We’re on the ground at SXSW 2018 in Austin, Texas where Apple’s Eddy Cue is about to take the stage to discuss media curation with CNN’s Dylan Byers. The interview comes just moments after Apple announced plans to acquire digital magazine subscription service Texture, so Apple’s plans for that app will likely be the highlight of the conversation.

9to5Mac Happy Hour

The interview is scheduled to start any moment now, so stay tuned for updates!

  • Eddy Cue takes the stage, immediately talking about the new Texture acquisition
  • Cue said Apple News was introduced with the goal of bringing great content in a beautiful layout from trusted sources, and Apple plans to integrate Texture content into Apple News
  • Part of the goal of Apple News (and owning Texture) is to avoid issues with “a lot of the issues” happening in the media today (like inaccurate stories gaining traction)
  • He says Apple News users followed an average of 4 publications a year ago, now that’s up to 20

  • Byers asking Cue about the open platform argument that Facebook has struggled with, Cue says for Apple there is a large responsibility for large platform holders; iTunes and Podcasts has been influential in creating rules and guidelines, despite taking heat for that, that helps with media curation, Cue draws the line between open platforms and free speech with examples like bomb making apps, white supremacy speech, etc.
  • Byers is pushing back against that by using the NRA TV app on Apple TV as an example, Cue explains how that app falls into Apple’s guidelines today, but says if the app changes while it’s in the App Store, it can be removed; Cue says pro gun control apps are also found in the App Store; the App Store still won’t let you buy or sell guns
  • Cue says everybody has a responsibility in the world, when asked about Facebook’s responsibility to curate media: “We’re going to step up and do that.”

  • “I’ve gotten lots of email that says our Apple News is too far left and lots of emails that say Apple News is too far right.” Cue says it depends on what trusted publications you follow, but Apple News wants to show you more than what is most popular or what fits your viewpoint. Cue says News not being advertiser focused helps enable that.
  • Byers asking Cue what he reads; Cue says he starts his day by picking up the Apple News app, Apple’s editorial team picks the top articles of the day, Apple looks for in-deoth stories and not headlines and clickbait, email newsletters and sports news like The Athletic, car news including blogs, most of which can be found in Apple News, he says

  • Shifting gears, Byers asks Cue if he wants to buy Netflix or Disney; Cue says both companies are great partners but history of Apple is not making huge acquisitions; that’s because Apple doesn’t want to buy something that already exists at a large scale but something that will be the next thing
  • Byers asks about the upcoming original series deals Apple has made (and not publicly discussed); Cue says “We’re all in” on entertainment but not about quantity, they’re about quality. Apple cares about great storytelling from big name people and new and up and comers. “We hope we bring some amazing quality storytelling.” Cue makes connection to Steve Jobs and Pixar, says they had a focus on re-working the story until it could be a hit. Cue also teases out a technology angle that will be a “surprise” to its service.
  • “We don’t know anything about making television.” Cue says Apple knows about the technology side but it took over two years to find the right team to lead the effort (Sony Television execs) and now has around 40 people working on the effort.
  • When asked about the concept of 2-8 minute video, Cue says YouTube has shown that is not where the world is going — that great storytelling takes longer. Says 8 minute car reviews are great, not fit for hour long format, but Apple is doing great storytelling.

  • On the subject of AR, Cue says the challenge so far has been ramping up device distribution and creating tools developers can use to build AR experiences, says Apple has taken on those challenges with iPhones and iPads and ARKit: “We think it’s going to be huge.” Cue highlights that AR is not immersive with wearing goggles so it’s easy and fast to augment reality — Cue says it will be a daily use product
  • “Phones aren’t going away.” Cue describes the iPhone as not being replaced by heads up displays any time soon because they have to do all of the things the smartphone does as well or better.
  • On parental controls and device usage, Cue says Apple created a ratings system for apps, Do Not Disturb mode for drivers to make their products safer. Cue also says Apple has to build tools that parents can decide to use or not use.
  • “We don’t make our money off of advertising.” Cue says Apple isn’t concerned with regulation as it relates to privacy because it’s not ad-focused. When asked if other companies are irresponsible with how they manage data collection, Cue dodges but says Apple has handled privacy and security well — before customers cared about privacy
  • “Technology in and of itself is not for good. The people that make technology have to make it for good.”
  • “We read a lot about fake news and that’s a problem.” Cue says issues raised today deserve to be spoken about and should be fixed.

  • “Change, enhance, or make your life better.” Cue on Apple’s goals for its products.
  • On the topic of technology for good, Cue plugs the Apple Heart Study with Apple Watch and Stanford Medical.
  • Byers asks about Apple, healthcare, and AI, citing Amazon’s efforts; “We’d like to use the technologies to make you healthier.” Cue plugs new medical records features coming to iOS 11.3 and Apple Watch Activity rings as ways to help customers.
  • “We have 38 million subscribers, over 8 million trials.” Cue talking Apple Music versus Spotify — says half a billion people visit the App Store each week so Apple Music is relatively small compared to that, but both Spotify and Apple Music needs to grow by significant amounts to get to where they should. Cue plugs Rhianna’s over two million streams on Apple Music, plugs Ludovico Einaudi who is a pianist who plays over an orchestra.
  • “The opportunity here is about growth for us and growth for everyone us.” Cue says there is a huge gap between the number of people who can afford to pay for music services and do.

  • Byers asks about new products that don’t perform well, gives HomePod as an example; Cue says Apple is very happy with HomePod so far and gives the pitch for it. “We don’t build a hundred products. We put all of our energy behind a few things.” Cue says Apple can’t do great at the scale of 100 products.
  • Byers asks the biggest thing Apple has said no to in the last few years; Cue says there are hundreds of examples.
  • Finally, Golden State Warriors predictions: “It is hard to win, when you go to championships three years in a row, it’s hard to stay focused.”
  • “I’m a huge fan of her songs. I don’t think she’s a Warriors fan.” Cue on Rhianna after the ‘sit down’ incident.
  • That’s a wrap!

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