Craig Federighi Responds to Google's Subtle 'Luxury Good' Dig About Apple Products and Privacy

In a recent op-ed for The New York Times, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that "privacy cannot be a luxury good offered only to people who can afford to buy premium products and services," a comment that some viewed as a dig at Apple.

craig federighi wwdc18

Craig Federighi at WWDC 2018

Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi has unsurprisingly disagreed with that position. In an interview with The Independent, he said that Apple aspires to offer great product experiences that "everyone should have," while cautioning that the values and business models of other companies "don't change overnight."

"I don't buy into the luxury good dig," says Federighi, giving the impression he was genuinely surprised by the public attack.

"On the one hand gratifying that other companies in space over the last few months, seemed to be making a lot of positive noises about caring about privacy. I think it's a deeper issue than then, what a couple of months and a couple of press releases would make. I think you've got to look fundamentally at company cultures and values and business model. And those don't change overnight.

"But we certainly seek to both set a great example for the world to show what's possible to raise people's expectations about what they should expect the products, whether they get them from us or from other people. And of course, we love, ultimately, to sell Apple products to everyone we possibly could certainly not just a luxury, we think a great product experience is something everyone should have. So we aspire to develop those."

Federighi emphasizes Apple's commitment to privacy throughout the interview, noting that the company aims to collect as little data as possible. When it does collect data, Apple uses technologies like Differential Privacy to ensure that the data cannot be associated with any individual user.

Federighi also refutes criticism about Apple's products and services being worse off because of its pro-privacy position:

"I think we're pretty proud that we are able to deliver the best experiences, we think in the industry without creating this false trade off that to get a good experience, you need to give up your privacy," says Federighi. "And so we challenge ourselves to do that sometimes that's extra work. But that's worth it."

As an example of Apple's privacy efforts, the article provides a look inside Apple's "top secret testing facilities" where its Secure Enclave chips for devices like the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch are said to be "stress tested" based on "extreme scenarios" like ice-cold -40ºF or blazing-hot 230ºF temperatures.

apple chip lab

One of Apple's chip-testing labs (Brooks Kraft/Apple via The Independent)

Within these testing facilities near Apple Park is said to be "a huge room" with "highly advanced machines" that heat, cool, push, shock, and abuse chips before they make their way inside Apple devices, but no further details were shared.

The lengthy interview goes on to discuss Apple's dispute with the FBI over its refusal to unlock an ‌iPhone‌ used by the shooter in the 2015 San Bernardino attack, as well as Apple's decision to store the iCloud data of Chinese accounts on servers overseen by GCBD, a company with close ties to the Chinese government.

Top Rated Comments

kis Avatar
27 months ago
And that’s why I switched from Google services and Android to Apple.

Honestly, Google’s every fiber is evil IMO. They monetize on gutting their customers’ personal data, not giving a crap what that ends up doing to the individuals. And what’s especially low: they deliberately prey on those who can’t afford anything else.

What google does is, in my opinion, against basic human decency. But if you look at the constant flow of scandals about discrimination and sexual abuse within the company itself, it’s not really surprising.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)
deeridiot Avatar
27 months ago
I haven't yet read Pichai's column, but the comment quoted sounds very dense. Of course we (the users, not Google or Facebook) all agree that privacy should not be a luxury good. Pichai is in the unique position to make that happen! If they improved privacy on Android and Google services, suddenly everyone would have access to it! But that will never happen since that's where they get the $$$.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacInCharge Avatar
27 months ago
Uh, my iCloud data is stored in China?
I believe from reading the article it's only for Chinese iCloud accounts.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Attirex Avatar
27 months ago
Those who can't afford, and don't have, a smartphone probably have the best privacy of anyone.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
69Mustang Avatar
27 months ago
And that’s why I switched from Google services and Android to Apple.

Honestly, Google’s every fiber is evil IMO. They monetize on gutting their customers’ personal data, not giving a crap what that ends up doing to the individuals. And what’s especially low: they deliberately prey on those who can’t afford anything else.

What google does is, in my opinion, against basic human decency. But if you look at the constant flow of scandals about discrimination and sexual abuse within the company itself, it’s not really surprising.
What exactly is it you think Google is doing? I see rhetoric and hyperbole in your comment, but nothing of substance. Evil, gutting, preying, against human decency... like how? It's totally fine not to want Google in your life, but you should probably save the overly dramatic prose for something that's worth it. Still I'd really like to know what you think Google is doing.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
apolloa Avatar
27 months ago
We will see, Apple is being sued for selling users information, that’s not been reported on this site though.

http://9to5mac.com/2019/05/25/apple-itunes-lawsuit/ ('https://9to5mac.com/2019/05/25/apple-itunes-lawsuit/')

So much for privacy Apple, sold to the highest bidder it seems... bunch of hypocritical liars.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

16 inch macbook pro m2 render

When Can We Expect the Redesigned MacBook Pros Now?

