It's been a week since the iPhone location-tracking scandal began and still no official statement from Apple. But according to an email exchange obtained by MacRumors, CEO Steve Jobs remains unapologetic and says Google's Android phones are the real culprits.
"We don't track anyone. The info circulating around is false," reads an email from Jobs to a customer complaining about reports that the iPhone transmits users longitude-latitude coordinates to Apple.
Tech bloggers are taking the emails at face value because Jobs has a history of replying to customers from his corporate email account and MacRumors says the headers of the email match with previous Jobs emails. The remarks are being interpreted as particularly blunt. At one point, the customer wonders why he shouldn't switch to Android because Google doesn't track his every move. "Oh yes they do," responds Jobs.
If the email is real, then Apple customers shouldn't expect any kind of an apology from the tech giant. But surely people deserve more of an explanation than this in light of last week's news. First off, it's true that there's no certifiable evidence that Apple tracks iPhone customers. However, last week's Wall Street Journal field test shows that Apple could spy on people with information it already has from iPhones and has every reason to do so (the location-based services business is expected to be a $8.3 billion industry by 2014). On top of that, when the same location privacy concerns were raised about Google, the search giant responded in a timely manner last week explaining why it uses smartphone data and how it's anonymized on its servers so no one can trace it to a specific user. Those would be reassuring words for many iPhone users but for now all the tech world has to latch onto is an anonymous alleged email exchange with Jobs. Not exactly a sophisticated PR move from the world's most valuable technology company.