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Eddy Cue explains why Apple won’t remove the NRA TV app

Apple’s SVP of  internet software and services Eddy Cue talked to CNN’s Dylan Byers at the South By Southwest conference in Austin on Monday. It was not boring. Cue strayed from the talking points long enough to provide some useful information. Here are a few of the important bits:

  • The goal of the Apple News app is, in large part, to provide heavily vetted news stories that aren’t fake, Cue said. “I’ve gotten lots of email that says our Apple News is too far left and lots of emails that say Apple News is too far right,” he said.
  • Cue explained to Byers that the NRA TV app on Apple TV doesn’t stray into hate speech or disseminate dangerous information (like bomb-making directions), so it can’t be removed. He points to the many pro gun control apps in the App Store. Cue said Apple has always sought to balance app makers’ right to free speech with decency guidelines to protect users. “From Day 1 we did not want our App Store to be a place where you buy and sell guns; we don’t allow apps to buy or sell guns,” Cue said. “We don’t allow apps that show cruelty to animals.”
  • Apple is moving slowly into producing and distributing original TV shows, Cue said, emphasizing quality of quantity. “We don’t know anything about making television,” he said, saying it took Apple two years to find the right people (mostly Sony Entertainment execs) to run its TV content business. There are now 40 full-timers working on it at Apple.
  • Cue says he believes augmented reality will be something people use every day. Apple is still enhancing its ARKit platform for developers. ARKit experiences can run on most iPhones, and an AR headset or glasses is very likely in the works (that’s me talking, not Cue).
  • On potential large acquisitions, Cue said Apple doesn’t typically like to buy big, developed platforms (like Netflix or Disney), preferring to acquire nascent technologies and build them up.


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