Wednesday June 16, 2021 7:11 am PDT by
With no sign of redesigned MacBook Pro models at this year's WWDC, when can customers expect the much-anticipated new models to launch? A number of reports, including investor notes from Morgan Stanley and Wedbush analysts, claimed that new MacBook Pro models would be coming during this year's WWDC. This did not happen, much to the disappointment of MacBook Pro fans, who have been...
maxresdefault

Apple CEO Tim Cook: Sideloading Apps Would 'Destroy the Security' of the iPhone

Wednesday June 16, 2021 10:49 am PDT by
Apple CEO Tim Cook this morning participated in a virtual interview at the VivaTech conference, which is described as Europe's biggest startup and tech event. Cook was interviewed by Guillaume Lacroix, CEO and founder of Brut, a media company that creates short-form video content. Much of the discussion centered on privacy, as it often does in interviews that Cook participates in. He...
2021 back t0 school

Apple Launches 2021 Back to School Promotion: Free AirPods With Eligible Mac or iPad Purchase

Thursday June 17, 2021 4:56 am PDT by
Apple today launched its seasonal back-to-school sale for the upcoming school year in the United States and Canada, offering students free AirPods alongside purchases of select Macs and iPad models. Similar to last year's promotion, this year's offer includes free AirPods alongside the purchase of a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, the new 24-inch iMac, the Mac Pro, Mac mini, and the new M1-powered ...
m1 imac back

Some M1 iMac Models Shipping With Crooked Mountings

Monday June 14, 2021 12:50 pm PDT by
Some M1 iMacs appear to have a manufacturing defect that causes the display to be mounted on the stand in a way that's not perfectly aligned, leading to a crooked display. YouTuber iPhonedo over the weekend published a review of the M1 iMac, and he found that his machine appeared to be tilted on one side, a mounting disparity that was visibly noticeable and proved with a ruler. Another...
apple watch 6s 202009

Bloomberg: Apple Watch Series 7 to Feature Thinner Screen Bezels, Faster Processor, and Updated Ultra Wideband Tech

Monday June 14, 2021 3:41 am PDT by
This year's Apple Watch Series 7 is likely to have thinner display bezels and use a new lamination technique that brings the display closer to the front cover, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. From the report: The Cupertino, California-based tech giant is planning to refresh the line this year -- with a model likely dubbed the Apple Watch Series 7 -- by adding a faster processor,...
files app ipados 15

iPadOS 15: Files App Gains NTFS Support, Progress Indicator, and More

Tuesday June 15, 2021 3:41 am PDT by
Apple in iPadOS 15 has added the ability to access NTFS-formatted media from within the Files app. The additional support for the Windows-related format, first discovered by YouTuber Steven Fjordstrøm, is read-only, so like on macOS you can't modify files stored on NTFS devices, but you can at least copy any data on them for working on elsewhere on your iPad. The Files app has also gotten a...
applecare lower prices

Apple Lowers Prices of AppleCare+ Plans for M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro

Thursday June 17, 2021 7:33 am PDT by
Apple today lowered the prices of AppleCare+ plans for MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro models equipped with the M1 chip. Coverage offered by the plans, as well as accidental damage fees, appear to remain unchanged. In the United States, AppleCare+ for the MacBook Air now costs $199, down from $249. The new price applies to both M1 and Intel-based MacBook Air models, although Apple no...
maxresdefault

Demo: Check Out AirPlay 2 on a Mac in macOS Monterey

Tuesday June 15, 2021 11:57 am PDT by
With macOS Monterey, Apple has introduced expanded AirPlay 2 support, so you can AirPlay content from an iPhone, iPad, or even another Mac to your main Mac. We thought we'd do a quick demo of this handy new feature in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. With AirPlay to Mac, you can extend or mirror an Apple device's display to a Mac, and since ...
apple new iphone case colors

Apple Releases New Sunflower, Cloud Blue and Electric Orange iPhone 12 Cases

Monday June 14, 2021 11:12 am PDT by
Apple today released silicone iPhone cases for the iPhone 12, 12 Pro, 12 Pro Max, and 12 mini in a series of new colors that include sunflower, cloud blue, and electric orange. Sunflower is a bright yellow shade, cloud blue is a soft, light blue, and electric orange is a bright orange that's darker than the kumquat color and more orange than pink citrus. The new cases are priced starting...
apple watch edition series 5 ceramic black prototype

Apple Planned Black Ceramic Apple Watch Edition Series 5

Wednesday June 16, 2021 5:45 am PDT by
Apple considered offering a black version of the ceramic Apple Watch Edition Series 5, according to newly-shared images of the prototype casing. The images, shared on Twitter by the prototype collector and leaker known as "Mr. White," show a prototype black ceramic Apple Watch casing, alongside the white ceramic version. The ceramic Apple Watch Edition Series 5 was never available in a...