe that that currently works.
All right. This is from Mark Weinrib: “Any word on updates to photos for the Mac in Mojave? I want to dump Lightroom.”
They didn’t spend much time talking about that. I believe that the new search ... There’s new photo search capabilities and I believe those will extend to the Mac version, but they didn’t really get into much detail about editing tools or anything like that.
Yeah, they need to upgrade that. Boy, I’ll tell you. It’s very hard to handle Apple Photos, I find it. Do you like Google photos or Apple Photos?
I use Apple Photos, but I don’t manipulate my photos that much.
Yeah, I wish they had better ... All right. How many of the new iOS features were not announced by Android a few weeks back?
I don’t have a number. I think that was a funny game to play a few years ago. Like, “Oh, they copied them. They copied them.”
Nobody is copying. They’ve been working on them. Yeah.
At this point, a phone is a phone. Yes, Apple is going to come up with some stuff first. Sometimes it’s going to come up with it second, but it’ll be implemented better. Sometimes it won’t be.
It doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t really matter.
They’ve got to keep pace. It’s like a weapons race, right?
It’s way more important now, the stuff that they’re showing off that’s going to matter in five years.
Is there something in Android that’s better than Apple right now?
People who like Android really like the notifications. They say it’s better than Apple. Apple continues to make improvements this year. There were some new things, like you’d be able to group notifications. You’ll be able to have a more elaborate response to a notification, including even paying for something, so that’s interesting, but I don’t know. I don’t use ... I haven’t used Android in a while, so I don’t know the exact details.
Yeah, all right.
I’m sure there’s things people like more, but there’s also a lot of things people like less.
Yes, there are people who’ve definitely gone into their camps. I couldn’t ... I tried to use an Android phone the other day and I couldn’t use it. I just didn’t get it. Anshul Kapoor has two questions, and then we got some more I just found online. “Will Apple remove Facebook from ‘Accounts’ in iOS and Mac OS?” That’s the special spot.
I think they did, actually. I’m not sure.
Apple has taken whacks at them for sure.
Let me look. This is like fake drama this week about these deals Facebook made. That’s basically just so that you could integrate Facebook into your phone.
Yeah, yeah. That wasn’t so much.
I don’t think ... I’m going to look while you ask the next question. They’ve definitely stripped out a lot of Facebook.
Stripped out everybody. Yeah. Tim had said, when I did an interview with him, “If they violated privacy, they would take them off,” although they weren’t doing them. That wasn’t on the table at the time.
This is from Daeshawn Ballard. “How do you feel about the announced updates to Siri?” You just talked about that. “Also, will it be enough to take market share away from Google Assistant and Alexa?” So, will it be enough? Answer that question.
There’s not a simple answer. It depends on how many developers integrate them if the actual usage is good, like if it’s a good user experience. I mean, the advantage Apple has is that the iPhone is with you all the time. Your Echo is not. Your Echo is in the kitchen. Sometimes that’s more convenient when your iPhone is charging.
Actually, I think the real killer for Siri in the long term is AirPods and things like AirPods, like the Apple Watch, where basically, it’s attached to your body and you can have that conversation with it.
It is, yep.
And Amazon has no AirPods. Google has bad AirPods, but they have a phone.
I love those AirPods.
I think Google, ultimately, is going to have the best AI engine and the smartest AI, but only one component.
I don’t think there’s only one winner here. I think there’s several winners.
Yeah, AirPods have changed the game for me with my Apple iPhone and also the phone. So, it really has. I just like it so much better. All right.
Fuzzy Fossil: “What are your thoughts around the implication of their Workflow app acquisition to perform Siri Shortcuts? To me, the app felt cumbersome. It was difficult to learn and/or be inspired to invest effort into it as a typical consumer.”
