On Tuesday, BuzzFeed published details from a 20-minute interview (the length of a car ride through Manhattan) with Apple CEO Tim Cook. But the highlight of the whole conversation isn’t the latest news on Live Photos or iMacs vs. iPad Pros. It’s something iPhone users actually already wanted to know.
When asked about the un-deletable default apps that plague Apple’s mobile devices, likes Stocks and Tips, Cook said:
This is a more complex issue than it first appears. … There are some apps that are linked to something else on the iPhone. If they were to be removed they might cause issues elsewhere on the phone. There are other apps that aren’t like that. So over time, I think with the ones that aren’t like that, we’ll figure out a way [for you to remove them].
We’ll figure out a way. That sounds promising! The Voice Memos app is probably not central to the core of what allows an iPhone to function, but you could imagine a scenario where an app like iMessage sometimes talks to one of the other default apps like Notes or Calendar, and eliminating one would break some functionality in the other. (This could get especially complicated on the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, because 3D Touch allows you to “peek” between apps without actually switching between them.)
Cook also addressed another criticism of iOS’s un-deletable default apps. “It’s not that we want to suck up your real estate,” he said. “We’re not motivated to do that. We want you to be happy. So I recognize that some people want to do this, and it’s something we’re looking at.”
He’s probably speaking to a critique that I and others have made about default apps taking up precious space on low-end 16GB devices, thus pressuring users to pay for iCloud. This would be a good capitalist motivation whether or not Cook wants to admit it, but it’s refreshing to hear him address the topic directly.
Cook didn’t definitively promise that default apps will become deletable, but we all know that he (and Apple in general) is comfortable declining to comment or just staying silent when he doesn’t want to talk about something, so this could actually mean something.