Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi Discuss Bloated Software Accusations, Upcoming iTunes Plans

Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi spoke with John Gruber in this week’s episode of „The Talk Show,“ where they commented on recent opinions that Apple’s software isn’t up to snuff and offered some details on a new version of iTunes coming in OS X 10.11.4.

Last week, Re/code‘s Walt Mossberg wrote a piece entitled „Apple’s Apps Need Work,“ pointing towards a „gradual degradation“ in quality in several Apple apps and services like iCloud, Mail, and Photos. iTunes for the desktop was one of the most heavily criticized apps, with Mossberg saying he „dreads“ opening it because it’s „bloated, complex, and sluggish.“

During the podcast, Gruber asked Eddy Cue about Mossberg’s opinion, prompting him to give some background on how Apple wanted the iTunes experience to work. iTunes, Cue said, was designed at a time when people synced their devices via cable, so offering a centralized place with all of a user’s content was key. With Apple Music, Apple decided on a design that would put music front and center while also integrating cloud music with hard copies purchased through iTunes.

„We decided in the short term that what we wanted to do is really make it when you’re in music and iTunes, all you see is music,“ said Cue. He went on to explain that Apple is continually re-evaluating iTunes, and there are plans to release a refreshed version alongside OS X 10.11.4 next month.

„That’s not to say we are continuing… and will continue to think about what’s the best way to architect the app and whether it makes sense to do a separate app for some of the components that are in there or all of the components that are in there. But right now, we think we’ve designed iTunes and you’ll see we’ve got a new refresh with the new version of OS X that’s coming out next month that makes it even easier to use in the music space.“

Cue and Federighi went on to talk about the issues that arise whenever Apple makes major changes to software, as there are always people who prefer not to see significant changes. According to Federighi, there’s a „tricky balancing act“ with software updates.

„People are serious about their music and their collection, and so I think we debate pretty heavily internally the right way to evolve these things. We tend to err on the side of being pretty bold, but there’s a lot of responsibility.

The two also highlighted the immense scale that Apple is working on, with more than 1 billion active devices and 782 million iCloud users. More than 200,000 iMessages per second are sent at peak times, and there are more than 750 million transactions per week in the iTunes Store and the App Store. Apple Music has grown to 11 million subscribers and more than 2.5 million errors in Maps have been fixed, a number presented as evidence that Apple is continually working on its software.

„I would say first there’s nothing we care about more,“ said Federighi, speaking on Apple’s software and services. He believes Apple’s core software quality has improved significantly over the course of the last five years, but pointed towards an ever-raising bar that pushes Apple to keep evolving and implementing new features. „Every year we realize the things we were good at last year and the techniques we were using to build the best software we can are not adequate for the next year because the bar keeps going up,“ he said.

Federighi and Cue’s full discussion with John Gruber about the state of software, the desktop version of iTunes, and Apple’s efforts to expand its public beta program, can be listed to over on the Daring Fireball website.

Tags: iTunes, Apple Music
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Free El Capitan upgrade is ready to streamline your Mac experience

Apple’s latest and greatest operating system for Macs — OS X El Capitan — is now available for free to users around the globe. OS X El Capitan brings with it a number of new features like Split View and Spotlight search, along with tons of under-the-hood performance improvements that aim to make the Mac […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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3D Touch in iPhone 6s is a ‘Breakthrough,’ Was ‘Really Hard’ to Make

Apple today spent about ten minutes introducing 3D Touch as one of the headline features of the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, but a new Bloomberg interview with company executives Jony Ive, Craig Federighi, Phil Schiller and Alan Dye reveals that Apple spent several years working on the challenging new display technology.

“Ultimately, this is our focus,” says Ive, squeezing a new iPhone 6S. “This is what galvanizes our efforts right across the company.” And 3D Touch, he adds with emphasis, “is something we’ve been working on for a long time—multi, multi, multi years.”

Schiller noted that, from an engineering standpoint, creating hardware that is capable of 3D Touch’s functionality was „unbelievably hard,“ coming at a „tremendous amount of cost and investment in manufacturing“ for Apple. For that reason, the company had to ensure it got the technology right.

Accordingly, Apple set out to do just that.

Working with Corning, Apple created pliable iPhone cover glass. Swipe it, and the phone works the way it always has. But press it, and 96 sensors embedded in the backlight of the retina display measure microscopic changes in the distance between themselves and the glass. Those measurements then get combined with signals from the touch sensor to make the motion of your finger sync with the image on screen. […]

To make what is counterintuitive feel normal, each on-screen “peek” and “pop” is accompanied by a 10-millisecond or 15-millisecond haptic tap, little vibrations that say “good job” to your fingers when an action is complete.

And, after a multi-year, tedious design process, Apple is now satisfied with 3D Touch.

Apple is feeling confident enough that it’s integrated 3D Touch into everything on the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus—the phone, the weather app, iTunes, messaging, and the Web. Facebook and Instagram plan on incorporating it into their iOS apps shortly after the phones arrive in stores on Sept. 25.

The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus also feature a faster A9 chip with an embedded M9 motion coprocessor, improved 12-megapixel rear-facing camera with 4K video recording, faster Touch ID, stronger glass and Series 7000 aluminum, Live Photos, always-on Hey Siri and more.

Bloomberg‘s longform How Apple Built 3D Touch article is a worthwhile read.



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Apple: Making 3D Touch was really, really hard

Making an iPhone is complex, for sure. Creating the hardware and software that rules our daily lives has been an ongoing, iterative process since 2007, when Steve Jobs revealed the first one. Since then and on up to the newly announced iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, the iPhone itself has improved bit by bit while […]

(via Cult of Mac – Tech and culture through an Apple lens)


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Apple sneaks El Capitan release date into iPhone 6s presentation

We’re all excited about the news about the iPhone 6s, so we almost missed the part of today’s Apple event where the Cupertino company spilled the release date of El Capitan, the latest version of its desktop OS. Senior vice president of software engineering Craig Federighi was onstage showing off the upcoming handset’s 3D Touch […]

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OS X Yosemite now available as free download in Mac App Store

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