Yeah, so, Workflow was an app that a lot of ... I don’t even know if it’s a lot. Some enthusiasts used to like set up complicated things and you can just push a button and it would do all of them. In theory, that’s an app I should have used. I never used it. I don’t need that in my life. That’s what they’re asking you to do for these Siri Shortcuts now. I think that enthusiasts will use it.
Yeah, I won’t, though.
But most people won’t.
Yeah. They should have like 20 that everybody ...
But it’s better. I think it’s better to have that than not have it at all.
Yep. Fair point, fair point. Mark Hjorth: “How does the contactless student ID card feature work? Do you scan the card or is it through a campus app?”
I just looked that up. It’s through NFC, which is the same technology Apple uses for Apple Pay. So I don’t know how the setup flow will go, but basically, my understanding is that you will be tagging in through your ...
Through your phone. It’s like Apple Wallet.
Yeah, like any of those beepy things that are on the wall outside of a door. You’ll use your phone or your watch to ...
Is that a technical term, “beepy thing”?
Beepy thing. Yes, it is. Highly technical.
That’s what they are. Highly technical. Okay, that makes sense. That makes sense to use your phone. I love using my phone wallet for everything, with the airport ...
Everything. I use it for almost everything now.
Last time I went to Japan, I set up my watch to do their special Japanese touchless payment thing. It was amazing.
Yeah, it is.
It’s for everything.
Yeah, I agree. I never take out my wallet anymore, and the same thing with air [travel], going on the airlines.
Planet Kingdom asked, “Who should we believe as to whether Apple used Facebook user data, as reported in the New York Times, and while Apple has denied requesting or using such data or something they’re reporting? Or is the real answer more nuanced?” I’d say the last.
Yes, and by the way, like again, this is not a scandal. This is, like yeah, Apple had a deal so that you could use Facebook on your phone. Every phone company has the same deal. It’s only a scandal because no one trusts Facebook right now.
And because they think that, you know, whatever, evil, evil doers ...
They’re sloppy with their data.
Sloppy with their data.
Look, it’s possible that Huawei or one of these other companies came up with some nefarious use case, where they were quietly scraping all the Facebook data and feeding that into some Chinese government, psychological AI machine. Maybe, but I don’t think so. I don’t know.
Kurt Wagner wrote a great piece. You know, the original sin for Facebook is it doesn’t have a phone, and so it has to make phone deals to be ... It needs to be the top ... It is the top app. But Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, all of their apps are the top apps on all these mobile platforms. And so, they have to work ...
Even if they do have a phone, they would still need it to do that.
Yes, absolutely, but they certainly would have more power. It does dominate mobile apps and Facebook pretty much does.
And so, one of the things it has, as they did with the third-party developers to get people on their platform and to use their platform originally, is they have data as candy. They hand it out rather freely to everybody who wants it.
They never took responsibility for the potential ... because you see that.
Yeah, you’re going to see a ton of ... Everybody has Facebook deals on some way in order to facilitate Facebook, whether it’s sign-ins or whatever. Anything it took, they use the data as ...
Any “Like” button was generating a lot of ...
Yep, exactly. So it is more nuanced but ...
That was one of the more interesting things Apple announced this week is basically, Facebook “Like” buttons and similar things like that using Safari, you will now have to opt into that.
There’ll be a thing that comes out and says, “Facebook wants to use your,” whatever. “Do you accept? Yes or no?”
It’s an interesting back and forth between Apple and Facebook over privacy. It’s a good look for Apple. If I had to trust any of them, I’d probably trust Apple more than any of them with my data, but you never know. All these people are ... They’ve got to be locking it down now and it’s a good look for them to look privacy friendly. It’s an easy look for them because they don’t use a lot of data.
Yeah, they have basically nothing to lose.
With your credit card, they have ... Yeah, exactly. It’s a good thing, but they’ve got to have it. They cannot have a privacy breakdown in any way because they’ve taken the high road or the high horse. This, Facebook says it. It’s interesting how Facebook gets so irritated by it.
Of course, yeah.
