BBC admits role in helping Apple develop iPhone and iPad

By Stuart Sumner
22 Feb 2013 View Comments

BBC CTO John Linwood has stated that the BBC feeds into Apple on its products and services – including the iPhone and iPad – though he admitted that he is unsure as to how much weight the organisation places on his views.

In an exclusive interview with Computing, Linwood cited video editing suite Final Cut Pro in addition to the mobile devices as products he has given Apple his early adopter views on.

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"We have a very good relationship with Apple. They don't officially pre-release any product information to anyone, but they do listen to us," Linwood said.

"We feed in our thoughts and views on products and services like Final Cut Pro. We also fed in to them on the iPhone and iPad. Whether they take it on board or not I don't know," he added.

Linwood explained that one cause for complaint around the iPhone in particular is its enterprise management functions.

"The challenge we find with many of the mobile devices – not just Apple – is that enterprise management isn't as strong as we'd like it to be. While it is stronger on BlackBerry, it's not so much on the other platforms, so it hasn't got the level where we'd be completely comfortable."

He described the ability to easily push apps onto employee's phones – and then remove them where necessary – as gaps in mobile enterprise management. He also complained about the lack of distinction that today's platforms make between employee and corporate-owned apps.

"It's about the ability to have applications licensed by us verses by the individual, and separating the two. So if the employee has an iPhone with a corporate app and a personal app, the iPhone doesn't differentiate between them, and we'd love to see Apple implement that."

He admitted that Apple's focus is currently on the consumer market, but stated that this is changing.

"If 99 per cent of your sales come from the consumer world you probably don't prioritise enterprise requirements," he said. "But the reality is that Apple is very strong in the enterprise marketplace, just because it's so popular.

"So we expect them to enhance their enterprise solutions. They have been doing that with each subsequent release in terms of enterprise and security."

Linwood also said that in common with other organisations, Apple does not provide significant corporate discounts for its products.

"We're the same as everyone else; Apple doesn't heavily discount. But the market is becoming much more competitive. The iPhone was way ahead of everyone else for a long time, but Android devices are now reaching a level of maturity and starting to look very strong, Windows Phone is looking very solid, and the new BlackBerry is certainly a contender.

"Hopefully that introduces more competition into the marketplace and pushes the price down," he said.

Computing's full interview with John Linwood is available here.

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