Apple’s Phil Schiller: Face ID data isn’t shared with third-party developers; we feel bad about the HomePod delay

“Apple’s had a big year. The highlight was the introduction of the iPhone X, the ten year anniversary phone that said goodbye to the iconic Home button and is Apple’s template for smartphones in the next decade,” Erwin van der Zande reports for “But does the entire industry agree, like it did with the original iPhone 10 years ago, or is it just Apple?”

“I can ask this [of] Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing,” van der Zande reports. “Schiller points out a couple of features… The first one is Face ID, the new security technology that enables users to unlock the iPhone X with their face. ‘Ultimately what we are doing there is making privacy security even easier to do so that we all want to do it,’ says Schiller. According to Apple, Face ID is much safer than it’s predecessor Touch ID, that unlocks iPhones with a fingerprint. Schiller has a quick answer to the commentary that other smartphone makers had a face or iris recognition before Apple did: ‘They all stink.'”

I think we’ve worked really hard to maintain the trust we have with users about how this information technology is and isn’t used. First of all, no Face ID data goes to third parties. So what you enroll with Face ID, what you use to unlock your phone, that’s an algorithm that is created and encrypted by the Secure Enclave. No third party that uses the iPhone camera has your Face ID data. We did create an API so developers can use the cameras to track facial movements, to do things like wrap stickers on your face (like Snapchat, ed.) That’s different than Face ID. They don’t have all the acces that Face ID has for that. — Phil Schiller

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As for the HomePod delay into 2018, missing this Christmas, Schiller said: We feel bad we aren’t able to deliver Homepod for the holidays. We’re going to take the time to do it right and make sure it’s great when it comes out. We need more time to make it right.

You know what? A company with $250+ billion liquid should be able to get the job done right and on time, especially for a product they announced in June. It’s a speaker, not a rocket ship, Phil. Lame marketing pablum doesn’t cover ineptitude. The time to do it right and make sure it’s great was all of the time before October when it should have been shipping at the latest.

There’s nothing like digging yourself an unnecessary hole two years late, huh, Phil? No wonder you feel bad. You ought to be mad.

Missing one Christmas might not seem like a lot, but every user lost to another ecosystem is much, much more difficult to convert into a customer when you finally get your ass in gear and ship.

And, under the tree this year, there will be millions upon millions getting Amazon Echo and Google Home products and into their ecosystems*, not Apple’s.

*And other services, like Spotify instead of Apple Music, for one prominent example.

Apple really screwed the pooch on this one.

Real artists ship. – Steve JobsMacDailyNews, November 20, 2017

This wouldn’t have happened this way under Steve Jobs.

The HomePod’s internal code name ought to be “Clusterfsck,” but that’s already been taken by the Mac Pro.

Steve Jobs could see the whole picture and into the future. He would inherently know how to use Siri to tie together Wi-Fi connectivity, home automation, Bluetooth, Apple TV, sound reproduction, Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, etc. and he’d direct his staff to work towards the goal(s) he defined. When you lose your visionary CEO and replace him with a caretaker CEO, this is the type of aimless, late, bureaucratic dithering that ensues.MacDailyNews, November 21, 2017

Luckily for Tim Cook, Steve Jobs left him a perpetual profit machine that can absorb pretty much any lackadaisical fsckatude that can be thrown into the spokes.

We can almost see the smiles of the Amazon Echo and Google Home execs from here. — MacDailyNews, November 17, 2017

There could be a psychological component to this that leads people use Alexa over Siri precisely because they know the Echo is there (it’s a physical object), but forget about Siri being everywhere, even on their wrists (because Siri is embedded inside devices that are “for other things” in the user’s mind (telling time, watching TV, computing, phone calls, etc.) and therefore “hidden” to the user. Hence, Siri gets forgotten and goes unused while people use Alexa…

Again: We believe people use Alexa because Amazon Echo is a physical manifestation of “her,” while forgetting about Siri even though she’s on their wrists at all times and/or in their iPhones and iPads because Siri is hidden inside objects whose primary function is something other than “personal assistant” in people’s minds (watch, TV, phone or tablet, as opposed to “Siri.”) Alexa is present thanks to the Amazon Echo. Siri is absent because she has no such counterpart; no physical manifestation.

