The full interview: Steve Jobs on iPhones and location data

“Although Apple was silent for several days after researchers raised issues about location information being stored on the iPhone, that wasn’t because it was ignoring the issue,” Ina Fried reports for AllThingsD.

“Apple CEO Steve Jobs told Mobilized that the company wanted to figure out exactly what was and wasn’t happening, and then figure out the best way to explain a complex set of issues to its customers,” Fried reports. “‘We’re an engineering-driven company,’ Jobs said in a telephone interview Wednesday. ‘When people accuse us of things, the first thing we want to do is find out the truth. That took a certain amount of time to track all of these things down. And the accusations were coming day by day. By the time we had figured this all out, it took a few days. Then writing it up and trying to make it intelligible when this is a very high-tech topic took a few days. And here we are less than a week later.'”

“During the phone interview, Jobs and senior vice presidents Phil Schiller and Scott Forstall talked about what information the iPhone is and isn’t collecting, some lessons learned and the need for the industry to do a better job of explaining things to customers,” Fried reports. “Jobs declined to say whether he thought Google or others needed to do a better job on privacy issues, but did note that Apple’s approach is different. ‘Some of them don’t do what we do,’ Jobs said. ‘That’s for sure.'”

Fried reports, “Jobs said that the company is leading the way when it comes to privacy and said Apple looks forward to testifying before any congressional inquiries on such issues. During the talk, the execs also touched briefly on the release of the long-delayed white iPhone. Also, Jobs declined to comment on when he might return full time to Apple.”

A transcript of the interview is in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “James W.” for the heads up.]


  1. The timing of this story breaking, gathering predictably huge audiences, and then being resolved by Apple in a benign way just a day before the white iPhone is launching, is surely pure coincidence.

    1. I can see breaking the story the day that Apple was due to announce earnings as being dicey. I can see Apple wanting to get the issue in the clear before the white iPhone became available. But if you’re suggesting that they planned this whole thing to coincide with its release, then I have no idea why they’d do that.

      1. Millions of people are talking about the iPhone for almost a week on every news media and front pages, and then everyone let’s out a sigh of relief as Apple proves it’s much ado about nothing and they are the good guys. And by the way, that white iPhone some of you are waiting for is on sale starting tomorrow. That’s either an incredible coincidence, or brilliant Marketing strategy to bring focus back on iPhone, since the old new iPhone is on sale tomorrow. You tell me.

        1. So let me get this straight…… Apple (the company that every tablet and smartphone gets compared to, the company that get’s so much free press) intentionally releases information suggesting that they are invading everyone’s privacy, just to get press for the white iPhone? Riiiiiight I think you may be watching a little too much tv. 🙂

          1. I think that Apple is secretly sending radio waves from it’s phones that gets into people’s heads and alters their brain activity to make them more susceptible to conspiracy theories. Oh God!!! See! it’s happening to me!!! Somebody needs to investigate this fast!!!

          2. Noooo, it’s FUD to distract the press from Apple’s real, nefarious plan: Get a mini-Reality Distortion Field device (a/k/a iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) in every hand in the world!!


        2. iRobot writes:

          “Millions of people are talking about the iPhone for almost a week on every news media and front pages, and then everyone let’s out a sigh of relief as Apple proves it’s much ado about nothing and they are the good guys. (et al)”

          If it’s much ado about nothing, then why did they address it, and why is there already a ‘fix’ for it, i.e., clearing out the cache when Location Services is turned off? Would any of that ‘fix’ been devised if there was nothing to the concerns of collecting individual users’ traffic information? One ponders…..

    2. Please tell me you don’t also believe Enderle’s paranoid “fifth column” nonsense too. Small minds see a small world with conspiracies under every rock.

      I’m far more inclined to go along with TheMacAdvocate’s more sensible and level-headed response – competitors would have a reason to distract people from Apple’s stellar quarter results, and Apple would have a reason to get a clear, precise answer out there as soon as possible.

