Daring Fireball founder John Gruber sat down with Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller at WWDC for a live version of Gruber's podcast The Talk Show. Here, to the best of our ability, is a full transcript of their remarks, interspersed with occasional audience response.
On introducing Phil
Gruber: So, I have one guest for tonight, and it truly is—I use the words all the time when [John] Moltz is on the show—I say, "a very special guest;" that's not a very special guest.
This time I do have a very special guest, and I am very excited to introduce him. Ladies and gentlemen, I shit you not: [Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing] Phil Schiller.
Audience cheers, deafening applause... which dies down and turns into laughter when no one appears on stage. A few scattered boos. More laughter. And then:
Schiller: Good evening!
Schiller pops out from behind the curtain. The audience explodes.
Schiller: Hello. Hi.
Schiller: One giant selfie, everybody. No.
From the audience: "Schiller's my guy!"
Schiller: Wow! And I think Moltz is so funny, so I can't believe I got the cheer.
On the keynote
Gruber: So my first question every year at this event is always, "How did you think the keynote went yesterday?"
Schiller: Well, they finally introduced all the things I was expecting, so...
Schiller: I think it went amazing. I was so impressed, and everyone did a great job. From [Apple CEO] Tim [Cook], on to [Apple Music executive] Jimmy [Iovine], and, and...
Laughter, directed toward Iovine's name.
Schiller: Yeah. A lot of work goes into it, so I don't think a company on this earth could have done better.
Gruber: I heard some laughter when you said Jimmy.
Gruber: Alright, one person who did not appear on stage was... you. Which was...
Gruber: ... Highly unusual! How many keynotes in a row had you been on-stage prior to that?
Schiller: I've taken part, either presenting or demoing, over 50 keynotes in a row. Yeah.
Gruber: So you should have gone for 56, would have been, like, a Joe DiMaggio streak.
Schiller: [laughs] No, no, there was no other reason than it just worked out that way this time. But I worked really hard on it, so.
Gruber: I thought that the opening with the Bill Hader short film was so great, but so over-the-top well-produced. When did the gears get started on doing that?
Schiller: Well, a year ago, we started thinking, "We need a really good video next year." Truly. And I think about three weeks ago, we came up with the idea.
Schiller: [laughs] So... By the way, if anyone has a really good idea for an opening video next year: email@example.com, I'll take all suggestions. [laughs] We do, y'know — what's that?
From the audience: "Do the Talk Show!"
Gruber: My only complaint is that it seemed to me that you cheated at the end. Because that didn't look like... Presidio. [laughs]
Schiller: So the idea of the video—and we knew it would throw some people, so... you're in that group—that it started by saying "Yesterday's Rehearsal" and it was meant to be in a secret location where they were rehearsing separate from Moscone so that people wouldn't know what the big production was, and that was the reason that it looked different, and... That's our story and we'll stick to it!
Gruber: I should state up-front that the... [laughs] The rules for this interview were actually extremely simple. Phil said to me, "Ask me anything. I may not answer everything."
Schiller: [giggles] This is true. But you know our PR rules, if you ask me some questions I don't like, you'll never speak to us again for the rest of your life.
Huge audience laughter. "Yeah!"
Schiller: [laughing] Not true. Whoever said "yeah" doesn't know... I'm not gonna use that word.
Gruber: Meanwhile, someone from Apple PR is up there with a gun pointed at my head... Like, a stun gun.
Gruber: So like, if I go down, then Adam [Lisagor] is right there ready to come out and take over. So the show will go on!
Gruber: Alright, serious question. Very serious. And it's going to come out differently today—a day after the keynote—than I maybe expected it to. But... I'm sure you've noticed it, and it's not just this year, it's been growing over the last few years, is—people keeping track over the diversity of the speakers in keynote addresses of various companies at various events.
And that one way that Apple has had an imbalance in that regard is the number of women in keynotes. Now, yesterday, that—talking about streaks—that streak was over. Jennifer Bailey—
Gruber: —introduced Apple Pay, or the improvements to Apple Pay, and Susan Prescott, I thought, killed it.
Schiller: I do too. She did.
Gruber: I honestly think that the "I read ESPN for the articles" got a bigger laugh than the Bill Hader thing, I mean that... But talk to me about that. Does that deserve a "Finally"?
Schiller: No. In fact, far—honestly, far from it. It deserves a, "That's good, more of it." Not a "Finally."
Yeah, there's clearly...
Schiller: There's either some really high-pitched guys out there, or there are women in the audience, so cool—I can't see anything, so that's awesome.
This is a—clearly a topic that's been growing in technology. Not just about Apple, about all companies, particularly here in the [Silicon] Valley. And it's long overdue—and it's been gaining momentum—that there are not enough women and minorities both represented across all technology companies. It's time to start counting it, paying attention to it, but more importantly, doing something proactively to help.
And there are a lot of things that Tim has championed and driven at Apple under his leadership, and this is one of those things on the list.
He cares deeply about diversity at Apple, and believes that this isn't just something to do because people tell you to do it, but because ultimately we will make better products, and our customers will get better products because you have a diverse group of people all bringing their talents and ideas to making those products. And ultimately, you'll do a better job, and we'll all be happier.
