UK lifestyle site T3 has an in-depth interview with Phil Schiller, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing. The interview covers a wide range of topics including the iPhone X, Face ID, AirPods, ARKit, HomeKit, the Apple Pencil, the iMac Pro, and the HomePod.
Schiller credits Apple’s tight integration of software and hardware and cross-team collaboration with the success of Face ID:
Other companies certainly have had the vision of ‘can you unlock something with someone’s face?’ but no one [has] actually delivered technology as advanced and capable and ubiquitous and consumer friendly as Face ID. And that is the direct result of this collaboration, and how these teams work for years together on a simple powerful idea with all that technology.
He also uses the AirPods as an example of the extent of the engineering that goes into making a product as seemingly simple as the AirPods:
So frequently, I talk to customers who say, ‘My favourite product Apple has ever made are AirPods.’ And that’s just a really nice thing to hear. I love when customers respond that one of their favourite product is something this simple, and yet so much work went into it.
At the surface level, it’s an incredibly simple product. But the reality is it’s actually an incredibly complex product to make. Each AirPod really is its own computer, running software and hardware. And those two computers need to deliver this very clear experience that you want, and they have to work together, because we’re very attuned to synchronisation in audio as a species. And so it has to work the way you want.
One of our favourite features is just the idea that you take it out and the music stops – you put it back in and it keeps going again. “Again, that’s a simple idea, but took a lot of engineering to make it work quickly, reliably, for all of us in all different ear sizes and different situations. And they have to work with this iPhone that may be in your pocket or your bag, across your body. And as you know, our bodies are big bags of water, which are really bad for radio signals to get through.
Phil Schiller has an impressive knack for explaining Apple’s vision for its products, which makes this interview worth reading in its entirety.