Siri is a ghost. Alexa is that cool, fun, glowing tube right there on the counter.

Apple would do well to not discount the psychology behind why people use certain features, even though cold, hard logic tells them it’s a redundant and unnecessary product.

An “Apple Echo” device would sell in the millions of units per quarter and boost Siri usage immensely.MacDailyNews, June 15, 2016

Something along the lines of Amazon Echo is what Apple should have done if run by competent, forward-thinking management. When Apple finally does do their version of Amazon Echo (and they will get around to doing such a product eventually) they will rightly be called a follower. The company had all of the ingredients to make their own Echo before Amazon, except for the vision, it seems.MacDailyNews, March 29, 2016

Interns, tap away!

Echo Dot was Amazon’s Black Friday – Cyber Monday bestseller as Apple’s delayed HomePod waits for 2018 release date – November 28, 2017
Apple’s late, delayed, limited HomePod is looking more and more like something I don’t want – November 27, 2017
Why Apple’s HomePod is three years behind Amazon’s Echo – November 21, 2017
Under ‘operations genius’ Tim Cook, product delays and other problems are no longer unusual for Apple – November 20, 2017
Apple delays HomePod release to early 2018 – November 17, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook: The ‘operations genius’ who never has enough products to sell at launch – October 23, 2017
Apple reveals HomePod smart home music speaker – June 5, 2017
Apple’s desperate Mac Pro damage control message hints at a confused, divided company – April 6, 2017
Apple is misplaying the hand Steve Jobs left them – November 30, 2016
Apple delays AirPod rollout – October 26, 2016
Apple delays release of watchOS 2 due to bug – September 16, 2015
Apple delays HomeKit launch until autumn – May 14, 2015
Apple delays production of 12.9-inch ‘iPad Pro’ in face of overwhelming iPhone 6/Plus demand – October 9, 2014
Tim Cook’s mea culpa: iMac launch should have been postponed – April 24, 2013


    1. My guess is that Apple made some good progress on HomePod, maybe got it to alpha quality for internal testing, but then marketing decided that they need to respond to some of the features of the latest Echo. Happens all the time.

      For fun, imagine what would Steve have done with HomePod. First, I don’t think he would have announced it so early. Doing that does hamper sales of the competition, which is good, but his style was more to denigrate the category. He would have said, “Smart home speakers are all feculent pig shit. There may be a way to do this right, and we’re watching that space, but the current offerings are vomitous pusbags offering a mind-bogglingly horrible experience.” Then he would have shipped it when it’s ready, with no acknowledgment of his previous comments.

      And he still would have waited until it is the best damned smart speaker available before shipping.

          1. I wrote, right there in the comment to which you replied, “Some design/feature decision was made after the announcement”

            After. The. Announcement.

            Hope this helps.

            1. Of course it’s my opinion. Your question was addressed to my opinion. My opinion that you clearly didn’t fully read. You asked me to “then explain why…Apple changed their minds”, but I had already offered my opinion on that. In fact it was the very essence of my post. The main point.

            2. So why did Phil apologize. One does not apologize for doing the right thing, do they? Face it, your wrong, Phil’s right. You know nothing about Home Pod, Phil knows what went wrong with Home Pod. You have your biased, misplaced opinion, Phil has the facts.

            3. KK, Phil apologized for not being able to release the HomePod in time for Christmas. He simply said that Apple wanted to get it “right.” You can read whatever you want into that.

              Your arguments are highly illogical. You would make a truly lousy lawyer. In fact, given your habitually negative and argumentative attitude, I would not hire you for any reason at all.

            4. You still have announced to the world what this great design feature was you claim was missing. Oh, that’s right! There is no great design feature at all. It’s your imagination. Gosh, if only Apple had you on board this feature would have been integrated and Home Pod would have been released as promised December 2017. Man, that really sucks, huh?

            5. An opinion isn’t an explanation. Get it now? You can’t just make shit up and propogate fake news. Who do you think you are NPR, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS?

            6. You expected a breaking news story here in the comments? My very first comment began with “I think”. To a reasonable person that would indicate an opinion, so I can understand why you didn’t think so.

