MacBreak Weekly 864 Transcript
Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.
Jason Snell (00:00:00):
It's time for Mac Break Weekly. I'm Jason Snell sitting in for Leo LaPorte, who is bobbing somewhere in a river in, in Europe. Probably. I have Alex, Lindsay, Andy Ihnatko is always end special guest star author, rock Onur tech reporter Dan Morin. We got lots to talk about. Apples Developer Conference, future of Watch os So much more coming at you now.
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Jason Snell (00:00:34):
Macbreak weekly episode 864 for April the fourth, 2023, the War on Buttons.
This episode of Mac Break Weekly is brought to you by Cisco Meraki. With employees working in different locations, providing a unified work experience seems as easy as herding cats. How do you reign in so many moving parts? The Meraki Cloud Managed network. That's how Learn how your organization can make hybrid work work. Visit meraki.cisco.com/twit and by ACI learning aci. Learning amplifies expertise across industries that command higher pay ACI learning, transforming how companies train and technology professionals learn to fuel the modern workforce for premium training at Audit IT and cybersecurity readiness visit go dot aci learning.com/twit. Listeners of this program get an ad free version if they're members of Club TWiT. $7 a month gives you ad free versions of all of our shows plus membership in the club. Twit Discord, a great clubhouse for TWiT listeners. And finally, the TWiT plus feed with shows like Stacy's book Club, the Untitled Lennox Show, the Gizz Fizz and more Go to twit.tv/clubtwit and thanks for your support.
Jason Snell (00:01:56):
It's time for Mack Break Weekly. I am Jason Snell sitting in for Leo LaPorte. Normally I'm in one of these boxes next to me and Leo is in this chair. But Leo is traveling the world. He's doing wonderful things. He's making memories that will last a lifetime. He's leaving only footprints behind. But we're here to talk about Apple with two of our usual panelists and a fill-in for me cuz I'm again sitting in this chair today. Of course, as always my good pal for murmur, murmur, years in the tech industry. Andy Ihnatko is here. Hi Andy.
Andy Ihnatko (00:02:30):
Hello. Isn't, isn't it? Look out your window. Are there pires of burning things on the horizon? Does it, is it, does it look like the things have have turned for the better or for the worse? I have a feeling that things are gonna change this afternoon during our very podcast recording. Not that that puts any more obligations or responsibilities on your shoulders. I'm sure you can handle it,
Jason Snell (00:02:50):
Jason. Well, it's a funny story on the way here, on the drive here, I happen to go past a ground hog who was looking at his shadow. I don't know what that means, but it, I'm sure I'm
Andy Ihnatko (00:02:58):
For some, some time out for himself. You know, all, all, usually it's like people are asking of him, asking of him, asking of him. When does the groundhog get to sniff and then eat the rose?
Jason Snell (00:03:08):
Is that, I feel really bad for the Groundhog's child because the Groundhog's child spends their whole childhood living in the shadow of their parent
Andy Ihnatko (00:03:17):
Nepo babies. Yeah.
Jason Snell (00:03:18):
Yeah. <Laugh> also here is Alex Lindsay from many things. Office hours do global included 0 9 0 media. Hi Alex.
Alex Lindsay (00:03:30):
Hey. Good to, good to be here.
Jason Snell (00:03:31):
You beamed in from wherever you were before the
Alex Lindsay (00:03:34):
Show. I did. I I like to, you know, just, you know, transport in and
Jason Snell (00:03:37):
Out. No, I don't like it when you're 50% opacity. It's very disturbing. It's like you're a jellyfish. It scares me. See, I,
Alex Lindsay (00:03:43):
This is, this is kind of of like, I'm kind of
Jason Snell (00:03:45):
Here. It's a ghost of Alex Lindsay joins us. Yes,
Andy Ihnatko (00:03:47):
Exactly. He's making his transparency statement. They say ethics and tech journalism is dead
Alex Lindsay (00:03:52):
<Laugh>. What if you did a whole quarterly 50% transparent? I don't think people would, you'd say we're being transparent. We're, we're really trying to tell you everything there is to go. I don't
Jason Snell (00:04:02):
Oh no, I don't. We we don't even line up. We can't even like, oh, right, right. Alright. Right. And also, we've, we've, the look, the show is can't go off the rails if it never starts on the rails. Filming in for me as a panelist this week, it is my co-conspirator from six colors.com. He's slowly fading into the video right now. It's Dan Morin. Hi Dan.
Dan Moren (00:04:24):
Hi Jason. It's nice to be here on this auspicious day where the big news is that Finland is joining nato and I'm just gonna take a sip of water right now and oh my God, <laugh>
Jason Snell (00:04:34):
Let's talk about ww d c. Shall we be you know, I, maybe I know the wrong people, but Apple's developer conference, everybody, all the people are like, when's it gonna be? When's it gonna be? When's it gonna be? And maybe it's because yeah, they're in far off places and they, they want to be in California and that you have to make plane reservations. But we all surely we all knew that June 5th was going to be the date. Right? Surely we all knew that already. When has it
Alex Lindsay (00:04:59):
Ever been any other day? Like it's, it's, it's the first Monday of every June. Like, and and you think there's like this mystery, but I don't remember any time when it wasn't the first Monday. Even when it was like the first
Dan Moren (00:05:09):
Yeah. When you have to buy non-refundable plane tickets, <laugh>, you just don't, you're like, I'm 90% sure, but am I $600? 90% sure. Right.
Andy Ihnatko (00:05:18):
But, but it's al But it's also fairly different now because like five years ago, WW d c meant you're gonna be, you're gonna be going to like a Shriner's convention of 2000 other Mac developer, Mac and iOS developer nerds. And so yeah, you kind of had to be there. And also Apple had a lot more at stake because you have to prepare for the, the arrival of 2000 nerds and make sure that they're all scheduled, make sure that they're all accommodated for. And now that Apple really does, as Alex had been predictive for the, or maybe hoping for, for the past couple years, apple really does seem to be committed now to, no, we're really don't want to have 2000 nerds in our house tracking through our, our hallways. We're just gonna do all virtual stuff. And now they're probably going to have a very, very limited live keynote, which they can easily reschedule for, excuse me.
They, they can easily backfill for whenever they want. Now it's almost as if they can really announce it two months in advance and whatever they're ready for on, on June 5th, they'll be ready for whatever they're not ready for. They, it's not as though they had to make this huge investment of of scheduling and planning in order to move things in and out of the schedule. So, yeah, I I think that we, we may as well just make it like a holy day of obligation where just like you, you just know what day it is on the calendar. You can basically book it in advance if, again, assuming that you're there to basically try to lean on people who might be loose slip because they're excited that something finally shipped. But
Alex Lindsay (00:06:41):
Yeah, and I think
Andy Ihnatko (00:06:43):
As it once was,
Alex Lindsay (00:06:44):
I think that, I think that it is the trend. I mean, Nvidia had their conference a couple weeks ago and it was the last time they did it physically it was 8,000 people <laugh>. And, and the last one they did that was completely digital was 250,000. Yeah. And so the, the, you know, the scale is much different as you start to go. Virtual Apple, you know, E three got canceled, which is typically a week after. The trend is not towards bigger ver physical events. <Laugh> like that. That's not where we're going. And you know, a lot of people wanna think about that, but I think that this makes a lot more sense. One, one thing that I think has been a huge service to all Apple users is the fact that we're recording all those sessions now ahead of time and not forcing developers to stand on stage in front of 300 people and try to recite something that they memorized anyway.
You know? And so the thing is, is they memorized it, they rehearsed it, and then they have to perform it. And it's just not, it's not fair to them. It's not fair to us cuz we have to watch it. And, and so I, you know, I think that the fact that we are now, those are all prerecorded so much nicer <laugh>. Yeah. I just wish they'd record them. We released them all on Monday. There's this weird thing that Apple has done in the last couple years, which is that we're gonna release someone on Monday and then on some on Tuesday and some on Wednesday. And I'm like, just, how about all of them on Monday? And then we pick the ones we wanna watch, you know, and that I'm, I'm, we'll see what happens with that. I'm hoping that they'll, they'll give that part up.
Dan Moren (00:07:59):
It's more manageable throughout the week though. I mean, I I also like going in with like 200 sessions and being like, ah, I gotta find the things I wanna look for. So I kind of like that they, you know, they're trying to build a community aspect around like a shared, oh, okay, this is what's happening on Monday. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, but Tuesday, Wednesday, et cetera. But it is, it is a little strange to have it like when it is in theory. Yeah. They could just hit that button and they could all be there.
Andy Ihnatko (00:08:21):
Yeah. And to, and, and to, and the, and the other point is that I don't think that it was appreciated exactly how disruptive it was to Apple to have so many of their engineers and so many of their key people tied up. Or at least they're having their schedules really, really messed up for an entire week. And now that basically you can ski if you have, even if the person who is, who's in charge of explaining everything that there is about reality kit for for a new un unannounced wearable, you can pre-tape all of that and then at a time that that's absolutely at the convenience of their schedule. And it won't disrupt anything anywhere.
Jason Snell (00:08:57):
So yeah, the way the way they're handling it is interesting. So yes, the video production's going on in advance that will disrupt them to a certain degree. But I think that there's more of a security blanket, right? There's less of the, what if I say something wrong? If you're doing it and you just say something wrong, you just rerecord the video. And they're professionals there to do all of that. There is a little bit of work for some people at Apple that week. They are doing, again, presumably what they did last year, where they have basically little slack instances where you can go and chat with people who are Apple engineers. So they have to be sort of available for that. Some of them. But the, but and that's one of the nice things they've done now of making an online event. Because the point that I think we all need to recognize is that WW d c has been an online event for 99 point something percent of Apple developers for years and years because the event got so big so quickly that it sold out and people who wanted to come couldn't come.
So their experience was the videos anyway. Right? And so embracing that and saying, no, th that is the experience is the videos. And then separately, there's this Monday event, which I think we're all assuming will be very similar to what we saw last year, where some developers are gonna win a lottery and they're gonna get to come to Apple Campus and sit somewhere, maybe Cafe Max, maybe the Steve Jobs theater and that the press will probably similarly be invited. And and they have like a one day kind of dog and pony show where you can watch the keynote and you can go visits the developer center. And it's a fun in-person event. But if you're not there, it's okay. You're getting the same presentations as everyone else. It's just streaming. Like it was, and that's okay. I,
Dan Moren (00:10:37):
I do wonder about the keynote. You know, as soon as we move to this whole pre-recorded thing, and obviously the virtues are huge, right? You can run whatever demos you want, it's all pre-recorded. There's no chance that anything goes wrong cuz you said you can just fix it. But I do wonder if the pendulum will swing back at some point because of surely the spectacle nature of it. Like, you don't want to go to the circus and watch a prerecorded like acrobats flying around <laugh>. That's, there's no interest in that. Like everybody, and, and it helps prove something to a certain degree, right? Like when it's like watching game footage, you know, when they, they show off the new games and everyone's like, well, but is that a pre rendered cut scene or is that actual gameplay? Right? Like what they're showing us on screen is obviously exactly what they want us to see. And of course our questions are gonna be, but what happens with all that stuff that, like, when you push the envelope, when you do the things that are sort of in those weird corners, and not just to break it, but to like experience, like what are like the, the limits of this thing. So I do think you lose a little bit of something by having it pre-recorded in that you miss that chance or a little bit of danger and a little bit of excitement. But I'm sure Apple doesn't quite see it that way. Yeah,
Alex Lindsay (00:11:36):
I I think the problem is, is that they're not really acrobats. They're, they're you know, <laugh>, if we, when we talk about the circus, the, the, the problem is they're not very good at this. Like the, you know, most people who go on stage, we have to remember that most people do corporate presentations. They don't do these all day. They're not actors, they're not performers. They're really not very interesting to watch on stage. And so the hard part is, is that the, the, the pre-record, you know, gives them their best option to look as good as they possibly can. And I don't think they're going back. You know, you again, you're, you're seeing more and more of these conferences. And what happened was Apple I think instigated this in the sense that we started seeing Apple do this and we started seeing Nvidia and other people doing this.
And then people said, well, why, how's Google lost so much energy and why does Microsoft's event feel so boring? It's because they were still doing them live <laugh>. So the thing is, we're used to watching this much more produced higher velocity much more inter visually interesting video. And then we go back, when we go back to the stage, it just feels like you fall fell off a cliff. You know? And, and, and it's just from an energy perspective, I don't think they can go back and I don't think we're gonna see any, any, any of that. I do think that being able to bring press in and having them be able to play with it, to do all the things you're talking about, which is to push the envelope and, and bang on it and do things with your, you know, and, and see what it'll do.
