Apple Execs Discuss Location Tracking, White iPhone Challenges

Apple’s (s aapl) Steve Jobs, Scott Forstall and Phil Schiller discussed in more detail some of the announcements the company made today regarding the white iPhone 4 and recent concerns over the usage and storage of location information on iOS devices. In an interview with Mobilized’s Ina Fried, the Apple execs reiterated info found in the PR materials for the most part, but they also revealed some interesting additional tidbits.

White iPhone 4

Regarding the white iPhone 4’s production delays, Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller told Mobilized that far from being “as simple as making something white.” Schiller said that Apple’s main concern was with “how it holds up over time… but also in how it all works with the sensors.” Apple encountered problems with how the color of the device interacted with the iPhone’s internal components, and also that the white color ended up requiring more protection from UV rays than the black version. Apple waited to release the white iPhone, Schiller said, until it could ensure the device will live up to customer expectations.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs also said that what the company has learned regarding the white iPhone’s production process has provided valuable info that it can leverage in other products, like the iPad 2.

Location Issues

Jobs mostly stuck to the major points of Apple’s press release when discussing location information, but he also told Mobilized that the company is looking forward to testifying before Congress and regulatory bodies in order to provide more transparency about how location data is used. “I think Apple will be testifying,” he said. “They have asked us to come and we will honer their request, of course.” Jobs also expressed interest in seeing how other companies that deal with location data address these concerns. He didn’t discuss any companies by name, but Google (s goog) is the obvious other major player when it comes to mobile location-aware devices.

Jobs also discussed the perceived “delay” between the problem’s discovery and Apple’s response. He noted that Apple’s response took “slightly less than a week” from the discovery of the problem, and that the approach the company took was “engineering-driven” in that it tracked down all of the info and assessed the problem fully, which “took a few days.” Apple also spent another “few days” to write up the results and make them intelligible to a broad audience.

Apple is being remarkably candid about these issues for a company that’s normally very tight-lipped. It’s understandable, though, when you consider that both the white iPhone 4 delays and the company’s recent problems with location issues have represented two of the biggest ongoing sources of negative press for the company in recent memory. But maybe this is also the first sign of a less secretive phase for Cupertino?