Shortly after Apple released its official reaction to the so-called iPhone tracking scandal, the company's CEO Steve Jobs has made the rare move of speaking publicly.
In an interview with Mobilized's Ina Fried, Jobs reiterated many of his company's previous denials. We haven't been tracking anyone, he said. The files they found on these phones, as we explained, it turned out were basically files we have built through anonymous, crowdsourced information that we collect from the tens of millions of iPhones out there.
Jobs was referring to files found on the iPhone that listed the locations of cell towers and Wi-Fi hotspots that the phone had connected to. The data, which was also attached with a timestamp, raised privacy concerns as users worried that Apple was tracking their movements. Not so, says Apple, which claims that the data was not a product of one phone, but many, as the iPhone is designed to gather data from other phones as well as the local cell towers and Wi-Fi hotspots. The idea is to create a map of where iPhones connect and when, which in turn can make location services (such as find my iPhone) more accurate.
Jobs also took time to remark on the nature of how new technologies emerge. As new technology comes into the society there is a period of adjustment and education, he said. We haven't -- as an industry -- done a very good job educating people, I think, as to some of the more subtle things going on here. As such, (people) jumped to a lot of wrong conclusions in the last week.
Job's statement echoes Apple's previous statement on the matter. Users are confused, partly because the creators of this new technology (including Apple) have not provided enough education about these issues to date, the company said.
Any public statement from Jobs is a relatively rare event. The last time Jobs spoke in response to a public-relations crisis was last year, when he held a press conference to discuss the antenna problems on the iPhone 4.
See Apple's official response, with Q&A, here.