I think that's super important. Bringing the press in to see the equipment there and is, is important. But the, the actual stage staged piece and, and the reality is, I, I've, you know, I worked on keynotes many keynotes for many companies for a decade. <Laugh>, you know, nothing about that's real. Anyway, it's like, like there's so much, like we have backups for, we have I don't know what Apple does, but we have backups to the, you know, to the presentation. The presentation even looks like it's gonna hiccup. You'll see this little, little like slight little glitch in the pixels and now we're just playing it out for you so that we don't, we don't have to show you a blue screen. So, so it's, it's not a you know, it, it's not that real as it is. It's just a lot faster. And we, what we don't have to do is watch people who are not professional speakers try to speak, which is, you know, that's the only time they do it every year. It's really hard to watch it
Jason Snell (00:13:37):
Bonuses. Nobody gets hit by a throne. Steve Jobs camera. So <laugh>, that's it is, I mean, we lose, we lose, that's the acrobat falling off of the whatever they're on the type turn off your wifi, everybody is exactly is that moment. And it's very entertaining, but obviously something that Apple would never want you to do. Yeah. I think to remind everybody, if you, if you don't remember last last June, apple held this event and press and developers were at the Cafe Max in the ring at Apple Park, and they had a big screen at like a jumbotron set up and they played the video on there, simultaneous was streaming it to everybody else. So it was a live event, but live really only in the sense that a bunch of people were there, but they were watching the same video. Last September, apple introduced the iPhone at an event at the Steve Jobs theater.
It was otherwise very much like ww d c in that there was an audience in the Steve Jobs theater, but all we did, cuz I was there for that one, is watch the screen and watched the same video that was being streamed out to everyone else. The difference being that the press then went outside the theater to where all those new products were set up in a hands-on demo area. So the question I have for WWDC for 23 is, is it like last June? Is it a little more like last September? Is it a hybrid? Do they put the developers Cafe max in the ring and have the press go to the Steve Jobs theater and have two totally separate events that are happening simultaneously? I don't know. For wwe c they led us over to the Steve Jobs theater for our briefings and hands on after the event, they took us away, they swept us away from the from where the developers were so that the press could not, you know, we yeah, we could tempt them, we could, we could turn, you know, turn them to our evil ways and they don't want that.
They want to keep the developers nice and pure. So I, I guess that's a stagecraft question is if they might do that. Well,
Andy Ihnatko (00:15:24):
Andy, it really, it really is. It's less about stagecraft. I think it's about more con more about control. Apple of course has always, apple has always been a company that loves to maintain control mm-hmm. <Affirmative> of every situation. But I really think they've kicked it up in the post jobs era. And in the past five or six or seven years where, I mean, most of the people in this conver actually I think all the people in this conversation have been at Apple events for more than 10 years. And we remember one of the reasons that that justified for me spending more than a thousand dollars to fly from the East coast to the West coast for a presentation where technically speaking, I suppose all I'm getting, you think that all I'm getting is a small amount of hands-on in a demo area if I don't have a meeting with the executives or whatever.
But a lot of it was, Hey, I recognize that person. That person is one of the head engineers on a project I'm very much interested in. I think I'll have an informal chat with him and see if he's, his tongue is a little bit loose or just overhearing conversations between people. And now apple will never want to have that happen. And so this is the situation where they're going to make sure that the, if press are invited when press are invited, they are in their own corral and they are gonna be steered through hallways where they cannot interact with anybody else to the place where they're supposed to be. Because God forbid you have a conversation that is not being observed, controlled, corrected or tamped down by Apple Marketing. I, that's, that's a, that's one of the signs of the newer, of the newer version of Apple.
Jason Snell (00:16:55):
So I agree about the control, control, never forget about Apple wanting control. And when Alex talks about co completely rightly, that you've got people who are not experts as speaking, but they get them to do the videos and, but they're not in front of a a, a packed house. That's true. But the other part of it is just control. It's always there. Apple wants complete control of the message and there, and if you pre-tape everything, then it goes through a whole approval process and nothing, not a Pixel is not intended exactly where it is is intended to be. So that's a, it's a, it's a key part of it. I will say though, that, you know, I talked to some pe random Apple people at the iPhone event last September, outside the Steve Jobs theater, there are still people around you can talk to who are from Apple. But you're right, it's not quite the same as literally everybody who works at Apple is at a convention center somewhere off campus. Oh yeah. It's a different kind of vibe. Completely. And what
Alex Lindsay (00:17:46):
I, and what I will say is, I mean, I'm sure there's a chance that something could go wrong, but if we look at the, the last live events that happened before the, you know, the, the the going to pre-tape, I mean, every word is memorized <laugh>, like, and, and, and they're reading off a tele, well, I wish they was memorized cause they're reading 'em off a teleprompter. They, you know, where they're putting their hands, how they're standing. You can tell that every, and that's what makes it so uncomfortable to watch, is that somebody told them not to do the thing with their hands that they do every time they talk and they're, you keep on rocking back and forth. Don't do that anymore, <laugh>. And, and don't, you know, like you, you have this thing that you say right before you say the thing, stop doing that. Yeah. And so, and Apple and robots,
Dan Moren (00:18:22):
Alex Lindsay (00:18:23):
And, and, and Apple does that more than anyone else, and they tighten them. The only the only company that really got good at this, in my opinion, is Salesforce. You know, they're, you know, and, but they, their, their public facing speakers spend hours a week working on it, like year round.
Dan Moren (00:18:37):
The corollary corollary to that too is, is the fact that it is pre-taped does allow them to draw on a deeper pool of talent. Yes. They wouldn't do as much in a live Steve, right? Like, it lets them go to people who are maybe VPs or product managers or stuff like that who aren't going to get up because whether they don't want to, or they don't have all that training like Tim Cook or Eddie Q or somebody like that. And that is great because it lets them include, you know, improve the diversity of the people presenting and get people who are actually closer to those projects, right? Like, there are people who are directly involved with those things, rather than be like, Hey, Tim or Craig talk about this, these hundred things. Right? Craig could probably use a break, frankly, <laugh>,
Alex Lindsay (00:19:16):
And it's, it's much more contextual. We can go to a mountain, we can go into a living room, we can go into, you know, like, so the thing is, is just from a, a pure perspective of we're standing on a black box stage that has a, a wall behind it to we can actually take you places where I'm walking dynamic, you're sitting or doing it. It's much more dynamic. Yeah. It's just a much more interesting show. It's so you do have control, but as a viewer it's, it's far easier to, it's far easier to watch, I think. And I think that that's the than than the stage events. I, I find myself un almost unable to watch any stage events now after I've started watching keynotes that came out pre-recorded, the stage events feel like they're going so slow that I just, I'm like, I gotta wait until this is v od so I can watch it at two X <laugh>, because I just can't, I can't watch this at regular speed. It's just too, it's, it's just not moving fast enough.
Andy Ihnatko (00:20:00):
Although though it does bring up the, the eternal question about here, here's the difference between a live performance versus a rec, a pre-recorded performance. Like even when, like I, the, the, the Metropolitan Opera does a lot of like live simulcast events. You can't make it out for Idio manino. They'll, you can go to a local theater like once during the month and they'll have a live stream of it. And there there is a different, different energy and a different vibe. And you, when you think about the really great keynotes of Apple's past, you think about like the first iPhone keynote when introducing the first iPhone, introducing the first Apple Watch, where it really was about, there was an electricity in the room that made everything seem two or three times as interesting as you might have thought it was otherwise. And on, I, I'm of two minds about it, where on the, on the one hand I like, as a, as a journalist, I'm like, thank goodness it's no longer like this circus type of atmosphere where why are people cheering for the development of a hardware product for the billion dollar the nearly a trillion dollar company.
This is just, just tell, let us know what it, what it's about. Let us let us know what it does. On the other hand, if the purpose, there's a reason why companies have these events, whether they're pre-taped or live instead of just simply issuing a press released and electronic media kit, they really want that kind of excitement around people. Th they really want people to think that, no, this isn't just another phone. No, this isn't just Apple trying to have a, have a quick exotic assault on Nokia and Blackberry to Titans that are never go, ever going to be put outta business. If it, it does it suit apple's purposes to have that kinda live energy where things are a little bit off, but a little bit exciting because you feel as though you're, you're witnessing something that is happening at this moment as opposed to witnessing something that was scripted out, planned out, well lit.
Like, do do you want a Marvel movie or do you want a a a a play? Do you want a Marvel movie where every single, there's this, there's a chaotic battle scene where you know, that it was de the, this the shot was delayed for three weeks saying, I don't, I I wanna see a little bit more light in Captain America's eyes, and can you have the, the Black Widow while she's falling off the cliff, make eye contact with Hawkeye and just sort of wink a little bit. And it's, I I wish I, I'm, I'm wondering how much we're gonna lose the energy of these sort of events spoilers
Jason Snell (00:22:22):
For Avengers End game, by the way, <laugh>. Yeah. I, I, I think you're right. I have thought for a while now that one possibility was that they would create a hybrid event where they would and they didn't do this for the iPhone, which now makes me think they never will, which is they do a stage event, but with a lot more videos, right. Where Tim Cook comes out live on stage and says, hi everybody, this is Tim, it's the morning, good morning. And then let's watch a video of this iPhone. And then he comes back and says, look at it. Isn't it amazing? And he is like, we've got another product. Let's watch the video and basically be the mc rolling videos. But you still get the video stuff. But I think the truth is not only is it technically easier right Alex to preload things in your CDN and not have to do a live stream, but you have complete control and it's good enough. And it is, you're getting people to watch a commercial for 90 minutes.
Alex Lindsay (00:23:07):
And, and the big problem is, is that when you go back to the stage, the energy drops really far. Yeah. You know, so you, you think that we can keep that energy up, but you can't. And so when we, we've worked on events where they, where they basically went from one movie to the other, and the problem is it jumps to the stage. You're now queuing, you're coming out of a live and you're counting somebody in. So you're going, you know, you're on in 10, 9, 8, you know, like, you know, and they're gonna call 'em and there's a person that's moving their hand and they're gonna point at you, write it right when you're going live, you know, coming outta the video. And then they say their thing and then they go right back into it. But there's something about it. They're uncomfortable, they're on stage. It doesn't, and it just always feels like you fell off into this little tropics right. Back into the video. And so every time we've done that, we've thought, oh, let's never do that again. <Laugh>.
Jason Snell (00:23:49):
Alex Lindsay (00:23:49):
And so I, I did, I did think that they might do what you're talking about, but I've, I felt like they'll do it once and then they'll realize this is a horrible idea. What,
Jason Snell (00:23:56):
And what, what kept me thinking they might do it was they, not only do they have the Steve Jobs theater, they built that thing, but they pack it, they pack it with VIPs and Apple employees down in the first 20 rows or 10 rows. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And those are the ones who cheer like mad. And I thought, well, there might be a stagecraft advantage to having the videos like a Saturday Night Live thing. I mean, I keep likening it to Saturday Night Live, especially back in the eighties where they went to there was a, there was a producer shift and they went to mostly, I'm showing my age here, but you know, hey, it happened when Dick Ebersol took over from Lauren Michaels in that brief period before Lauren Michaels came back, they went to pre-tape bits. They did a lot of film, comedy films that they shot during the week with Christopher Guest and Billy Crystal and all of that.
And they would play those through with the SNL audience there cheering and laughing a long way. They were a live a live version of a laugh track basically. And I thought maybe they could do something like that and take advantage of all that applause. Cause that is the one thing you lose in watching these Apple films as they call them, is you lose that kind of hyped up applause that, you know, as a journalist, I wasn't there applauding, but the, the, all the VIPs were, and, and I don't, I don't think it's worth the trade-off though. Don't think it's worth the
Alex Lindsay (00:25:02):
Trade-Off the 300 employees that are, that have been rehearsing Rick Mumble for three days. So clap now. Clap now. Yeah. Yeah. But the you know, and for, for me, you know, I think that there's the st the reason to stream though is that we do have a unified experience. We're all watching this at the same time. Yeah. People are tweeting it for office hours. 150 of us watch these keynotes together and over, over Zoom. So, and now we don't play it into Zoom. We all just, we all watch it on our own device. And then there's just an open mic and we all sit there and talk about everything. Now we talk about everything like all the way down to the camera moves and the, whether that was CG and whether this was whatever. Sure. But we also talk about all the releases and it's really fun to the point where you know, if I had the opportunity to go to the Steve Jobs theater, I was like, no, <laugh>, yeah.
I'd rather just do it with my friends. Well, but I'd rather watch it with my friends over Zoom and, and, and, and talk about it than, than than watch it. So I think that there is still a power of the fact that because you get to a point when you do V O D, like is it, should we even stream it? Should we just release the video? And and I think that there is a real power to releasing the video into streaming the video out Yeah. In real time so that we're all hearing about it at the same time the press is hearing about it at the same time. Because that also creates an intensity for the press. Because if it all comes out at the same time, we all have that as well as they, you know, for a long time Apple didn't wanna stream anything.