              I’m done talking with you.

            7. What was this earth shattering improvement in Home Pod?

              Why hadn’t Apple originally designed the feature at the outset?

              I guess we will all find out once Home Pod is released. Released, not announced. I’m sure we will all be simply amazed.

            8. Why would Phil feel badly about something if he weren’t ashamed or embarrassed? Why didn’t Phil say,”Apple will be releasing new and great features in the future that’ll knock yer socks off.”? Well, because he didn’t and he knows more than you.

      1. Very good post Probably the most likely scenario, and very Apple at that.

        See holes/benefits in existing products. Fix/match/exceed them. (Very smart and legitimate). Slather on the BS and pretend you invented the whole thing.

        1. Actually, it’s Apple’s implementation of Siri and their absolutely bizarre Home API that the competition saw the flaws in and created superior products.

          First, Siri has just god-awful voice recognition, and there’s never a way to tell WHEN it starts listening, because sometimes there’s a delay, sometimes there isn’t, sometimes it makes the noise that it is in listening mode, sometimes it doesn’t…and the most fatal flaw of all that it has “this is what I found on the web.” WTF? When did I ask you to do a web search?

          Second, Alexa works with basically every smart device in existence without forcing anyone to upgrade their hubs, or forcing a user to declare a tertiary piece of hardware a “master” device like Apple requires with Apple TV or an iPad.

          Apple does a lot of things right, but Siri and Home is not even close to one of them. HomePod is game over. Amazon already won, and Google is taking second place.

      2. I agree with you about what SJ would have said, but I seriously doubt the delay was due to a marketing-driven feature change. Do you know how far out those kinds of things need to be handled when you plan to make millions of units of something?
        Much more likely that they ran into late-stance mass-manufacturing issues.
        Then again, like you, I have no real idea, just a slightly-educated guess. 🙂

  1. MDN take on this truly hits the mark in exactly the way that Apple management was incapable of. Worst thing is that since June you can bet that Google, Amazon Sonos and 10 Chinese start ups will have copied anything novel about HomePod in look and performance and at this rate get it out sooner. By all accounts they started this project well before Amazon and yet even having been shown its potential while it dithered it still can’t get this shelved device out the door. They seem to be incapable of willingly accepting that when their decision differs to that of a Competitor that they can ever be wrong and re-assess accordingly. It smacks of arrogance, a single mindedness can be a positive but without the vision of a Steve Jobs to make that work for them equally dangerous.

  2. I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Amazon Echo Dots are throw away items, easily displaced when HomePod arrives. They cost the price of a meal and don’t do what HomePod does.

    1. “I wouldn’t worry too much about it. Amazon Echo Dots are throw away items, easily displaced when HomePod arrives. They cost the price of a meal and don’t do what HomePod does.”

      Unfortunately, though the echo dots can be view as disposable, once a user has these they’re likely to buy smart home devices based on their compatibility with Alexa and not worry about Homekit compatibility.

      As for not doing what Homepod does, well, we don’t know what Homepod does, other than supposedly sound great, which I believe it will. The problem, though, is Amazon has a multi year head start AND an ecosystem built around Alexa and, because of this it does a WHOLE LOT more than Siri likely ever will.

      Unless Cook and company come up with some as of now unthought of abilities for HomePod will be no more than a great sounding speaker with a half assed voice assistant baked in.

      1. I think that all HomePod needs to be is a great sounding speaker. The ecosystem which Amazon has built around Echo is all about buying stuff. Other than that Siri already does what Echo does, and it’s already with me most of the day on my phone and my wrist.

  3. “Hey you useless bunch of vicious pricks: ‘eat shit!'” (is what I’d tell you if I were P Schiller). The comment about having lots o cash and therefore things should happen quickly is so mindbogglingly stupid that it doesn’t deserve further comment. What I absolutely despise is buying something with flaws that was released prematurely. My advice: TAKE AS LONG AS YOU NEED AND GET IT 100% RIGHT BEFORE SHIPPING. And perhaps Apple needs the extra time to fatten up Siri’s repertoire of useful HomeKit commands …

  4. You’ve almost got it right with this “See holes/benefits in existing products. Fix/match/exceed them.” but your cynicism leads you to the wrong conclusion “Slather on the BS and pretend you invented the whole thing.”