      The fact that the white iPhone is being released now, to my mind, has nothing to do with any of this. I mean, it already had everyone’s attention just because it had been so long ago promised and not yet delivered – Apple hardly needed to do anything further to drive interest in it.

      1. Did you know that the Titanic was an inside job? They say that it sunk because it was hit by an iceberg. But, did you know that ice is not as strong as metal? How can something made out of ice possibly wreck a ship made of metal? Too many unanswered questions if you ask me.

          1. Fantastic point! If you’re thinking what I’m thinking (and I’m thinking you are thinking what I’m thinking) then all plane crashes must be inside jobs. We could be on to the biggest conspiracy of all time. Good lord! The Wright Brothers, Amelia Earhart and Air Force One must all be involved!

  2. What gets me are the people who think Apple is in fact doing something nefarious and are trying cover it up. This is completely ridiculous given the fact that Apple knows people jailbreak their devices. Apple knows this allows people to look through the file system. Apple knows people will open and examine files. With all that considered, why would they leave the file accessible and not encrypt it to begin with? It would seem to me that if I wanted to do something “in secret” I would make sure no one could look at the data and encrypt the file. Furthermore, I wouldn’t sit in front of Congress and disclose what I was doing.

    The doomsayers here don’t understand that operating system activity can be monitored for pretty much anything. If Apple were using the data for evil purposes it would have been discovered.

    The fact is if you had inkling of logic in your head and a basic understanding of how any location device works, you’d know that it’s much more efficient to keep a local cache of geo-tagged landmarks (Wifi and cell towers) in order to calculate a location much quicker and with less network traffic.

  3. There’s no such thing as bad publicity.

    Well, Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan may be the exceptions that makes the rule.

    To think that Apple engineered all this to sell white iPhones is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

  4. There are fantasized, tabloid style reports from unreliable or a joke of a source then there are the facts as presented by Apple. Like antennagate, no one could prove Apple was hiding something because Apple wasn’t and isn’t hiding anything.

    In an age where proof-less conspiracy theories make the front page, some people are becoming less intelligent to derive truth from fiction or the lame news.

  5. This evening on my local NPR’s Nightly Business Report in reference to Sony’s delay addressing their network issues quoted a study by Intuit. In the study they found the companies that rushed out press replies to address unfolding issues spent 54% more for poorer results than companies that waited.

    1. The problem is, the people who demand to know right now, already have an opinion formed and it is usually negative.

      Most of the whiners believed Apple was doing something wrong and the knew about it, so their response should be immediate.

      And now that Apple has responded, these people think Apple is just trying to cover it up by lying. Which confirms the fact that they prejudged the issue and are biased against Apple.

  6. I thought it’s Bermuda Triangle instead of Bethlehem…what a joke to see quite a bunch of so called Americans have such an idiotic mentality nowadays.

    Keep up with the good work, SJ.

  7. “We’re an engineering-driven company,’ Jobs said” …

    So how come, those smart engineers tooling around the various Apple compounds, don’t know every-F’n-thing possible about each and every single file that the iPhone device generates – before it crops up on blog, and suddenly it’s … “Quelle surprise! we’ve never seen that little sucker before”

    If Sean Morrissey and Alex Levinson pointed out this particular file in their book “iOS forensics” concerning iOS 4 devices which wash published on December 5th, 2010. and at conference speeches and published papers –

    Apple must have followed this.

    This smacks of Apple knowing all about “consolidated.db” but … as they are neither nefarious or heinous, they perceived it as an innocuous file, just part of the inevitable jetsam created by the iPhone doing its thing.

    Yet this week, Apple tried to ride out this “Storm in a tea cup”, but, as they are learning all to fast these days, the majority of the media are now beyond being morally corrupt, these days the media wholeheartedly embrace moral nihilism; just to get eye balls on ads.

    Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.
    Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many.
    Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books.
    Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
    Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.

    But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

    ~ Siddhārtha Gautama … aka Buddha.

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