And so how do you do that? Well, there are a number of things you do: One of them is, you present some role models and say, "Look, you can be a young girl in technology who wants to learn to become a programmer, become a marketing person, whatever—and there are people who have gone that path and have been successful. And you should too. Look up to that, and want to be that."
And he cares deeply about it, and so we were really happy with this show, that we had both Jennifer and Susan—y'know, their roles are deeply involved in exactly what they presented. Jennifer's worked on Apple Pay from the start. I've been working with Jennifer at Apple since, um, late 80s/early 90s. Susan's worked on my team for a good decade now doing product marketing.
And not only are they really smart, great speakers, deeply involved, and passionate about Apple—but those were two vice presidents at Apple. Right? They're in leadership roles. And so that's good. It's a start. It's, we want to see more and more of that, always.
Gruber: Right, and my take has always been that the jist of it is, it has to be more than just the surface level of, "Okay, we will pick a woman, or somebody else, or person of color to go on stage."
Because the way you guys do the keynotes, it's the people who are responsible for the thing doing it. And so, there needed to be Apple Pay news for Jennifer Bailey to go out and do it.
Gruber: Right. And so that's even better, though, because that means that they really are in these positions of influence and, y'know, getting shit done.
On Apple's executives and their love of sports
Gruber: Alright. What kind of deal does Eddy Cue have with the devil...
Gruber: He's a Duke fan, and they won the championship. He's a Warriors fan—they've never even been in the finals before, now they're in the finals. What is going on there?
Schiller: [laughs] Well, let me unwind that question, because there's two different parts to it.
First, Duke: It's no secret—Eddy went to Duke, been a fan since he was in college, he's good friends with Coach K... If you don't know Duke and basketball, Coach K is the greatest-winning-NCAA coach. And so rooting for Duke, like, isn't a big gamble that they're not going to win some championships. 'Cos, they can do it whether he roots for them or not. But he has rooted for them since college.
So that's not it. You don't need a big deal to make that happen. That's happening.
But the Warriors... Eddy has been a fan of theirs for a couple decades.
Schiller: Going to games. So he's been through some lean times. And he's due. And so, if you know Eddy like I do—and we're really great close friends—Eddy is one of the most loyal people you can ever have as a friend or co-worker, and so he's been loyal to his sports teams.
And the last thing I'll say on this is: If somebody's doing a deal with the devil for the Warriors, that's one crappy deal, because it's been, what, 40 years without a championship?! You're not a good deal-maker.
Laughs. "Who cares?"
Schiller: I care! I care.
On OS X El Capitan
Gruber: Alright. Let's get down to some of the products that you guys talked about yesterday at WWDC. So, I think I'll stick roughly to the order, y'know, go in your order.
OS X El... I'm going to mispronounce it.
Laughter. "El Cap!"
Schiller: You said it well last show.
Gruber: [laughs amidst hoots from the audience] I'm a good guesser!
Gruber: I really did guess!
Schiller: At least one of you did.
Gruber: [laughs] It is, I know there are definitely new features, some of the features are very cool. I love the new mouse shake thing—
Gruber: I'm serious! I have a giant 5K iMac. I need to know where my mouse is. But there used to be an init), way back in, like, the ancient era that did the same thing.
Gruber: When the screens were this big!
Schiller: I know. [laughs] You had a nine-inch black-and-white Mac screen, you had to go like this to find your cursor, what was wrong with us?
But yeah, in fact, I kid you not, I did it this afternoon. I was working on some slides, I'm on a 27-inch iMac, and I went "Augh, where's my cursor?"
And I, like, did the shake, and like "Aughhh, I'm not on El Capitan yet on this system, it's not working!"
It becomes very intuitive, very quickly.
Gruber: In large part, though—like I said, there are some new features—but it is mostly a stability and refinement release of OS X. Or at least in large part that's part of the focus of it.
And that is what led me to guess El Capitan, because it's like... There was Leopard and then Snow Leopard, which was sort of a "Hey, let's slow down on the new features and work on reliability;" and then there was Lion and Mountain Lion; and I thought, "There's no such thing as Mountain Yosemite," so...
Schiller: Very astute. But, to your point, no. We don't think of it as only a stability and performance release. That is a big part of it, but the features the teams have worked on we think will matter to all of us in our everyday lives using these systems.
They took a lot of work, and some of them will have significant ramifications for a long time; I think most of all with Metal on the Mac on that. It's a huge opportunity for all of us. So, I think there are some really important things in this.
Gruber: Yeah, I guess that is a big one. And it really does, sort of, it's like this virtuous circle where you've got all these game developers—top game developers—cranking on iOS games for years, and adopting Metal very quickly in the last year, and already having code ready to go. And it really does—iOS is really helping the Mac here in terms of elevating the Mac as a gaming platform.
Schiller: Absolutely, especially in this case. It's, there's great leverage there. But it's not just for the gaming. I mean, that's a big part of it. It's great for pro apps, and we've seen that: Adobe came in and did some work, and we're really impressed with what they could do on it.