It’s amusing to me.
Because they’re trying to make the world a better place.
Yes, they are. I forgot, yeah. As Walt calls them, greedy information hoarders. Greedy information thieves. That’s what Walt Mossberg calls them. That’s what he wrote me. He texted me, “They’ve always been greedy information thieves and they remain greedy information thieves.” So sorry, Facebook. Mossberg is retired, but it’s what he thinks of you still.
There’s a couple more online. Philip Molly Malone: “Was there anything announced that makes you think that Siri cannot fall further behind Google Assistant, let alone catch up? Should Apple make the same move they have with maps on Apple CarPlay and let people choose the assistant they want to use?” It’s the whole idea of keeping up.
Apple will never let you use Alexa or Google as your primary AI. Unless they fully give up on it altogether, I don’t think they’ll let you do that.
Yeah, they will not let you do that, and they will not let you pick, right? They won’t let you pick, either.
No, I don’t think they will.
Yep, yep. But they’ve got to catch up here.
They have to do better. They hired Google’s head of AI.
Yeah, they did.
Some of this stuff looks cool. Two things people always forget is, one, that Apple is a global company in a way that Amazon is not. I believe you still can’t do Alexa in Spanish.
I don’t know if that’s true, but I saw someone talking about that. There are Apple ... Siri is in way, way, way more countries than Alexa. And yeah, the U.S. matters, the English-speaking world matters, but this is a global thing.
Global thing. Excellent point.
Apple and Google will always be ahead of Amazon there.
All right. Looking forward before we go, what’s coming up in the fall? We’re getting a new iPhone?
Yeah, there’s going to be new iPhones and OS, new iPads.
What’s going to be different?
I don’t think I’ll ...
No, I think we’ve reached a point where every year these things will be slightly better but not life-changingly.
What are the rumors on the Apple?
Well, if you have an iPhone X, you know that it’s a really interesting device that needs to get way faster. And so, my anticipation is going to be that the XS or the 11 or whatever they’re going to call it, but it’s going to have to be faster.
You’re now in a world where you’re not using your thumb for touch ID anymore. That needs to spread to other parts of the Apple lineup. So iPad Pro is a natural candidate for that where there’s face ID on an iPad pro.
Which works — eh — sometimes.
It works pretty well but not ...
It works pretty well. So those are our two easy ones. There’s been a lot of drama over the last several months about the MacBook Pro keyboard being a disaster. Hopefully, that’ll address that. But I don’t think ... It seems like they’re ...
There’s nothing dramatic in terms of phones.
Yeah, and they showed off this thing that is going to be rolling out over the next couple years, where you can basically make an iPhone app that runs on a Mac. I think that’s really interesting. A lot of people wonder if that opens the door to a potential Mac with a touchscreen. It seems like Apple’s still against that.
They are. They are, but we’ll see.
Yeah, I have an iPad Pro ...
I have enough fingerprints on my Mac’s screen as it is. So I don’t know.
That’s true. That’s a good point. But they should do that. People are used to ... Kids are used to that, too.
Everyone’s used to touch, being able to touch any screen.
Right, but not in like a dramatic, new iPhone for the fall.
I don’t know. I think that was what we had, the iPhone X.
New AirPods, new what?
I’d love to see some new AirPods. I don’t know what exactly they would change, like maybe make the little trunks a little shorter.
But maybe in a couple other colors or something like that.
Do we care? No, we do not care that we look ridiculous, do we?
No, they’re amazing.
They are. They really are.
They’re a life-changing device.
Battery power isn’t great. I keep losing the boxes for them.
Yeah, I don’t know. Whatever.
Well, this is another thing that they announced that they never shipped, which is the wireless charging capability.
I don’t know what happened there. There’s definitely an amazing story there to be told. We should find out.
We should find ... Dan, get on it. What happened to that? Because I would like that. All right, Dan Frommer from Recode, thank you so much. It’s been very good.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.