So they, they kept it all closed because they wanted to make sure the press showed up. Right. Right. That's what the rumor, you know, so that they, so by not, by not making it available anywhere else, the press had would have to come to, to what they, to see what they were doing. And and so there was a, you know, there was a little bit of time that you had as a, as a press person to get stuff out, you know, bef you know, to to, and now it's available to everyone. So you now, it's really short as far as the window goes to say whatever you're going to say about it.
Dan Moren (00:26:44):
It, it's the binge versus the weekly drop model of streaming, basically. Right. Like the weekly drop gets everybody talking, everyone around the water cooler. The binge is like, that show's already gone and you're on to the next thing.
Jason Snell (00:26:54):
That's, that's why they've got events through the week, is that you, you don't want to drop it all on a binge on Monday. You want people saying, no, I can't wait for that session. That'll drop on Wednesday. That that CarPlay session on Thursday is gonna be hot. We gotta wait for Thursday. Can't wait for that drop.
Alex Lindsay (00:27:09):
And I have to admit, as someone who is not a, I mean, I, I, I, we're in the press, but I'm not covering everything. I'm interested in very specific things in WWCs. I'm interested in AR and hhl S and, and a couple other things. And, and like I don't need to see Maps <laugh>, right. So, so I'm, I'm kinda like, I just want everything at the very beginning cuz there's only about eight or 10 of those. And it's not like I watch all of WWE c there's like eight or 10 sessions that
Jason Snell (00:27:31):
I Yeah, yeah. The 10 and, and and the big one is so, and they're always on Friday, you mentioned. Yeah. The Friday ones aren't actually, they've kept that tradition from back when it was a real conference, which is the, the videos on Friday aren't very interesting. <Laugh> alright. We should talk about the VR headset a little bit, a couple of conflicting reports this week. So Minchi quo said that the production is going to be slower. They've had some production delays and they're not gonna get as many produced in this calendar year. And that made him think they might push back the announcement date. Whereas Mark Gorman at Bloomberg has reported that he's very confident that they're going to announce it. And I think that makes sense because like, if you think back to the Apple watch, which was, which was a while ago, it's coming up 10 years in fact for the Apple Watch when the Apple Watch was announced, it was announced in the fall in September and released in April, right?
It was, it was released a lot later. You can do that the first time you release a product when you're not cannibalizing your sales. They, they have done this repeatedly. They did this with the iPhone, which was announced in January and shipped in very late June. So I think the most likely scenario is still probably, especially given that this is an entirely new platform that's going to require, it's a, so it's a new os developers are gonna need to learn about it. The developer conference is the perfect place to roll it out. And if they don't ship it until the fall sometime, it actually benefits them because they're gonna have a big iPhone event in the fall and they can remind everybody about how amazing this product is, whatever it is, well, as they're putting it on sale. So there are a lot of advantages to doing it this way. Seems to me like this is the, the most straightforward approach for them is still to, even if it's not ready to ship in, in, in June,
Alex Lindsay (00:29:10):
Especially on a first product, Apple's never afraid to delay things like they're never afraid to. Like there was a, there was a WWE C where there was a ton of p o P everywhere. I mean, a ton, ton of these posters that all looked a lot like an Apple tv and there was
Jason Snell (00:29:24):
No Apple, no seven months, six, seven months between the Apple Watch being announced and shipping. Right. Like you could, they can afford to take it.
Alex Lindsay (00:29:32):
They didn't even talk
Jason Snell (00:29:33):
About this summer, they didn't talk
Alex Lindsay (00:29:34):
About the Apple tv. And there was graphics all over w was obviously printed something.
Jason Snell (00:29:38):
This first rule of WWDC is nobody ever talk about the Apple tv. Unfortunately, that's still the rule. And so nobody does. Dan, I wanted to, I wanted to run this by you because you're a veteran of a lot of these Apple events too, which is the demo, how, how do you do a demo? And of course, Alex and Andy, I wanna hear from you too, but I thought I'd go to Dan first. How do you do a demo of a VR headset if, if we come out of the Steve Jobs theater into that lobby area behind, like surely they can't have a bunch of headsets and have a line of people waiting to put them on and flail around for five minutes? I, I, I just, I keep coming back to that as a challenge for a product like this is how do you give members of the press any amount of time to give, to get an impression of what this product is like? It seems like a, it's a lot easier to put an iPhone in someone's hand.
Dan Moren (00:30:25):
Yeah, sure. And I think this is a challenge of the, the event itself too. How do you convince consumers who are watching this thing and there will be consumers watching, even if it is developer focused conference, the amazingness of what this, this other, you know, metaverse style, vr, ar you know, environment you're creating. It's like trying to demo 3D technology on a 2D screen, right? You're like, oh, trust me, it's amazing. But like fundamentally it comes down to this idea of like, you really have to see it and use it in order to kind of get what's happening. I think, and I think all the companies Meta and Microsoft have all struggled a little bit with how do you demo this? Because you can do that highly produced video, but then you're watching somebody else use a thing and it's somewhat strange. It looks very post processed.
You've got this idea like, well, it's all sort of put together and carefully edited. I, I think when it comes to the press, I have to imagine they may do it a little more structured than it's been the past. If you go to these events in the past, you end up in a giant room where people are milling around and there's maybe 20 or 30 of these new devices, whatever they are, and you're sort of jockeying for position. There's people with, you know, cameras who want to like, get in there with their broadcast cameras and shoot interminable demos for B-roll for five minutes. And you're trying to like, I just, I just wanna see how this thing work and I just touch this thing. I think I wonder if they're going to, especially with still, you know, the, the pandemic stuff has eased a bit.
Try to you know, cordon off areas or create little experiences for people to come in and actually try these things in a more structured faction so you have a certain amount of time allotted to your use of it. Say, come in for 10 minutes and we'll, we'll let you run through these demos and stuff that we available. And then there's a question as to sort of, you know, how far along is this product if it is been pushed back a little bit? Not everything's probably gonna be working perfectly. So they're gonna wanna make sure it's very controlled in terms of what is the experience you're seeing here? We wanna show you the best stuff, the stuff that works really well in the stuff that feels really compelling. And so part of me wonders then too, is it gonna be something more like a demo loop when you put it on and it's like, all right, here you can do these four things. Let's walk you through this experience. And I think that's another part of it. They're gonna wanna make sure it's not just people walking around putting a headset on and trying a thing and it immediately breaks and then they're gonna go write a story about how this headset is garbage and et cetera.
Jason Snell (00:32:39):
The Apple Watch I've reminded when we got our first look at the Apple Watch, it was literally on a demo loop. You could put it on your hand, on your arm, but it, it just animated through like a bunch of scenes. It was literally playing a demo and that was, that was how they controlled it.
Alex Lindsay (00:32:55):
I would be surprised if they do have a lot of people putting those headsets on during ww c I think that they don't want to be covid, you know <laugh> a covid super spreader because like, we think that Covid is gone, but I have three friends right now that have covid again. Like they, they just, you know, it seems to be like suddenly ramping up again or, or whatever it is. Not bad, but just like the flu. But I don't think that, I think that don't wanna be part of that. It's, it really is. Headsets have been really problematic even before Covid. It was like you, you had to put little covers on them and you pull them off and then you hand 'em to the next person. And it was, it was, you know, it was a little gross. And, and so I think that that's gonna be really hard.
I think it's much better. O they're much better off talking about ar talking about about it having iPads and iPhones showing interactive stuff and then doing kind of more of the apple quiet demos that they do in these cities where they, they've got a, you know, they've got a couple of these kind of secret rooms in different cities that, that you can go in and Yeah. You know, secret, secret little you know, apartments, <laugh> that you can go into and experience stuff and they bring people in and in very small numbers at different times where they can control it. And it might even be over a week and there's only a couple press people at a time and they've got, you know, they've got their protocol and they've, they can spend more time because I think that Apple really wants to hand like handcraft the story.
Oh yeah. With the press and having people just go through the demoing you know, I've worked on a lot of these from Glass to Oculus to this, you know, for these promos and demoing it is the hardest because it's, you, you put it on and you suddenly have no control, you know, and like they tap the wrong button and they, you know, there's all these buttons and there's all this stuff, these states that you have to get into. And so I think that it is definitely a you know, I think that, that they're gonna be very careful about it. I would be really surprised if I see people putting lots of goggles on at W
Jason Snell (00:34:40):
WWE C Yeah. I, it seems to me that the most likely scenario is that you'll get Yeah, either it'll be that day, there'll be some appointments and maybe into the next day for press where they'll say, essentially present yourself at the Steve Jobs Theater at one 15 and you'll be, you know, ushered back and at one 30 you'll be given 10 minutes in a room where you'll be instructed about what you're gonna do. And, and then you're out of there after 10 minutes and the next person comes in, or especially guests based on the timing and, and reading this report from ING Chio. It's also possible that it'll be, we'll call, you know, we'll call you, we'll set something up later and that's when it's the people on the East Coast will be told to go to their apartment and their flattened, Chelsea and somebody on the West Coast would be told to go to Cupertino. And, you know, there'll be other places like that and it'll still be a Please present yourself and we'll give you 15 minutes in a room for a guided tour and then that's it. But yeah, it's, they may have hardware for us to look at or, or even to hold, but it won't work because that Yeah. Doesn't make sense.
Andy Ihnatko (00:35:43):
I don't, I mean, this is, I don't think that, I don't think that we should be thinking about this as anything akin to any other product launch demo that app Apple's ever done when it's, there's ample precedent for all the way back to the iPhone where we're announcing it and showing it off in January. We're not shipping for several months. And even remember with the launch of the iPhone, most people got to see it on the show floor at Mac World and behind this Protective Glass column. Yes, exactly. And, and rotating slowly inside the, like a rotisserie chicken. But as as Alex said, some of us got, were given appointments like after the keynote to get 45 minutes of hands-on, guided hands-on. Also very, very much told that. Yeah. I noticed you're trying to use the Notepad app. That's just a j it's a
Jason Snell (00:36:35):
Andy Ihnatko (00:36:36):
Cool. That was, that, that's not, that's not an actual, that's not an actual thing <laugh>. But, but it's, and it's one of the reasons why I think this has to happen is that there is a point where Apple has to get fccs certification, in which case a lot of the stuff becomes public record. Also, there comes a point in which there, you, you've run up to the limits of what you can do by testing out of super, super top secret, double top secret project inside Apple campus and inside certain very, very secure rooms and certain very, very trusted partner companies. There's a point in which you have to allow people to have these outside of campus and see how well they work and, and, and work with other people they trust. You have to, you have to increase the amount of people that you're letting in on this.
But the difference between this and almost everything else is that I don't think anybody, myself included, thinks that they, this first launch is going to be a, yes, we've got this brand new product, everybody rush out and buy it. It's, we have this $3,000 thing that is way more expensive than it will ever intend to be. Probably is not gonna have anywhere near the feature set that we intend the real thing to be. This is advanced hardware for a developers who want to get in very, very early on a new app platform and b, people in the design field, people in the medical field, people in the military field people in the in the maintenance and training fields who are willing to spend top dollar for something because they're gonna be writing their own be bespoke apps for it for their own purpose.
So it's perfectly okay for them to announce something knowing that almost nobody that there is, that is watching this is gonna have a need to actually own this at any specific given time. They can show it off. I think that a lot of the, what they're gonna be showing off as not necessarily hands-on demos, again, I I really think it's just gonna be a very, very tight I, Justine Marquez <laugh> is are, they're, they're, they're gonna have some time again, even even with the most trusted people, really very much a demo on Rails with some, with a lot of things signed saying, here's what you can talk about the experience here, things you cannot talk about the experience but it's, it's always going. It's, it's it's, it's not a, it's not a real release as yet. I think that it really is just going to be something where they can actually, I'm sorry from blathering, but the Adderall shortage is a very real, it's,
Jason Snell (00:38:56):
Well, no, you're right. It is, it is a tech
Andy Ihnatko (00:38:58):
Demo. But, but, but, but what I, but what I wanted is, what I wanted to really say is that I really think that what they, maybe the most valuable part of the presentation is not necessarily getting a hundred or a thousand people to give a demonstrate to, to, to demonstrate and talk about the experience. But basically on video, they've trusted maybe a couple of outsiders. There's always a couple of dev outside developers they give ac advanced access to. Cause that's sort of, not looking at the camera, but looking just to the right of the camera saying when you put it on, I felt as though I saw the future and not just the future of everything but my future. And that's the sort of stuff that is suitable for a device that is going to be a thousand dollars in two years from now. But right now it's just gonna be a $3,000 developer gear.
Jason Snell (00:39:44):
Right. And I think it's definitely gonna be a case where you're gonna be told, put this on. Now you're in a, now you're in an environment. Look around now, reach out with your hand and do this gesture and then like Ethan, it <laugh> and, and, and it'll be like super, like scripted and all of that. And that's how it'll have to go.