    All Apple is doing is building a better mousetrap and then saying “We built a better mousetrap”. That is legitimate, to use your word. You are interpreting that as Apple pretending to invent the whole thing, but that isn’t what they’re doing at all. Apple often ignites a category with its better mousetrap, and so they garner the attention, which I imagine upsets you?

      1. Apple isn’t taking undue credit. A better mousetrap is a better mousetrap, and if it ignites a category then people are going to say “iPad” when they mean tablet, or “FaceTime” when they mean video call. We say “podcast” because Apple spurred the digital music revolution with the iPod. That’s just the way it is. Apple can’t decide to take credit, it’s society at large that makes that decision. Apple didn’t make anyone say “podcast” or “FaceTime”, that’s just what happens when a thing is popular enough to spark a trend. There’s no BS involved.

            1. Everyone…
              But I’ll explain. On iOS Apple completely controls HW, SW, Apps, Retail, and thus the users you so blame for perpetuating the BS. Buying an Apple product automatically and compulsory inducts your compliance to the “club’s rules”. I don’t do clubs, so I complain…

              Next lesson… how Apple executive’s jargon becomes gospel…

            2. I didn’t blame Apple users for anything. I said “A better mousetrap is a better mousetrap, and if it ignites a category then people are going to say “iPad” when they mean tablet, or “FaceTime” when they mean video call.”

              All people, Apple customers or not say “podcast” or “FaceTime”, etc. It isn’t Apple users doing this, it’s everyone. We all used to say “Walkman” and we all say “Kleenex”, that sort of thing just happens. Apple can’t make it happen, and Apple users can’t either. It takes everyone, a phrase just enters common usage.

              BTW, there’s only 8 instances of the word “ecosystem” on this entire page, and four of those are you and me. So no, everyone was not talking about “ecosystem”.

            3. First is not harder than best. It is very difficult to deliver a product that ignites an entire category and ends up changing our language (terms entering common usage). Being first often means releasing tech when you know it isn’t ready, or you don’t care, or your stock price is subject to market forces and you don’t have a choice, or you’re in a multiple OEM space and you need to differentiate. First is usually not great, it’s just first. Why does first matter to you, is this a race where there is only one winner?

              Best is subjective though, best for me is not best for you. I think you at least recognize that Apple has changed the game more than once and forced competitors to up their game. That’s good for everyone.

              You’re mad that Apple gets undue credit, but it isn’t Apple taking credit, all they’re saying is we built a better mousetrap. Who are you really mad at?

            4. “First is not harder than best.”

              You know this how? I’m not assuming, maybe you do know. I know the opposite to be true.

              “It is very difficult to deliver a product that ignites an entire category and ends up changing our language (terms entering common usage).”

              That’s not technology, that’s marketing and business bullshit.

              First off, business success depends on so many non-inventive factors. I’m saying strictly from an R&D perspective. it’s much easier to fix problems when you can see them, rather than to predict them.

              The first cell phone, yes the brick, was far more seminal and impactful from a technology than ANY cell phone that followed. The rest were important “improvements” of existing technology. Important, but not as seminal or revolutionary in tech terms.

            5. “That’s not technology, that’s marketing and business bullshit.” No amount of marketing or business BS makes a crap product ignite a category and succeed. Face ID is going to ignite facial recognition because Apple’s implementation is better and solves real problems, not because of cool ads or a cool feature name.

            6. I know what you mean by ecosystem, it just made no sense in the context of our discussion. Seemed like a deflection and it didn’t make any sense.

            7. “Then why count on “this” page deflector…?” I know what ecosystem means. That doesn’t mean you bringing it into our discussion made any sense (you are the one deflecting). When you said everyone, that was BS, hardly anyone on this thread was talking about ecosystem.

  5. I have posted a ton of times how Tim Cook is a terrible CEO. His leadership lacks in SO many area. This is just ANOTHER of his MANY FAILS at running the largest company in the world. As a CEO it your job to stay on all the teams to make sure the progress is on schedule. Until you are ahead of the curve everywhere, you don’t have time for interviews, activism, and media b.s….. get to work jackass

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