Following the recent privacy fiasco with Siri recordings, on Wednesday Apple issued a statement, apologizing the users for the issues and announced updates to Siri privacy. Here are those changes (bolds mine):
As a result of our review, we realize we haven’t been fully living up to our high ideals, and for that we apologize.
As we previously announced, we halted the Siri grading program. We plan to resume later this fall when software updates are released to our users — but only after making the following changes:
• First, by default, we will no longer retain audio recordings of Siri interactions. We will continue to use computer-generated transcripts to help Siri improve.
• Second, users will be able to opt in to help Siri improve by learning from the audio samples of their requests. We hope that many people will choose to help Siri get better, knowing that Apple respects their data and has strong privacy controls in place. Those who choose to participate will be able to opt out at any time.
• Third, when customers opt in, only Apple employees will be allowed to listen to audio samples of the Siri interactions. Our team will work to delete any recording which is determined to be an inadvertent trigger of Siri.
That third point is related to 300 subcontractors laid off as a result of the news regarding the Siri grading program. You can learn more about it in this Apple support document.
It is great to see such a swift correction. As a privacy-focused company, Apple should show the way in this matter. Those changes are definitely an improvement.
Save the date! After the latest rumors from two weeks ago spread thanks to the discovery in iOS beta, we now know for sure that the next Apple event will be held on September 10th. New iPhones are definitely coming, but what else? Let’s wait and see, it’s only a few days away. If you want to play the guessing game by yourself, here are some graphs that will help you with that.
Alongside improvements to Siri Privacy, this is more great news! Original parts for devices will be easier to get by independent - that is, not stamped with the Apple Authorized mark - service providers.
Apple today announced a new repair program, offering customers additional options for the most common out-of-warranty iPhone repairs. Apple will provide more independent repair businesses — large or small — with the same genuine parts, tools, training, repair manuals and diagnostics as its Apple Authorized Service Providers (AASPs). The program is launching in the US with plans to expand to other countries.
There is no cost to join Apple’s independent repair program. To qualify for the new program, businesses need to have an Apple-certified technician who can perform the repairs. The process for certification is simple and free of charge.
This should solve problems such as replacing the battery and the „Service message” I wrote about in issue 79, as those independent repair shops will now be able to run diagnostic software against the replaced parts. It looks like it’s a typical win-win situation: the users gain the possibility to repair their devices for less; independent repair shops will have access to original parts; as for Apple, it is now easier for them to defend recent allegations about trying to monopolize the repair business. But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows, as Kevin Purdy from iFixit made some interesting observations:
Apple states that it had “launched a successful pilot with 20 independent repair businesses” around the world to offer genuine parts. This seems to allude to the Genuine Parts Repair program we saw leaked in March, and which we heard about from larger repair chains. Today’s news makes the program seem, at least on its face, open to single-site and sole-proprietor independent repair shops as well, which is big, good news.
But if the pricing is the same as the sheets we saw back then, it may be difficult to get customers to pony up for third-party repairs that cost more than a trip to the Apple Store. In those documents, batteries ranged from $16-$33 for the iPhone 6s through the XS Max, which is modest and normal. Screens, however, cost up to $350 in the case of the XS Max, which is $20 more than Apple’s own out-of-warranty repair cost, before the independent shop even factors in their own labor costs and margins.
Note that Purdy is discussing prices based on a leaked document from March. Prices may or may not have been adjusted since then. That being said, if Apple sells parts for $20 more than repair in the Apple Store, it will be hard for independent repair shops to offer competitive prices. Impossible even.