Alex Lindsay (00:40:01):
And, and the reality is they don't need it. I mean, so the, the the, they're gonna have let's say 300,000 or 500,000 of these units at $3,000. They'll sell everyone that they make because they'll be enough developers and enough people that want to be on the front end and enough people that want to have the first of everything or whatever it is to buy such a, that's a very small lot for Apple. And so the reality is, is that a lot of the news that's going to come out, they're, they're not trying to excite people to buy 40 million of these or 20 million of these, right. They have a, they're only gonna be able to produce enough to support the people who are gonna buy 'em anyway. So I don't think that they're gonna, you know, I think that that's gonna be, they're, all of those will be spoken for. I bet you if they put them on sale, which I don't think they'll a ww I think they'll talk about at wwc, I think they'll put it on sale in the fall. But if they put it on sale, they'll be sold out in, you know, within a day.
Jason Snell (00:40:48):
Well, the challenge gonna be, and it sounds like they apply to one, they're gonna be limited, right? Like that's the, I think Minchi quos report is very much like they're just, they're gonna be manufacturing them and it's gonna take time. But I do think that the, the goal here is more to get people excited about the future and to counteract perceptions of it being a flop. Now Leo's not here to do his Leo thing that we could say, which is I think is gonna be a disaster and a flop and nobody wants it. But like, I, I, and I mentioned this on the show last week, I feel like there's a lot of expectation setting going on already where it's sort of like, but it's not really for everybody and it's not gonna sell that well. And it's a slow build like the Apple Watch.
And that's okay. And I think that any other kind of messaging they do this summer is going to be in that line, which is like, like Andy said, wow, this is a glimpse of the future and not the usual sort of like, we gotta get everybody out there to buy their iPhone and line up and make your orders now cuz we're gonna sell a lot of iPhones. It's not that kind of product launch. It is about managing expectations, not letting it be seen as a dud because they really do want to build on this year after year after year. And it's a tricky challenge cuz you don't, this doesn't happen to Apple very often if, if ever in this quite in this way. So it's gonna be interesting. I'm kind of 50 50 un even if they'll discuss the price, if it's not shipping for a couple months.
Part of me wonders if they'll just kick that hand down the road. But the other part of me thinks there's been so much written about that $3,000 figure that if, if they wanna like either like, you know, the number of stories that are gonna come out like the next day, like, but they didn't tell us how much it costs. It's still gonna be $3,000. And I, I don't know, I don't know how they want to handle that. Whether they want to put a stake in the ground and be like, Hey, this is the price. Or just be like, well we're not gonna talk about the till tipping they
Alex Lindsay (00:42:28):
Or they if it, if it's been, they've been you, you wondered going back to what Jason's talking about, how much they've ginned up themselves of the expectation of $3,000. They come out and they're gonna
Jason Snell (00:42:36):
Alex Lindsay (00:42:37):
It's 2399 and everyone's like, it's almost free.
Jason Snell (00:42:39):
How do you con how do you convince people that a headset that cost $2,500 is a deal? And the answer is make 'em all think it's gonna be 3000 <laugh>. Yeah. Or more. Exactly.
Andy Ihnatko (00:42:50):
Remember we have precedent with this for the iPad for everybody in the room is sure is going to be a thousand dollars that oh my God, it's, it's a device that we don't know what it does. And even Steve Jobs isn't really clear on by anybody 99, but it's $400 less than we thought it was going to be.
Jason Snell (00:43:04):
Yay. Yeah, yeah, exactly. Right's, not nothing.
Andy Ihnatko (00:43:07):
They've done it again.
Jason Snell (00:43:08):
I think they have definitely inflated that price. That number is so consistently been bandied about that. I can't help but think they're gonna beat it. I don't know how low, but it, it's gonna come in under three. Yeah. Wouldn't, would not surprise me at all. The other, the other, this is an outlier and I know the answer is probably no because Apple never does this. But part of me wonders if part of their messaging is actually gonna be about the future since this is a future product in order to say this is going to be a product line there, you know, this is Apple Reality Pro. There are gonna be other products in the future, essentially a way for them to say, look, they're not all gonna cost $3,000, right? Because the reports are that they are working on a consumer version of this. A more consumer, I, I don't even know what to call this label, these products, but a cheaper version, let's just say it, a cheaper version of this that regular people might actually consider buying. And I wonder if there's a way for them to spin it to sort of like say, we know that you're not gonna spend, you know, three grand, but it's okay cuz next year or in the in the near future, you'll be able to get one that's much more reasonably priced than this unreasonable. I mean, again, they're gonna put it, they're gonna apple it up, but that's what they're gonna trust.
Andy Ihnatko (00:44:14):
I just, I just got it. I just, very quickly, I just got it. They're gonna, they're gonna call this the Lisa
Jason Snell (00:44:20):
<Laugh> amazing Apple
Andy Ihnatko (00:44:21):
Vr Lisa. And so when they, when the $10,000 win becomes the two $2,500 one in two years from now, they're gonna say, my God, the geniuses at Apple Yep. Managed to get this down to,
Jason Snell (00:44:32):
If it has pro in the title, which is that rumor that it's Apple Reality Pro, the brilliance of that is it implies there will be a non-pro version at some point. Right. And that is, that's pretty good. That's a pretty good move.
Dan Moren (00:44:44):
That's the HomePod mini di coming version.
Jason Snell (00:44:47):
Yeah. How is it that you have a pro variation of a product that doesn't exist? That's weird. And they're like, well, yeah, it is strange. Isn't it weird we left this whole like, empty square here with nothing in it? I wonder what that could be. Yeah, that's that. Maybe they'll, that's what they'll do. And,
Alex Lindsay (00:45:01):
And I think that the, the, the big thing is the real challenge for Apple and what's been the challenge for all of these devices is not whether the device is cool or whether it can do, do what it says it's can do. It's, it's the content. You know, so what are they gonna, you know, and so they have to really get the content gned up. Now there's a, you know, they've been by doing AR stuff with the phone and the iPad and everything else, they've been able to do a lot of things that are going to help lay the Groundworks. People understand ar they understand U S T Z, they understand a lot of these reality bits and pieces. And so people have been playing with it for a while. They've been getting people used to that. They, they've probably been talking to a lot of vendors, <laugh>.
So they, they, I, I think that the way, how do you get people to believe it is when they get up there and they go, here are our partners, and there's, and there's all these, there's, you know, home Depot and Amazon and, and you know, in, in addition to like all these other things showing like how, cuz like Amazon, what, what I'm always amazed at in Home Depot and Amazon, I think it's Home Depot one of them, but Amazon has this thing, like when you're on your phone and you go to a piece of furniture, it says, Hey, would you like to look that? Look at that in your, in your living room. And you're like, oh yeah, I'll look at it. Boom. It just pops right in. And it, and, and, and I'm like, well, that's gonna be really much more interesting when we have a go when I put goggles on and look at it.
Dan Moren (00:46:16):
So, well, yeah, I've, I've always said the biggest issue Apple spent in interminable time in previous keynotes talking about AR and people holding iPads, looking at tables and Ooh, this is amazing. Look at all these virtual things. And it, and it's like fundamentally like peeking in through a window and being like, oh, let me look around inside that house, in that virtual environment over there. But again, it falls up flat because it's got that same sort of viewing 3D and a 2D like context sort of situation where it's just like, okay, I, I can see like peeking inside this immersive environment, but if the whole point is it's immersive, I want to be in that environment. And that is, and I think that
Alex Lindsay (00:46:49):
That's, but I think that's what we're coming, we're getting to, you know? Right. Yeah.
Dan Moren (00:46:53):
That's what makes it compelling.
Alex Lindsay (00:46:54):
Yeah. I mean we, we built when we were doing a lot of stuff with some of the, some of the a variety of Oculus stuff and, and with Samsung's goggles, we had a motion capture system <laugh>. And so we, we built a 30 by 30 space where you could just walk around and you could, that could be a showroom for all kinds of things. Once you put the, once you put your headset on, you could just walk around. And that was a showroom for cars. That was a, that was a a, we, we had Shah artwork from, from Zimbabwe. And it, they looked like huge statues that were, you could walk around and look at as if you were going through a thing. And, and the thing is, is that we were like, well, this will be, but the problem is, is that the technology wasn't there.
That was 10 years ago. And the technology wasn't, you know, the, the, the stuff that Google was putting into the phones was home, wasn't even available on Google's own phones. I mean, it was even eight years ago or whatever, the, and all of that was really exciting, but, but the tools weren't there yet. And I think where we're, what's different now is we're coming into it where the lidar is working. The, a lot of the other bits and pieces are working. The one thing that we haven't really dealt with is that we're barely using ultra wideband. And that's super useful, right? When it comes to being able to do all this stuff. And so there's a bunch of technologies that I think Apple is slowly putting into all this hardware and all the, all the stuff that's already out there, as well as what's coming on to, to learn how to make it work.
I do think that they have a really good opportunity and, and I think that whenever they release it, that what's different from Apple and Google is that we know for the next 10 years, Apple's gonna work on this. Like, they're not gonna, you know, this isn't gonna be like, oh, you know, two years ago we released this, we were really excited about it, but we're gonna go ahead and end up life it, you know, because that's what you know. And so what, whatever happens for developers, they know that they get into it. There's gonna be something going on for X amount of time. And, but I think that the, hopefully, and we've talked about this before, hopefully Apple learned from iBooks, that you really need a lot of content <laugh> like that, that proves what you can do and not just leave it up to the market to figure it
Jason Snell (00:48:42):
Out. Another advantage of the announcing it in June and then not shipping it for a while, is the ability to then out in the open. And I, I believe this, I mean, I'm, I'm a real big believer, and I know I've said it on the show before, that you gotta ship the product and that you're gonna learn a lot cuz the real world will teach you all sorts of things that, that, you know, inside the ring at Apple Park is not gonna teach you. But the other thing that can happen is once it's out in the open, once you can talk about the operating system and you can talk about the features that you've pre-announced, and you can then go to a whole wider circle of people and say, are you gonna develop? Can you port, can we get a, the, your 3D content from your movie?
All of that stuff starts to happen. And they will, once you open the doors, right? And in June they open the doors, and if they're not shipping the product until late in the summer or into the fall, then they get, it's just gonna give them so much more freedom to make those deals, to show it off to people and to make the product when it does arrive that much richer in terms of the content. So I, I think it's a real advantage to the pre, pre announcing a new product is take take that time. Yeah.
Alex Lindsay (00:49:44):
And I think that, I think that the MLS partnership along with the purchase of next VR is going to get really interesting. Yeah.
Jason Snell (00:49:52):
Get, get that <laugh> Yeah. Because just be standing right on the sidelines there.
Alex Lindsay (00:49:57):
Yeah. I mean the, the, the main thing is, is that it has been, so I've done a lot of that too on, on those things and dealing with the broadcast rules and all the other, the broadcasters and what we're allowed to post and what we're not allowed to post. The easiest way to be able to put VR into a system is to own the entire right. Broadcast. Yeah. So that you don't have to deal with what the N B C rules are, how b a relates to, relates to this, or how the N F L wants to deal with content. Like all of that went away. And, and Apple can do whatever they want and that, and, and, and they're gonna be able to show all the other sports networks and all the other, you know, verticals using something that they were able to buy out. This is what we could do with
Jason Snell (00:50:31):
Vr. I had an amazing experience. I got a press release sitting at my desk. I got a press release that was about an N B A experience in in on the meta quests. They're like, we, we are a fresh new VR experience for the N B A on T N T or whatever. And it, and the first premiere of it is is today at eight Eastern. And I looked at my clock and it was four 50 Pacific. I'm like, oh my God. That's right. Right. So I went and I got my MyQuest and I put it on my Quest two put it on. I had to update software and download things and log in and go to this place. And I'm finally, finally, I enter the NBA portal. And you know what it was, it was a virtual bleachers and a big screen TV showing the game that was on T N T <laugh>.
I'm like, what? What? And I know they've done some experiments where you're like sitting on the on the bench or sitting right next to the bench, but the press release was like, no, no, no. Come, come at 8:00 PM Eastern and you're gonna get the full VR experience. And obviously the VR experience they were allowed to present was the game on TV in vr. Less interesting to me than than maybe, but, but again, I think that had something to do with the rights and the availability. And I mean, Alex, you know this too. It's the equipment, right? Like you, you actually have to have specialized equipment and, and have, well,
Alex Lindsay (00:51:47):
It's, it's getting the, the rights to where you put the equipment too. So one side of the, when you talk about the N B A one side of the, the, the court is $2,000 a seat. So whoever's not
Jason Snell (00:51:57):
<Laugh> reporting, not sitting there, somebody
Alex Lindsay (00:51:58):
Willing to give up the seat seat. And on the other side is the press side. And then the press doesn't want you to have your camera in the way. And then you put your camera up there and the main thing, and we've put them right on the right, right at the mid, mid court. And at that level, the problem is you put 'em at I Height and now you're in front of people and then, then they complain about it. And but if you get it to where it needs to be, it feels, I mean, it does feel great. I mean, it's, it's a great experience to, to have when you, when you see those things. But, but it is, it's hard to get your camera in the right, you know in the right place where someone's not complaining about it or that it's going to get hit. I mean, the, the camera that I was using with a $60,000 camera and I'm putting it there and I'm like, you know, if it gets hit with a BA basketball, I'm gonna be super bummed. Yeah. Drake.
