Apple’s senior vice president of global marketing, Phil Schiller, has, for some reason, kept out of the spotlight lately. This did not prevent him, however, from giving a long and interesting interview to T3, covering a range of topics ranging from the origin of the iPhone X to the iMac Pro, including iPads and their role in the future of personal computing.
Speaking about the latest – and most expensive – of Apple’s smartphones, Schiller classified his project as “one of the most audacious things” that Apple has ever done, thinking about the whole origin of the device, when the different teams inside Cupertino started propose the resources and characteristics of the iPhone X.
At that time, at the beginning, it seemed almost impossible. In fact, not only almost. It seemed impossible. And to be able to create what seemed impossible and make it possible – and not only that, but also something that we love to use – is simply a fantastic achievement.
The executive then commented on the learning curve that users have to face to start using the new device – which brings, as is well known, a whole new interface paradigm due to the removal of the Home button – with dexterity .
One of the things I see is that with technology, it is often not the first attempt that tells you what it will be like to live with that, what it means to use that or how well you will adapt; it is the first time that you set up that device as your own. That’s when you really judge: what does it mean? Many people are comfortable with it [o iPhone X] in minutes – 30 minutes, whatever. It’s not the kind of thing you have to wear for a week to get used to. […] This, in my view, is always the sign of our most advanced and well-thought-out technology: it becomes intuitively incredibly fast and changes the way you think about everything else you use.
On one of the crucial points of Apple as a technology company – the almost symbiotic relationship between its teams of hardware and software -, Schiller stated:
One of the great things Tim did was to recognize the power of collaborative work at Apple; he encourages everyone to take advantage of this, not only to work together but to imagine things in our products that would not be possible without this collaboration. […] Products like AirPods or Apple Pencil would not work without the hardware and software teams. of chips and radio, all working together to make something happen. And I think the most recent feature that is a result of this collaboration is Face ID. Other companies had a vision to “unlock something with the user’s face”, but none actually delivered technology as advanced, capable, ubiquitous and consumer friendly as Face ID. And this is a direct result of this collaboration, as these teams have worked for years together on a simple and powerful idea with all this technology.
The interview, then, touches on a complex point: how Schiller sees the iPad Pro, in the sense of being the machine advertised by Apple as the “post-PC” device? Would Apple’s “professional” tablet be a replacement for Mac or just a complement to it? The executive tried to evade the answer:
We have found, honestly, that it is both, and it depends on the user. For some, the iPad Pro is a replacement. Not that you throw your computer away – people don’t usually do that. But it becomes your primary computing device. What I hear most about this is people saying “I use my computer on my desk” or “I use my notebook on my desk, but when I travel, I just take my iPad Pro”. […] And there are other consumers who increase their computer experience. They use their computers a lot, but they also use the iPad for a task where it clearly does better. […] And what we try to do is not to tell the consumer that any of these directions is right or wrong.
Schiller also talked a little bit about the iMac Pro, which is hitting stores tomorrow (and is a real beast):
We asked our engineering teams, “Can you make an iMac Pro that is really designed for professionals?” It is really a different computer, inside. And why now? Because we take a long time. It’s a big, very big project, and that’s the way it is. They take time. […] And like all of our products, we have a lot of thoughts and feelings about it, but the truth will be: what do consumers tell us? I can barely wait.
As for the delay of the HomePod, the executive was categorical:
It’s really very simple. It is a totally new product. It takes a lot of engineering to make it the product we describe, and for it to be everything we expect it to be. And I am proud to be a company that takes the time to do things the right way. Our goal is not to be the “most”, but the “best”, and we impose ourselves on very high standards. We occasionally exceed them, but not always. And if we need to be honest with ourselves that something is not ready, we will continue to work until it is.
The full interview, which is worth reading, can be found here.