And our own teams have done it with systems, as [Apple senior vice president] Craig [Federighi] talked about, to have graphic software layers from the system starting to get accelerated with it, we see big benefit.
So I think it has a systemwide opportunity.
Gruber: Well, my son just wanted to thank you for the gaming.
On Apple, software stability, and Marco Arment
Gruber: But there has been in the last year, a sort of, I don't know if it's a meme, but a talking point that gained a lot of "Yeah, me too, I agree!" The basic gist of it being: Apple's software isn't as reliable as it used to be. And it got out there... I don't know, I forget, somebody wrote something about that...
Schiller: No! No, let's just deal with the elephant in the room. Marco [Arment]! So, there's a reason many of you read Marco's blog: He's a smart guy, and he's a passionate guy, and I read his stuff, too. So it's worth it.
And so, complete respect for your perspective and your belief. Don't share them in this instance, but I respect it! And I mean that.
Schiller: [laughs] Try to be magnanimous, and you somehow step in it. So, there's no doubt. With every release there's bugs, and there's things we hit on, and there's things that the team's passionate about getting out there and fixing.
But we're also very careful about tracking crash logs, and AppleCare calls, and Genius Bar visit, and we even have a tool that is able to follow a lot of user forums to ascertain what the complaints are, and try to really gather a good metric, set of metrics on all the issues.
And in this case, I do think the storyline isn't really accurate with the reality. Not to say there aren't bugs, there aren't things driving some people crazy—there are. Of course there are. But it isn't a change. In fact, if there's any change, I think the biggest change in Yosemite—truthfully—over the last year, was that we had a faster adoption rate of OS X than of any Mac in history.
And so you saw a larger number of users, faster in the release cycle, in more diverse networks and environments, in different uses, and that surfaced even more things that would kind of happen over a slower ramp.
And so, there were things to chase out and go work on, no doubt about it. But I wouldn't say it's systemic to some issue, or some wider thing going on. Not in any way.
Gruber: Yeah, I—the feedback I got, it seemed like you guys were taken a little surprised by that, because a lot of the things that you measure were all saying "This is better than before! We're seeing fewer crash logs per user; we're seeing fewer of certain problems."
And I kind of feel like maybe what maybe got lost in the shuffle there is that a lot of the problems people were having were things that don't even generate crash logs. And it's sort of like... y'know, like some of this discoveryd stuff, it's just like, "All of a sudden, my printer just isn't connected anymore."
[amidst laughter from the audience] No, I...
Schiller: Hey, we take—you gotta take the good with the bad. That's okay. All get it out of our system. Let's laugh about discoveryd.
Laughter and cheering.
Schiller: You know, there's an example where I think everyone should be proud that if we're going to try something... It's great to try things, sometimes it's okay to take a risk, you don't want everything to stay and never change.
But if things aren't perfect, and people are telling us they're not happy with how something's working, here we are. We haven't shipped El Capitan yet, [we're] already dealing with that within this one-year cycle inside of that to make a big change to make things better, and I think that's a sign of how much the team is willing to self-analyze what the situation is and do whatever's right.
Gruber: So, just for the record, before we move onto the next topic, you guys do read the Radars that they file?
On iOS 9 and iPad productivity
Gruber: Next up was iOS, iOS 9. And there's a lot in iOS 9. There's the multitasking, and the keyboard, and the trackpad. All, to me, the gist of it is for a lot of people, this becomes a lot more of a productivity machine. Like, a huge leap forward for advanced iOS users, iPad users.
Schiller: In particular, the iPad features: The team for the last couple years has been looking at what we think would be changes in the experience.
Remember, when we launched iPad, the very first iPad, a lot of work went into rewriting all of the applications in the system to take advantage of that big beautiful screen, and a lot of thought went into that.
And then, we put that out in the world, and saw how people use it, and then we went back to it, and said "Well, what are the next things we need to do [that are] unique for iPad, to make it a more productive, more useful product in the things you do. And one of the things was to help you use multiple applications in new ways.
And it actually took a couple years of development to get to this. It wasn't, like, someone woke up six months ago and said "Hey, let's do multi-window, multitasking on this."
It took a while to, for example, put out last year the size classes and auto-layout in iOS so that people can develop ostensibly for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, but we knew that by doing that work, we were laying the groundwork to make this happen with El Capitan as well.
So some of these things take multiple years to put everything in place; to do it the right way. Because you can rush it out and do it the wrong way, and then we don't all like when we are.
Gruber: I thought it was the... I was sitting, not in the middle, but farther back, I was really in the mix with the developers, too. And I thought that that got the weirdest reaction—like, the most mixed reaction from the audience—was when Craig said, "You've already done the work, if you've been listening to us and done this Auto Layout and the Size Classes, you've already got it."
And there was this really mixed reaction, where it seemed like half of the developers were like, "Yes!" And they totally understood how Twitter maybe came in and did 50 minutes of work and got it working, because they already had it.
And then the other half of the developers were like, "Aughhhhh..."
Gruber: Like, when you guys offer a hint as to what developers should be doing, people should take the hint?
Schiller: I think our batting average is pretty good on that.
On the Talk Show's audience
Gruber: Wow, that's weird. My next question was about 64-bit Carbon.