Jason Snell (00:52:38):
So that's, Drake is just really mad that you're sitting in his seat. Like Drake, get out of there. He's, he, he wants to see the Raptors.
Alex Lindsay (00:52:43):
I mean, the only place you can put it is really where the, where the press sits. And that's the problem is they, it's sitting in front of the people who are trying
Jason Snell (00:52:50):
Alex Lindsay (00:52:50):
Lot to be there, and they're trying to cover the game and they're, and they're not happy with it.
Jason Snell (00:52:53):
Yeah. one more item about AR and VR before we move on we'll take a break and move on. But before we do that, Tim Cook appears in the Gentleman's quarterly gq a Tim Cook interview. Mostly things that we've heard from Tim Cook before, although full credit to the, the author of this piece, it's, it's a, it's a very well-written piece I recommended to people. Zach Baron did a great job. He gets it. It, it's a, it's a rare broad media piece about Apple that I think he doesn't go down the rabbit holes that we all go down, but it's clear that he knows what's down them. Right? Like he, he will make a sides and I'll be like, oh yeah, that is a perfect way to blunt the, but you didn't mention, he's like, oh, he knows about it.
Yeah. And then he goes on. It's just, it's very artfully done. A as has been pointed out by several people. He also Zach Baron asked him cook about his statement in the Google Glass era about how AR and VR were, eh, you know, not, not not so great. And his, he had the best, I mean the most appley, but also the best response to that, which is, you know, Steve Jobs told me that sometimes you need to change your mind. You shouldn't hold on to old opinions. You should change your mind. And it's like, on one level, that is the best way, whenever confronted with anything that you're now denying to just say No, I changed my mind. At the same time, I'm also re reminded that we live in a society where a lot of people, especially politicians, but a lot of people in business as well will never, ever, ever admit that they change their mind about anything. They'll just double down on the thing they already know is wrong, because that they will show weakness. And this is a Steve Jobs maximum that I think is, is really great, which is, you know, the famously Steve Jobs once given evidence to show that he was wrong would be like, boom, I'm on the other side now. And with Steve, I think it was like, and I really was always here but yeah, <laugh>, but, but still Steve has learned that particular juujitsu from Steve Jobs and used it in the GQ interview.
Andy Ihnatko (00:54:56):
Yeah, I thought that that did. One of the things that kind of disappointed me is that boy, Steve has been gone for a long, long time an interview with the c e O of Apple, should not no longer be one third about Steve and what taught him and what Steve's legacy was, and how a certain thing makes, makes Tim think about what Steve told him a while ago. I've, I I'm sure that that's, I get the impression from Tim Cook that this is because of a, a genuine fondness as opposed to he knows that he's got a golden ticket to Perry pretty much anything he wants to parry off. But the, that also brings up another thing that I really, really liked about this interview in that you were, you're right, it was very well written. This, this this reporter was not at all dazzled.
He was sensitive and savvy enough to be able to impart where, okay, here's where Tim is powering something off here. He, and here's where he is being a little bit evasive and also little details like, well, he was wearing an Apple watch, but during all the times that we talked, he didn't look at it even once. Little details that give you, if, even when the subject of, of an interview is well coached enough, and well practiced enough not to say anything that reveals more than they wanna reveal. A really good interviewer observes and notes things that are go, are going to, that they don't know that they're ta they're, they're revealing about themselves. So yeah, it was a very, very, very, very good interview. Also, I'm, I was very pleased gq, like I didn't, I didn't see the usual like captions, cuz I didn't, this was, I didn't read it in the print version. Of course I've read it online, but when you go to the bottom, you do see the fashion credits. His jacket is by Tom Ford, his shirt, by Brioni jeans, by Levi's glasses throughout his own. A watch is the Apple Watch Ultra. The shirt is by Kaan the shirt, also by Kaan shirt by Katon. He really likes that brand. Pants by Page Belt by Nordstrom, Burts by Berluti watch also the Apple Watch watch series.
Jason Snell (00:56:49):
Amazing how they got that a all that Apple watch for him to wear like po There you
Andy Ihnatko (00:56:53):
Go. Lucky guy. Don't know what his, what what, what scent was he wearing? That's the only thing I was missing out on. But
Jason Snell (00:56:57):
Well, we'll have to follow up. The other thing I wanted to mention, there's a hilarious question because again, this writer is, is very knowledgeable. He's done his homework at the very least. He says, Hey, hey Tim, how about that story where the, the, you know, a guy across the table from you in a meeting said, we have a problem in China. And then like five minutes later you look up and at him and say, why are you still here? And he immediately goes to the airport and flies to China. Is that a real story? And, and Tim Cook's response is amazing. He's basically like I mean yeah, <laugh> th that happened. Sure. He's still here. <Laugh>, we, he runs operations. Yeah. And I just love, I I
Andy Ihnatko (00:57:41):
I hear his vacuum cleaner in the hallway now.
Jason Snell (00:57:43):
Yeah. I, I love the dynamic of, Hey, Tim, here's a legendary story about you and Tim responding with the, the verbal equivalent of the shrug emoji. Just like <laugh>
Dan Moren (00:57:51):
Yeah. Uhha conversation. That, that is the thing that does make me feel like Tim Koch, you know, it does convey a degree of authenticity and, and genuineness to Tim Koch is like, he's that guy. Yes. He's a, he's a politician. He's gonna say things, but at the, at the end of the day, it feels like he's kind of what you see is what you get, right? Yeah. Like, I think there is a, a large degree of him that is just the, the attitude, whatever PR has done to sort of cor growl him is kind of lean into who he is already. And he doesn't really try to make out that he is anything other than that. So Yeah. That is what I mean. Yeah.
Alex Lindsay (00:58:26):
Well, that may be an, a legendary story. I think the other thing that kind of communicated was that kind of conversation may happen often
Jason Snell (00:58:33):
All the time, <laugh>, like
Alex Lindsay (00:58:35):
He just like,
Jason Snell (00:58:35):
And the guy, and it's just part of doing business.
Alex Lindsay (00:58:37):
Right. But that's what we do. You know, like that's what, that's how we, we play really hard. And and that's what it looks like.
Jason Snell (00:58:42):
Yeah. Yeah. He's still here. I mean, because some people can interpret that as like, you yelled at him and he, you sent him to China and he never came back, right? And he's like, no, he runs operations now. He's like, he's just
Dan Moren (00:58:51):
A guy. I, I didn't know if that was the first time we had the Sabi k who is actually an svp, like, you know, and is a, a name. Like, I'd heard that story before, but never with that name attacked. Ah, yeah. He's like, yeah, that is a, a still a very significant player at Apple. So clearly that is, that's the way you get in Tim's good graces, right? Like he says, go, you're like, I'm my bag's packed. I'm gone.
Jason Snell (00:59:10):
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, you, I think
Alex Lindsay (00:59:11):
That that's, I think that's a, that's a cultural thing all the way through the company. I don't think it's just Tim that's like that. Yeah. I think that there's a lot of people at Apple like, like, you know, we're gonna do whatever's necessary to have this, whatever that is. Cause there's, you know, the specificness of the, of the campus and everything, is it, it it, it's not just one person <laugh>. Yeah. I mean, it comes from the top. It emanates from the top, but it's been there for a long time.
Jason Snell (00:59:31):
That's why I, for me, it was so telling and, and you can e read it, that it's a famous story that has taken on a life. And yet when you really look at it and examine it from Tim Cook's perspective, it's just not a big deal. It's a thing that they do. You could view it that way, or you can view it as an outsider as being, yeah, I know we all think that this is ridiculous, but this is what they do. And either way is a valid reading of that <laugh>. But it's just, it was what a, what a wonderful moment of like, Tim famous story. How do you feel about this? And he's like, yeah, what? I don't even understand why you're asking me about it <laugh>. Like, that's amazing.
Alex Lindsay (01:00:02):
Well, and it's, and it's, and it's very different in the sense that, you know, I I, there's a story of a Steve Jobs, you know, firing people very quickly, you know, like, you know, asking
Jason Snell (01:00:09):
Alex Lindsay (01:00:09):
Elevators what you do for me. Yeah. What do you do for me? And you Bad answer means you're fired. I asked someone who was at Pixar about, about that, and they go, oh, I've been fired three times. Yeah, there's actually, there's, there's a person that walks behind Steve that just goes,
Jason Snell (01:00:21):
It's fine. Yeah. <laugh> the unfi the HR person's like, no, no, no. That's not that unfi that person. I think that person may work at Twitter now. <Laugh> the, the unfi. Alright, <laugh> a lot of ar talk. We're gonna move on to some other topics. I'm gonna get mad about CarPlay. We're gonna imagine things about the Apple watch. But first Leo, I know he's probably Splunking in a cave somewhere in Europe right now looking for the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant or something like that. But before he left, he he has some messages for all of us to listen to Leo,
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Jason Snell (01:03:48):
Thank you, Leo. Beaming in. I'm, I've beamed in to replace Leo. I didn't know that he was on a cruise again. That guy is an inveterate cruiser. I've been on cruises with Leo too. Life of the party, let me tell you. Okay. Mark Erman at Bloomberg, who I for my money is the best connected regular reporter about Apple. He has good sources. He had them when he was at nine to five Mac. He has them now at Bloomberg. Big surprise Bloomberg, like didn't care off his sources. He's got really good sources. That that was
Andy Ihnatko (01:04:20):
A Bloomberg, that that was a good buy for Bloomberg. That was a good
Jason Snell (01:04:22):
Investment. It really was. I mean, he was literally a college kid. He was at the University of Michigan and writing at nine to five Mac, and then he went from there to Bloomberg, being the lead reporter on Apple, the most important, powerful, expensive, whatever company in the world. Pretty good move. Good job. Mark Erman. I like him. He's a good guy. Gets invited to Apple events sometimes too, which is kind of funny considering. Anyway, mark Gorman's report this week says, watch S 10 coming out or being announced at wwc will bring notable changes to the Apple Watch user interface. And on Twitter, he said, I believe the new watch s should be a fairly extensive upgrade, notable changes to the user interface. Now, in his, in his report on bloomberg.com, he also says the hardware probably won't be much of a refresh this fall. It's gonna be a fairly light year for the Apple Watch hardware. And as a result, they're trying to pump it up with big software changes instead and watch OS 10. And not to spring it on all of you, but I was wondering what would be a notable change to watch os at this point? It is, right? Like what can we imagine? Can any of you imagine what there is that would be ripe for a notable watch os change? I'm curious.
Andy Ihnatko (01:05:37):
One thing. Developers can develop their own watch faces.
Alex Lindsay (01:05:41):
Dan Moren (01:05:41):
Gosh, Andy Steth, a hundred
Alex Lindsay (01:05:43):
Dan Moren (01:05:43):
Was it. <Laugh>.
Jason Snell (01:05:45):
Imagine, imagine. Well, the watch face really is like having, it's the interface. Eight, eight years of wearing this, the interface, the face is the most important thing, right?
Dan Moren (01:05:54):
Yeah. Everything else is gravy. I mean, they've tried a whole bunch of stuff to try and get you to use different parts of the app West. They've got the doc and now in the ultra, they've got the action button and you know, all this stuff. Complications, all these things. But I think fundamentally what changes is 90% of the time you're, your app watch is on the watch face. So if they, you can't do anything with that, it's a non-starter. So I think any, there's some major change has to start there.
Alex Lindsay (01:06:17):
And there's so much customization that you'd, that a lot of us would love to do <laugh>, like, and just lay things out that are not just changing the complications, you know, like there's, there's a lot more to designing, you know, something that's clean, that's something that's, you know, that, that can work and, and, and things that will step outside of some of the rules. Like for instance, atomic Clock is something that I use and, and it's on the phone. It's on, there's an app on the watch, and it will show up on the watch as a watch face. And it, it shows all the seconds, which is really important when you're in production is I wanna be able to have my watch and look down at the seconds. But it turns off after a very short period of time. And I, I actually pinged them and they were like, yeah, it's not us.
