Apple chief executive Steve Jobs may have fired off another of his rare e-mails, this time to comment on the iPhone tracking story. A MacRumors reader has reported that Jobs answered an e-mail asking why the phone records a user’s location. In his reply, Jobs — or at least someone answering e-mails to his account — said Apple doesn’t track its users, but Google does.
Here’s the whole exchange, from MacRumors:
Q: Steve, Could you please explain the necessity of the passive location-tracking tool embedded in my iPhone? It's kind of unnerving knowing that my exact location is being recorded at all times. Maybe you could shed some light on this for me before I switch to a Droid. They don't track me.
A: Oh yes they do. We don't track anyone. The info circulating around is false.
Sent from my iPhone
It’s not clear what information Jobs is saying is false. Presumably, he isn’t denying that the file exists — researchers knew about it even before this last report — but is simply restating that Apple doesn’t collect the information from its devices. It’s hard to tell from this short reply what Jobs might mean or even if the writer was, in fact, Steve Jobs.
Officially, Apple has been silent about the news that the iPhone contains a file that stores time-stamped location data.
In a statement to the Wall Street Journal, Google said the location data it collects is opt-in — though not by default — and anonymized.
For the full story from Apple, we may have to wait until the company responds to lawmakers’ letters and government investigations.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the e-mail exchange or on the larger issue.