John Gruber surprised podcast listeners today by getting Apple’s own Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi on The Talk Show to discuss a variety of topics behind Apple. Since Tim Cook took leadership at Apple, it hasn’t been unheard of for Apple execs to appear on Gruber’s show. The first occurrence was last June when Phil Schiller met John Gruber on stage during WWDC to discuss Apple’s recent announcements and decisions over the past few years. This marks the second time that Federighi has been on the The Talk Show, and Cue’s first.
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Very special guests Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi join the show. Topics include: the new features in Apple’s upcoming OS releases (iOS 9.3 and tvOS 9.2); why Apple is expanding its public beta program for OS releases; iTunes’s monolithic design; how personally involved Eddy and Craig are in using, testing, and installing beta software; the sad decline of Duke’s men’s basketball team; and more.
Some scoops too, including: the weekly number of iTunes and App Store transactions, an updated Apple Music subscriber count, peak iMessage traffic per second, and the number of iCloud account holders.
Cue and Federighi open up about their personal experiences with using the Apple ecosystem and how even they find bugs and usability issues to discuss with their teams. From awkward purchasing situations on the Apple TV, to the difficulties with Siri in handling multilingual requests for non-English speakers. Federighi also re-confirms the incoming update to the Apple Remote app on iOS including Siri Remote features. This brought up a great question from Gruber in regards to allowing multiple users on the Apple TV at the same time. Federighi stated that it would be possible for one to use the Remote app, and another user to use the Siri Remote at the same on the Apple TV. This makes it more accessible for those multiplayer gaming situations where buying a dedicated gaming controller at that time just isn’t feasible.
They also delve into some previously unreported numbers in today’s show to discuss the scale of Apple’s services. At peak times, Messages sees 200,000 messages being sent per second. The App Store and iTunes stores process over 750 million transactions every week, and “billions of dollars” through Apple Pay. Cue explains with over a billion active devices, there are currently 782 million iCloud users (with some having multiple devices). In Apple Maps alone, they’ve corrected and notified over 2.5 million different customer feedback issues.
Cue also belabors the discussions around the iTunes applications and the environment it brings to customers. Starting with discussions internally two years ago, Cue re-iterates that iTunes was designed at a time when everything was synced with cables. He quickly touches on the idea that when Apple was introducing Apple Music, they played with building it “all in the cloud” because “Apple Music’s all in the cloud”, but by doing so it might have limited users from uploading their music into the cloud without a tool like iTunes. Cue finalizes his statements explaining, “we’ve got a new refresh, with the new version of OS X coming out next month, that makes it even easier to use in the music space.”
Maybe we fix it in iOS 10, maybe we fix it in…9.3″, says Federighi, “we don’t necessarily…have a great way to decide when we want to communicate to you that there is a release it’s going to be fixed in.
Gruber reintroduces the previously discussed Apple Maps resolutions as a way to segue into the seemingly ignored bug-tracking system, Radar. Gruber wonders how can Radar get to the manner of communication and resolutions that Apple Maps issue reporting provides. Federighi explains that they need to sort out how to communicate the issues that they fix. “Maybe we fix it in iOS 10, maybe we fix it in…9.3”, says Federighi, “we don’t necessarily…have a great way to decide when we want to communicate to you that there is a release it’s going to be fixed in.” He goes on to say that although they don’t reply to them, they are reading them, they just “don’t tell you what’s happening with them.”