<Laugh> capital turns the turns, seconds off. And I'm like, here's the deal. I have a big watch I paid a lot of money for. I don't care if it lasts for two hours. Like if in the 10 minutes that I'm getting ready for my pre-show, I just wanna say, hey, exactly. I want to turn it on, leave it on. And, and and I'll burn up the battery for it and I'll gimme a warning before I tap on it and say, yes, I don't wanna do anything else for 30 minutes, or whatever it is. And so I think that for me, that's the number one thing is being able to see seconds is, is a big deal for me. And being able to have, but more importantly, exactly what Andy said, which is watch faces. Like it's all I care about now at this point. All I care about Apple do changing on the watch. I mean, everything else is like, sure, like whatever you want to do, but just gimme watch faces.
Andy Ihnatko (01:07:30):
Yeah. One of the very few problems of the Apple Watch, I think is that there really is a sameness about it where
it's, I don't, I'm, I'm, I'm struggling for the way to put it that doesn't, doesn't make, that isn't more, that isn't stronger than I mean it to be. But it's like you feel a, a watch is a piece of your own style. It's a piece of your own expression of who you are, what your tastes are, what your des what your, what your drives are. And to an extent, if you have a watch, you're just another person with an Apple watch, you can, you can change the bands. That's great, that's great. Some of us have the, the Disney face that's also great. But there's something about I'm custom, I'm, I've decided that thank you for the 80 million complications that allow me to track my health and save my life. I really just want a kitty. And the time and the kitty changes, the what the kitty looks like changes over the course of the day.
And at, at night. It's a slump. It's a sleeping kitty. And I don't have to defend that. It's like, just something where it gives me joy. The twice an hour in which I take a look at this watch face, it's one of the few. It's really is one of the few reasons why one of the few advantages that Android wear has or Wear os has over, over watch os probably the only advantage that it has <laugh> really. And there's also the ability, there's also the opportunity for people who are in certain lines of work where I I work in construction a lot of, one of the most surprising markets for for the Ultra is that there are people who work in construction. They work at their, they're loggers. They're very, very physical laborers who need a very, very durable watch.
And these are basically on the watches, on the risk of a lot of heavy equipment operators. Imagine if someone, a, a developer who is also, again, a heavy equipment operator, created a watch face that is not just customizable with, with complications, but is designed so that when you look at the time you are also getting an alert. You're also getting alert to things that only you in the cockpit of a huge bulldozer would want to know about. Or only somebody who is working, working working in an academic environment would always want to know about. Again, it's, it's, it just seems like such an obvious thing. I'm surprised that they haven't done it by now. The fact that there are so many really clever hacks making use of, well, I can have my, I can have a picture as the background so I can maybe make it kind of look like it's an old-fashioned Casio calculator watch, which is what I want. Or I can use the, use the animation to basically fake something, this, that and the other. When someone is going through all that effort to pretend to have a feature, that's a good time to look into actually editing that feature.
Jason Snell (01:10:10):
Yeah, it's the the developer David Smith has been experimenting. Very talented developer of watch Smith and Widget Smith among other things. And he, in his spare time, basically writes, watch us apps that are watch faces, which, you know, can't be really used as watch faces other than while the app is running. But it gives him, I think, pleasure to do this design and it shows that it can be done. And I, I agree. I think that the watch face is so central to watch os that the number one thing that I thought of was customizable third party developer watch faces. And for people who are like, well, isn't that an intellectual property concern? Cuz there are trademark, like everything goes through the app store. Folks like Apple could have a rigorous watch face approval process. And then we get to have all sorts of con you know, controversies where we complain about why did this get rejected or why did this get accepted?
And that's all fun too. But they can, they can exert control over it while allowing people to do some brilliant things that perhaps Apple has been reluctant to do in the past or has just not thought of or not prioritized it, it has always felt that the people working on Watch O West wa watch Faces was a very small group of people who probably didn't have enough funding, quite frankly that the, it's a very limited supply. So saying maybe we could outsource this and get some more watch faces in the App store seems like a good thing. I, the, the thing I would throw out that's, that's watch face related also is complication related. I feel like complications are the place, cause I have a lot of wa watchOS apps complications are the place where my apps surface where they peek through.
Like, I I, I interact with them more by looking at them in a face as a complication than I do actually operating those apps. And they don't, they don't update very often. And that's a legacy of the early days of the Apple Watch when it didn't really have any processing power, but they still don't update as often as they probably could or should. They're not interactive in any way. There's probably at least some ability that would be nice to interact with them without having to go launch the app and then use the app a very brief, whether it's a swipe or a tap to change the view or something like that. And then dynamic complications was the other thing that I thought of, which is the example I keep giving is, you know, I wanna see my running timer when it's running, but I don't wanna leave a complication up for the Timer app all the time. That's ridiculous. And yet right now complications sort of have to either be on or off all the time instead of it being, you know, this time of day do this or in this context do this. And I'd love to see more of that.
Dan Moren (01:12:46):
Apple tried to sort of briefly force all that when it added that Siri watch face that's supposed to figure stuff out, but then they kind of just let it sit there forever and it never really changed again. So I think they decided maybe, maybe that's not the way to handle this problem.
Jason Snell (01:13:01):
It has to want to change Dan. That's the problem with the Siri watch Face <laugh>.
Dan Moren (01:13:05):
It has to sir does not want to change. It
Jason Snell (01:13:06):
Has to want to change. You can't change it. For you. It has to want to change first.
Andy Ihnatko (01:13:11):
It is an interesting problem though cuz Apple really can't change the hardware at all at this point. They have, they've, they've, they've got the, they've, they've got the Scrolly thing, they've got the push button thing, they've got the haptic response and they've got a square screen and they really can't change anything else about that for risk of having bifurcating the platform and creating two classes of users. And there's also the question of what would they add to the, to the mechanical interface. I mean, they ki they re they really did kind of get it right. I, I don't prefer a square dial. I really do like the round dials of Wear os if Apple created a round dial, I think that would be such class, such, such, such a, such a cool bit of coolness. But yeah, they really have to do with, do stuff with software. And they've also ha been smart enough for the past X years to realize that this isn't a productivity device. This really is a, a fashion device and a, and a and a fitness device. So I think that whatever changes they make to the UI is gonna have to reflect that.
Jason Snell (01:14:06):
Yeah, I'm a little surprised Mark Herman saying that there's not gonna be major hardware changes. I, I sort figured that they might follow up the Apple Watch Ultra with a version of the regular Apple Watch with the action button. You talk about your one major change to the Apple Watch hardware since it debuted as this one new button on the ultra a hardware button dedicated to a specific function. Although when I talk to people who use the Apple Watch Ultra, I just send some frustration the fact that it, it's gotta be hardwired to a single thing. Again, no context, it can't be used by apps to do something within the app. It really needs to be one thing wherever you are. Which is kind of a bummer, right? You've got the Crown, you've got the side button, you've got the action button on the Ultra, but they're all kind of like dedicated to be one thing all the time.
And it's a little bit frustrating. I I I still I would love an action button on the regular Apple Watch Yeah. As well. Cuz it's just one hardware buttons are good. Like, I mean this is the debate. I know it's come up here before too, but like touchscreens and cars, right? Like you can't make everything a touchscreen. Hardware buttons are good. Hardware dials are good. Being able to do something by feel the worst. Okay, everybody can fight me. The worst iPod Apple ever released was that third generation iPod where they replaced the, the physical buttons with those four touch sensitive buttons at the top above the scroll wheel. Where if you were trying to navigate by feel, well guess what? You touched it and it would just fire off. And like, that's better or worse than the iPod shuffle with no buttons. Oh, well that, that is a zen Dan, that is a zen question of whether the, the bad buttons or no buttons is worse or better.
But yeah, anyway, so, so physical buttons are good. Adding another physical button to the Apple watch. Good. you know, this goes with the reports that I know we talked about last week. That the, that the ring switch on the iPhone in a future version perhaps this fall will be replaced with a button. And that the possibility is that that button could be assigned like you know, to an accessibility feature or some other feature and not necessarily just the silent mode switch that currently exists. I love that idea. Like gimme physical buttons that I can feel they have a place, even though Apple has seemingly tried over the last 20 years to remove as many ports and buttons from their products as possible. The War on buttons continues, is what I'm saying. <Laugh>, bring it back.
The action button is the first crack in the war on buttons we've had in a long time. I think <laugh> returns, that's good. Let's, let's get in there more buttons. Here's a story that I found interesting and infuriating, which is General Motors very proudly this week announced that they're going to get rid of their support for CarPlay and Android Auto, but on their EVs by standardizing on an Android automotive, which is not the same as Android Auto cuz it's a base operating system that runs on the car whether you've got a phone or not Android Automotive based subsystem. But as a part of that, they're saying they're going to phone projection essentially CarPlay and Android Auto out of the equation. And therefore if you
Alex Lindsay (01:17:15):
No, they, yeah. What, go ahead. Sorry. I just think they, they did us all a big favor because now I don't have to look at GM cars ever again. <Laugh>. Yeah. Like, like I don't, I don't even have to consider them. Like, the chances of me buying a car without airplay is zero, without
Jason Snell (01:17:29):
Carplay. Like, not
Alex Lindsay (01:17:30):
Even, yeah. Without CarPlay. I'm sorry, without, without. Carplay is zero Zero. Like, like not even minus. It's like me making fun of people whom, who it's, it's like in the negatives because I'll make fun of people like, oh, it doesn't have airplay. No, it doesn't have CarPlay does it? <Laugh> you know, like it'll be, it'll it'll just be this like mocking this of like, why would you buy a car that can't connect to your phone? Feels like they really
Dan Moren (01:17:50):
Ran over their foot to spite their face or something here with
Jason Snell (01:17:53):
Their own car.
Dan Moren (01:17:54):
<Laugh> with their own car just backed right over themselves. Yeah, I don't, yeah, I don't understand this decision.
Jason Snell (01:17:59):
Apple said last year at the WWC that what 70 some odd percent of people said it was important to them that their next new of new car buyers that their next new car purchase have a CarPlay you know, 70 some percent. Now, I, you know, when the rubber res meets the road, I feel like all the car metaphors are gonna come out now <laugh> will it be enough not having CarPlay, will it be enough to do it? I don't know, but the arrogance that I, I see that car companies are like, yes, we're gonna take this back cuz what's more important, the software that runs on your car or the software that runs on the phone that's in your pocket twenty four seven and that you use for everything and the apps that are on it. Cuz I, I in talking to somebody who knows a lot about the car industry, I found out that Android Automotive, you will be able to install Android apps.
They have to be in the play store and they have to be in the automotive flag basically has to be set for that app. But again, if you have, if you use an app that's not in there or that doesn't have the flag set as your podcast app, let's say and, and, and you've got an iPhone, like it's too bad and it's essentially GM saying, well no, you need to choose a podcast app that works with your car cuz your car is the most important thing and a music app that works with your car because the car software is the most important thing. And then when I get a new phone with a new operating system upgrade that does cool new things, will my car have those new things? Probably not, right? The track record of updating car software is, is is pretty low, but I guess we'll see
Dan Moren (01:19:25):
If they've got Android. You know, if you can run an Android app, you know, essentially you're even going further and just sort of taking off iPhone users and why would you wanna take off iPhone users who are people with generally a lot of disposable income who are probably more likely to buy a new car in the first place. And especially an ev I mean, it, it's a big chunk of your market and it feels like, again, why, why are you doing this to yourself? Why are you running into yourself over and over?
Andy Ihnatko (01:19:51):
It's a, it's an op it's an opportunity. Unfortunately if they, if they use CarPlay and Android or Android Auto, again, it's important that to note that they, they 86 every sort of, every solution where, hey, the apps are running on your phone, yes, just giving, running with a dumb screen. They want all that data. They don't want to share that data with with Android automaker, with a with a, with a CarPlay maker, they wanna see all the transactions that are being made through your phone. They want to collect all that data bundle all that data, monetize all that data. And if they could have licensed iOS they would've as their in cars, in-car data surveillance subsystem they would make that an option maybe. But because they can simply grab Android for free or even better, basically get a la a huge payment from from, from Google to say, guess what?
We are gonna put Android. So guess, guess what? You also get to have the advantage of getting a peak into how people are driving their cars and what apps they're using and what things that you could sell at them at that point. Yeah, that's, it's obvious why they're doing that. It's, it's, it's yet another, it's of, of all up there with the $12 a month for heated seats. It's another way of just degrading the consumer experience because there's a huge profit, huge profit motive that is not gonna helps them, but doesn't help the consumer.
Jason Snell (01:21:11):
Key data point here from GM's statement, we do believe there are subscription revenue opportunities for us said the the digi chief digital officer at GM in announcing this now gm of course behind OnStar, which was a previous subscription opportunity where they wired cell modems into cars and charged you a monthly fee for things like GPS tracking or making phone calls which really got hit by everybody having smartphones. You kinda didn't need that anymore. So this is a new opportunity to lock you in and pay for features using this. They say that the navigation features will be free for the first eight years you own the car. That'll be great for resale value. People are gonna love that part of it too. Also there I should say, I should give voice to their excuse, which is we have a lot of new driver assistance features coming that are more tightly coupled with navigation.
