Apple’s Tim Cook: sideloading is “not in the best interest of the user” | GeekComparison

Apple CEO Tim Cook is interviewed remotely by Brut.
Enlarge / Apple CEO Tim Cook is interviewed remotely by Brut.

Apple has been under scrutiny lately from legislators, developers, judges, and users. In the middle of it all sat CEO Tim Cook at publication Brut. to discuss Apple’s strategy and policies. The short but comprehensive interview offered some insight into where Apple wants to go in the future.

As so often when Tim Cook speaks in public, privacy was a major concern. His response to a question about its importance was the same one we’ve often heard from him: “We see it as a fundamental human right, a fundamental human right,” noting that Apple has long been focused on privacy.

He explained:

You can imagine a world where privacy isn’t important, and the surveillance economy takes over and it becomes a world where everyone is afraid that someone else is watching them, and so they start doing less, they start thinking less, and no one wants to live in a world where freedom of expression is narrowed.

And when asked about regulatory oversight, he pointed to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR, as an example of regulation Apple supports, and also said Apple would support further expansion of privacy-related regulations.

But apart from regulations that focused strictly on privacy, he wasn’t quite as exuberant. “When I look at the technical regulations being discussed, I think there are good parts and then I think there are parts that are not in the best interest of the user,” he said.

As an example of the latter, he said that “the current DMA language being talked about would force sideloading on the iPhone.” He added:

That would destroy iPhone security and many of the privacy initiatives that we built into the App Store, where we have privacy power labels and App Tracking Transparency… these things would no longer exist.

Privacy watchdogs have praised Apple’s App Tracking Transparency movement, even as advertisers have criticized it, but the nutrition labels have been less of a hit. Many observers have pointed out that the labels are often inaccurate or incomplete.

“Android has 47 times more malware than iOS,” Cook claimed. “It’s because we designed iOS so that there’s one app store and all apps are reviewed before they go to the store. And that keeps a lot of this malware out of our ecosystem, and customers have been telling us all the time how much they appreciate that, so we’re going to stand up for the user in the discussions.”

Tim Cook’s brute. interview.

The interview wasn’t just about regulation and privacy, though; Cook also responded to open questions about Apple’s future product strategy. When asked what he thinks Apple’s products will look like many years from now, he cautiously made the caveat that no one can really predict where it will go:

We approach the future with great humility because we know we cannot predict it. I’m not one of those people who’s going to say I can look 20 years and 30 years ahead and tell you what’s going to happen. I can not do it. I really don’t believe anyone can.

In support of that point, he talked about Apple’s path to putting its own silicon in Macs:

When we were working on the chip for the iPhone, we didn’t know it would become the heart of the iPad, and we didn’t know that it would eventually become the heart of the Mac, as it did last year. We didn’t know that, but we kept exploring, and we kept pulling the strings, and we kept our minds open about where that journey would take us, and it’s taken us somewhere that’s incredible and has a great future ahead of it.

That said, Cook mentioned augmented reality (AR) and the intersection of health and technology as areas where he sees future potential. He said he sees AR “as a technology that can improve life in a broad way”. And again alluding to ambitious plans for future AR hardware, he said, “We’ve been working on AR first with our phones and iPads, and we’ll see where that goes in terms of products later.”

On the health side, Cook said he is “extremely optimistic” about the intersection of health and technology:

You know when we started shipping the watch we thought about it from a wellness point of view but we put a heart rate sensor on it and I got tons of emails about people finding out they had heart problems they knew there was none of it. And so we started adding more features to the watch… and I started getting even more notes from people who found they had a problem because of this ability to check themselves all the time. I think the idea of ​​constantly monitoring the body, just like it happens in your car with warning lights and so on, I think this is a great idea that has a long way to go. All of those things make me incredibly optimistic.

The mention of a car as inspiration elicited a grin from Brut’s interviewer, who shortly afterwards asked if Apple plans to design and sell a car. “When it comes to a car,” Cook replied, “I have to keep secrets and there always has to be something up my sleeve.”

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