We don't want to design these features in a way that are dependent on a person having a cell phone. And I know it seems ridiculous that somebody wouldn't have a cell phone, but there are lots of scenarios where you lose your phone or you are having somebody park your car or you're leaving it at the airport parking and they have to valet it somewhere. Or there, there are lots of scenarios where you can't have a car that doesn't work unless a paired smartphone is nearby. But that's not the same <laugh>, that's not the same as at all at what they're describing here, which is no, no, we are also not gonna let your smartphone appear in a window in our user interface. And as for navigation, it would be very easy for a car maker to say, well, we have the nice navigation that has all information about all the, all the battery status and where the chargers are, and we're gonna do our self-driving features and they're all tied together. And if you want to use any of that, you need to use our navigation and not Google Maps on your phone. Fair enough. But instead they're using that as an argument to never be able to use Google Maps Well, because on your phone,
Alex Lindsay (01:23:03):
And the problem is because there'd be no uptake. I mean, if, if they have, if we can do Google Maps or, or Apple Maps or we can use our, our, our, our Android phone or app or iPhone,
Dan Moren (01:23:12):
Alex Lindsay (01:23:12):
Won't use it. I don't even think, I don't even think about the interface in a car that I rent cars and I don't even think about those interfaces <laugh>, like, I'm just like, I'm just gonna, I'm taking over. Yeah. You know, and, and so the thing is, is that I don't have any and so the problem is, is that they're in a situation where they can't even roll those features out because no one cares. Like no one cares about their features anymore. And the hard part that, that, that automotive industry is going to have is that no one really cares about cars anymore. So the thing is, it's not no one but a, a very, a shrinking supply of, of, there's a shrinking supply of consumers who really care about the car because the car is a pain in the neck when you're trying to surf all the time.
So when you're on your phone, you know, like, no, I have, I have kids that aren't interested in driving <laugh>. Like, you know, you know that they're like, they're like, they're like, that's a pain in the neck because now I can't, you know, I can't be talking to my friends, you know, texting with my friends or on whatever if I'm in a car, you know? And, and so, so I don't think that the future is, you know, they, they have to figure out how to make this all work. I can see why they're doing it. I just think that making this announcement, you know, there's, I do think there's a large portion of the population that will just go, well, GM's not one of the options that I have when I go to buy a car anymore. Like, it's just off, you know? And so I think that it's nice for them to tell us that ahead of time so we don't get surprised they're taking it away.
But, but it's, but I think that from people like me, I just completely, I mean, I wasn't really planning to buy a Chevrolet anytime soon anyway, so it's, it's not <laugh>. I'm not, I'm not dying from, you know, over the thing. But, but I but I would definitely, and, and you know, apple and Google are making their own cars, and I think that part of it is you're giving data to them, letting them figure a bunch of stuff out that you can't do. And you know, I think that there might be a concern that eventually those, those cars will be the ones that everyone wants to use because they don't want to drive the car, they wanna sit in the back and let it take 'em wherever they're gonna go. And I think that's part of the problem too.
Dan Moren (01:24:57):
I think fundamentally the, the car companies are also not good at this. They're bad at the software development stuff. It's not in their wheelhouse, so to speak. There's a good argument in a good article in the Verge today that was talking about some of this as well as talking about the Cadillac's failed q infotainment system maybe 10 years ago or so. And it was so bad that it basically tarnished that brand, you know, as a result. And it, yet GM's back here times take a second bite at that apple. And it's, it's really strikes me as, as somebody who, you know, I was talking to, Jason and I were talking about this a while back and somewhere else, but the I wrote a piece maybe a decade ago when I bought my car about how bad the, the interface was in the car.
Like, and it had a, a system where you could connect stuff or put stuff on a, you know, a SD card and put it in MP3s on an SD card, or it had Bluetooth or whatever, and it just, the interface was broken, it didn't work well. And like, you buy a 20, 30, 40, $50,000 car and feel like this system is bad, but I am stuck with it. Like, the best thing that ever happened to some of these car companies were the invention of Android Auto and CarPlay. Because all of a sudden it's like, well, I've got a whole new interface, right? Like, I don't have to worry about this thing that will never get updated and that will be broken forever because they're just not going to bother pushing an update to it. Instead, I can just use my phone that I always have with me. So I, if
Alex Lindsay (01:26:25):
The biggest use, the biggest use for the, the last car we had, which I didn't have the ability to do to, to do CarPlay, was that it was really good for the suction cup that we used to mount our iPad onto the phone. You know, like we were just sucking cup into it and put the iPad on and then take over, you know, and call today. And so, and when CarPlay came out, we were actually using the screen again, which was a new thing.
Jason Snell (01:26:45):
And I, you could downplay this and say, look it, it's running a version of Android and it's gonna have the play store and you're gonna be able to do it. And that Verge story that Dan's referring to mentions that VW is working on something too, and they're gonna, they're very proud, they're gonna have their own app store. But like, when you start to think about that, I think it all unravels because not only does it need to be on the play store in this case, so you have to have an Android version. Number one, the an if you're an iPhone user is the Android version from somebody who's not a great Android developer. Apple for example, <laugh> or, and is it, are all the flags checked? Did the developer forget to check the flag for Android Automotive or are they not happy with it?
They they haven't checked it out. They don't know what the, the experience is gonna be like. And again, what if you're using an app that doesn't have an Android version and you're an iPhone user, or even if you are an Android user, you're talking about a separate device that has to sync all its data. Your phone has to sync its data with your cloud account, I guess if you're using a podcast player or something like that. And, and of course every time you do that, there's a chance for them to get outta sync. Whereas if it's on my phone and it's, and then it's in a window on my car, I know it's my phone that I've preloaded, you're, you're taking you're listening to music or podcast and you're out of cellular range, well, guess what? Your car doesn't have that connectivity. Your phone does, your phone freeloaded it and you've still got that stuff there to listen to.
And again, yeah, I mean there are, there, there's Bluetooth, right? But I, I don't have a car play car, actually, I haven't had a car play car. My daughter has one. I installed a, a car play head unit in, in her car aftermarket, but then she took it with her, so selfishly to college. And so I don't have access to CarPlay anymore. And so I use Bluetooth everywhere I go. And I'll tell you, Bluetooth stinks. Bluetooth is great. Okay. It's great in the sense that you can get audio off of your phone, but like the interface is basically non-existent because it's this stack that was built so many years ago and is probably implemented inconsistently across all cars that basically you can just kind of go forward or backward and volume up and down and forward and backward on a podcast player is like a 32nd forward.
But like, what about a chapter skip? Or what about like, or what if I need to pick a different podcast to listen to in a playlist right now that means I have to pick up my phone while I'm driving, which you don't want me to do. Or I could tap a couple of things on a CarPlay interface. So like, even if you get past the app thing and say, oh, well you can install apps on this thing. And, and even if you believe that your car maker is not going to have an app store that has lots of missing pieces, and even if you believe that your car maker suddenly doesn't get to the point where they're like, well, some apps we really don't want in our cars. And they start blacklisting apps and you can install them in their car because they don't want that app on there.
They don't want ways on there because they want them to use your navigation app. And you know, this thing is the MLB app. You could theoretically watch video and we don't want to allow that, and they're not gonna do a custom version for our car. So we're just gonna ban that one. And now that one's out of the store, even though it's in CarPlay or Android Auto, this is, it's just, I have no trust as I I Dan said it like they're bad at this. This is not in their wheelhouse. I have no trust that this time is gonna be different. It's gonna be a Lucy polls the football away from Charlie Brown kind of thing again, where they're gonna talk a good game and they're gonna roll this out and it's gonna be limited and frustrating and not get updates and be from a company that doesn't understand technology. And I think we had this solved, which is what if you gimme a little window and let me project this phone that all my, my whole life is on, and I'll use that when I'm in the car. How about that? And I know that hurt them, that hurt
Dan Moren (01:30:21):
Jason Snell (01:30:21):
Egos. Right? And they're trying to take it back. And the only way this will stop is if people literally say, I'm not buying that car if it doesn't have CarPlay.
Dan Moren (01:30:29):
Yeah. Is this a, is there a backlash here too? I just wondered a little bit last year, last year at WW d c Apple showed off its next generation of CarPlay, which is this whole idea that will work with vendors and you'll be able to sort of take over the entire instrumentation of your car and, and have it work the way you want. And is this a little bit of backlash from GM being like, whoa, whoa, whoa, that is too far. We don't want 'em taking over our carefully constructed odometer experience and saying like, we're gonna make a deal so that we, you know, cause Apple's trying to encroach on our, our ground essentially, and we don't even wanna let them touch our stuff.
Jason Snell (01:31:01):
But the part, I mean, it's a partner deal, right? So you would just not have it. Sure. They would just, they would just say, no, we're not doing that. We're just keeping it in a they
Dan Moren (01:31:07):
Feel insulted though. It's maybe a weird thing.
Jason Snell (01:31:08):
Well, they should be a weird
Dan Moren (01:31:09):
Alex Lindsay (01:31:10):
To it, <laugh>. And they may be trying to, to signal signal back to other car makers, like, Hey, let's not go down this path. You know, we can't talk about it. That would be collusion. But, but we can say, we can make an announcement that we're getting rid of this completely, and that nudge, nudge, wink wink. You, you probably don't wanna keep on, you know, dealing with this because by themselves they're in trouble. Like, I mean, I think they'll lose a lot of money <laugh>, but if they all decide to drop it, then it puts them all in a better negotiating position.
Andy Ihnatko (01:31:36):
Yeah, well, it's, it's, a lot of this is gonna be in the details. Like if they, if they decide to make the, the, the, the entertainment center basically an Android device with parody with pretty much any other Android device you could buy, that wouldn't be quite so bad. Because one of the things I like about the Google Play App store versus the the iOS store is that you can access it by buy apps through through a website. And then when you buy the app, it'll say, here are the nu here, here are all of the Android devices you have registered under your Google account. Here are the one, here is a list of the ones that are compatible with this app. Choose which device you want to install this on. So it could be as simple as, for an iPhone user, go to play.google.com, buy ways or buy whatever navigation or whatever kitty music app that you want, and then select, Hey, please put this on my car.
And it just works. But the thing is, these people are just bastards. And so yeah, you can't, may, they might, you, you can't, you can't count on them doing something. What if they, if they say, oh, we'll run Google apps, but what if they're saying that No, we will, we're also gonna have our own GM app store mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and no, we're not gonna let, we're gonna have a, we're gonna, we're doing deals with the most popular navigation apps and the most popular entertainment apps. So that no, you can't just simply install this app or buy this for 9 99. You have to buy this as $120 per month package of apps. And of course, the, as the, the, the usual burden that they're trying to put on everybody is that it it offends them that they're not seeing a single penny from the second, third, fourth, fifth owner of this car.
And by making as many things a service as possible, just simply simple navigation, yeah. They're not gonna get they're not gonna get the, the, the $18,000 that they, it was sold onto as a secondhand car, but they can still stick the second owner for a feature that used to be free. I mean, this is, this is basically, this is just basically the same reason why I continue to be offended that their, that phones and other devices are deleting the headphone Jack, you're taking away something that was useful to me that used to be free, and now making this into an $18 dongle. It's not that I, not the problem that I don't have the $18, again, I'm a freelance journalist, so that's always up to, for up for debate. But it's the, it's the question of why are you taking things away from me to try to turn me into a revenue stream? Don't, you know, it's, it's just offensive.
Alex Lindsay (01:33:53):
Well, and I, and I do think that we can, there's lots of ways we can see how GM might be able to get some advantage and make some more money and squeeze this a little harder. There's just nowhere to see how it's going to improve our, our experience of their cars. And they, and that's a hard, that's an uphill battle. If you can't prove to us why that, that you're making it better for us. You know, again, I think that they may find that they, I don't think they're gonna about face. I think they're gonna dig into this and go down that path, but I think it, it, it may be a scene later as a textbook, like probably shouldn't have
Jason Snell (01:34:21):
Done that. The reaction, I mean, it's interesting to say it's an interesting like are they testing the waters and trying to signal to their competitors that, that follow us to freedom, right? Or is it, that Verge article is very interesting cuz it's basically saying, lots of people don't like this. And I wonder if this is an interesting moment for all the other car makers who are looking at the, the reaction to this release and seeing people say, should do, you know, let's push it. Let's, well, no. Or say, oh, see, people do like their car play and you know, we have a competitive advantage in offering car play, continuing to offer it when GM isn't, or are they gonna, we'll just go down that path too, and then we can get Apple and, and Google, you know, they'll, they'll either be our partner and do what we say or they'll be out of our car entirely.
But yeah, my, my trust in them, like Andy said, like I, my trust in them is low for them to do a good job. And again, there is the fact, and it's just sheer corporate arrogance, right? It's the if you work for a car company, the car is the most important person in important thing in everybody's life, right? It's like, well, what do you mean it's a GM car? It's like, if you work at a record company and you think people really care that this record came out on Arista records and it, they don't, they don't care at all. <Laugh>, they literally don't care. They only care about the artist. Well, you know, gm, they, they people having their phone projected into your car makes your car better. You get to ru have Apples Glow and Apples App store and all the apps, if they're an iPhone user, rub off on your car.
It's a benefit to you, but you lose control and, and Right. And you lose maybe a revenue opportunity where you can sell people on other services. I do wonder, when Andy talks about loading things from the web, I do wonder if they're like, well, your free connectivity is really only for our navigation. If you'd like other con apps to have connectivity, of course you have to buy our premium connectivity package which is basically another cell phone bill except gm. I don't know. I, it, it just, this sounds like it's gonna go badly to, and it's gonna be bad.
Dan Moren (01:36:13):
Yeah. What it boils down to really is if you really think your service is better, then you should compete with it on that ground. <Laugh> you should try to build a better thing, right? And say, well, you can use CarPlay, but we've actually made this thing that's really good. They're not gonna do that. They're gonna be like, no, no, CarPlay.
Alex Lindsay (01:36:30):
I mean, there's very few things where people like bring up a car and they go, oh, I ha I I just bought this car. And you're always like, oh, that's great. What do you think of it? And everything else at this point, if anyone says like, next year I bought a gm, you know, I bought a Chevy or I bought a Cadillac. I was like, oh, right, how's your iPhone working? Like, like it'll, it'll just be this kind of like, stick that, that I, you know, like, how's the iPhone working? It's really great, isn't it? And, and it'll just be this like pushback because it's like, and, and people are gonna feel bad about buying that car, and it's not gonna just be the people who are really mad about it. It's gonna be everyone around them. I know it's gonna be everyone around me.
Andy Ihnatko (01:37:00):
See, I don't, I, yeah, I, I I think that a lot of people in this, most of, I think everybody in this conversation, and a lot of people listen to this conversation, will agree with you. I don't know if that will pervade into the civilian population only because it, it'll, it'll be one of those things that, oh, well, that sucks. And then they'll, they'll get over it in, in a couple of weeks. And the reality,
Well, well, and what, what I'm, what I'm saying is that I do think that these companies know, they, they made that decision of, will this feature, if we make this change, will it affect how many cars we sell? And they decided that no, it really won't. There's, if we, if they got two cars that are absolutely neck and neck, ours in a competitors one connects to their phone better than the other, assuming that that even comes to light during the testing that the test drive that they do, then we'll, we'll eat that. But we feel as though the revenue stream that we can ac we can acquire by taking over that center cons console, it more than outweighs whatever trivial amount
Alex Lindsay (01:37:54):
Sales that we're gonna lose
Jason Snell (01:37:55):
Because of, I think it's a gamble. I think it's a gamble because that, that stat was, I've looked it up, 79% of us new car buyers said they would only consider purchasing a new car that has CarPlay. And that was not of Apple users. That's of all new Carli buyers. So probably the other 20% have an Android phone. But this is the thing, this is my question, and we don't have an answer for it, is do they mean it, like, do they, how strongly do they really feel about it? Because the danger that GM faces is that CarPlay is a checkbox item now. And if you don't have it, people are like, oh, well, no, I, I I care about CarPlay. The, what they're trying, hoping to do is you get a test drive and you go in and you test drive the new Chevy Bolt that's got the amazing new gm, you know, infotainment system on it, and you really like the car. And at that point, you don't even think to ask if it has car play and you get at home and it doesn't have car play. And you're like, yeah, I go, I guess I'll use their apps and it won't matter. And we don't know how strong that 79% is, and GM is hoping that they're, they're not, they, that, that their option will blunt any loss of CarPlay. And I don't know if I
Alex Lindsay (01:39:01):
Believe that's that happening. Yeah. The chances of that happening for an iPhone user will be very, very low, because you'll just be immediately, it doesn't matter how good the interface is, if it doesn't integrate with the rest of your life, you're not going to care. You know, like, you're not gonna care that, like, I got all these other things that work really well with my phone, my car, the last car I had worked really well with my phone. This car doesn't work with my phone done. Like, you know, like, like it's, you know, and, and, and, and it's not gonna matter how it, it, they could have an interface that is 10 times better than the iPhone, and most iPhone users would just go, eh, it doesn't work with my iPhone. You know, and, and so I think that they're gonna, you know, like it's not car play. I can go to, I can have another car. And, and the reality is, I mean, the target market for Chevys or or GM is a, a demographic that is not exactly high school or college students <laugh>. Like, like, I mean, the reality is, is they're, I don't even know. Maybe a big part of their audience even uses, well,
Jason Snell (01:39:53):
When, when you take, when when you talk about new car buyers, you're specifically talking about people who've got more money. So they're probably older because they're buying a new car and not a used car. And that's why you get that and
Alex Lindsay (01:40:03):
GM move that up again.
Jason Snell (01:40:05):
<Laugh>. Yeah. Well, I, I don't, I don't know gm No, I, I, I I don't think that's true, Alex. I think that in the EV realm, which is what we're talking about here the, the Chevy Bolton Bolty UV are actually considered pretty strong EVs. And so they've actually, you know, th that's the perplexing thing here is that they actually have pretty good reputation as an EV manufacturer. But I, I wanna mention, since we're talking about this in the context of of Apple and CarPlay, I wanna mention Tesla and Rivian, because those are two good examples of, of EV companies that have decided to build their own tech stack and not support CarPlay or Android Auto. And you might say, well, you know Tesla and Rivian seem to be doing great in terms of this. It doesn't seem to have hurt them at all.
And maybe that's the case. Maybe that's instructive. I I will point you to, and I don't know if we wanna call this up here, Tesla android.com. I wanna point out that there's this gentleman in Poland, I love this, who has built on a Raspberry Pi Foundation, a an Android install that goes in your Tesla that has an air, has a CarPlay receiver built into the Android install. Pretty amazing. And so you plug it in and you go to the Raspberry Pie via wifi on your Tesla web browser in your car. And what comes up in the web browser CarPlay. Now, is this janky? I don't know, maybe is this clever? It's super clever. I love that this guy did this, and it's all downloadable and you could try it out yourself. And there's some, there's some issues with it, right? Where you've gotta, like what the car has to be on the wifi of the raspberry pie so that they could talk to each other or on a shared consensual wifi. And that, that's a challenge for various connectivity issues using Tesla's navigation system. My point here is not that Tesla android.com is a mainstream application. My point is that despite all the EVs that Tesla's selling, I think Te Tesla sold the te the Model Y was the number one car sold in California last year. Like all that success, there are still people out there hacking together ways to get CarPlay on their Tesla screen. What's
Dan Moren (01:42:12):
Fascinating about that too is, and I think this is also something as these EVs get more and more popular, there's so much more integration. I, I don't know for a fact how true this is, but my sense is it is a lot harder to take a third party head unit and put it in a modern ev potentially Yeah. Than it is in like your 10 year old's car, right? So are the third party opportunities even lower too, for the whole, like, Hey, we're gonna install, I, that's fine. I don't like my built-in system. I can just get a new unit and pop it in instead. And I, I don't know how feasible that is these days. And that's a little worrying if it's like, well, I'm stuck with whatever I have in here. I'm stuck with it
Jason Snell (01:42:49):
Forever. Yeah. It's so integrated that you can't take it out. That that was even true of my minivan, right? Which was from, from 2010. And it was so integrated that you could, you could never remove it. The, the my Nissan Leaf that I have from 2012, it, the screen is so integrated with all the controls and the, the charging timers and things like that. It's like good luck. You basically can't take it out. And the more advanced these EVs get, the more that's true. So you can't just swap out the double den head unit, have a CarPlay mom,
Alex Lindsay (01:43:19):
Don't the CD player. You don't have the CD player anymore. You know what my, my my, my, my wife's car has a, has the Air CarPlay and everything else, and it's great. My, my have, I have a, I have one that is older <laugh> and the best part of the CD player, you can put it, you can insert a thing into the CD player that holds a holder that you can put your iPad on. So, so the thing is, is that those are all, you know, those are the, the CD players turned out to be a great little le ledge that you can stick things into to make that actually work. But I think that, again, I think that the problem really is, is that like I would never consider a car. And, and, and again, I I even looked at Tesla's and I, you know, I thought I'd buy a Tesla and said I bought more cameras, <laugh>, but but you know, I
Jason Snell (01:43:58):
Did, it was the most Alex Lindsay statement ever.
Alex Lindsay (01:44:02):
<Laugh>. I was like, oh, maybe I'll get a Tesla. I was like,
Jason Snell (01:44:04):
Alex's cameras cost. What cars cost though? So that does, that does actually make sense. That makes a lot of sense.
Andy Ihnatko (01:44:10):
Worst, worst luck in the world is to like, get an offender bender with Alex, cuz Oh my God, will that be documented? And then when he gets the data and puts it together saying, judge, jury, please put on your ar goggles.
Jason Snell (01:44:22):
<Laugh>, are my cameras okay? Did my cameras survive the fender bender? I don't know. It's, it's we, we won't know for a while. This is, this is a future direction for GM involving this whole mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, this whole thing. We'll see if they have additional comments. This is really kind of a, an ongoing story. I love that. The Verge followed up with people like me being cranky and have said that a lot of people are, are negative about this. And I do think this is a, a precipitous moment for the auto industry where they could absolutely say, you know, we user experience be damned. We've decided to take back power and control over our, over our users, or whether they're too concerned that now that we've all gotten a taste of freedom, of bringing our own technology and software into our cars and having it be properly integrated, that we will never go back to the way it was before.
Andy Ihnatko (01:45:09):
I can't, I can, I can't. I know, I can't wait to hear like a GM presentation where if someone announced, they announced this, say one word, coverage
Jason Snell (01:45:17):
Alex Lindsay (01:45:18):
Well, and, and, and I think that the only, the only thing I'll say is, is that I think that they are worried about the fact that Apple and Google are both doing a lot of r and d around cars themselves. And while they can say, you can never compete with us with cars. They said that about phones, they said that about watches, they said that about a lot of other things that, that Apple dips its toe into. And it may, you know, if Apple, you know, comes back, comes all the way out, what feature set do they have that may, that anyone cares about? No one's, you know, like, I, I don't, I just don't think the future talking to my kids and talking to other folks that are younger than me and looking at my own use case, I just don't care. I don't want to drive anymore. Like, it's, it's annoying, you know? And, and it's, you know, I just wanna sit in the back and, and take me to the place I need to go and then I'll get out. Best feature
Jason Snell (01:45:58):
Is public transit. Everybody. <laugh>? Yes. There
Andy Ihnatko (01:46:01):
Alex Lindsay (01:46:01):
If it worked in the United States, when I, I'll I'll agree. I agree with you In, in Europe and many other places, I don't even think about getting a car. Like I don't, you know, like, it's like it works. It's just a problem with the United States doesn't,
Andy Ihnatko (01:46:12):
Yeah, it's a, it's, it, this is, this is such a, I I won't, I won't take this down, down into a full rat hole, but it's always fascinating to me that so many companies putting so many billions of dollars into self-driving technology that may will probably make it to level three, might make it to level four. Level five is of science fiction at this point, but nobody's willing to invest in it. How about if we work on the infrastructure to make the roads work better, what if we put a fraction of that money into public transportation to make sure that when people need to get from A to B, they can do so without putting, without putting one person per car. All this sort of stuff. And it's like, oh, there's simpler, there's simpler reasons, there's simpler solutions to this problem. But none of them, but none of the other ones involve like firing lots and lots of people. You can always get lots of, lots of funding and technology to investigate a technology that will allow an industry to fire tens, if not hundreds or millions of people
Jason Snell (01:47:12):
Self-Driving buses. That's clearly the answer. <Laugh>. All right. It is going to be time for the picks of the week. And guess what? I am going to use the host discretion and not have a pick, but my three guests will have their picks. And that is coming up shortly after this word, again from a time traveling. Leo Laport. Leo,
If I may, I'd like to interrupt this lovely episode of Mac Break Weekly. Thank you for filling in for me, by the way with the name of our studio sponsor, you've seen it all around ACI Learning but you've also probably heard the name IT PRO for for the last decade. Our partners at IT Pro have brought you entertaining, engaging IT training to level up your career or your organization. Well now IT PRO is part of ACI learning. Yeah. And that's a good thing with it. Pro ACI learning can expand its reach, its production capabilities and offer you the learning content you need at any stage in your development, any way you like it. Remote, hybrid, or even in person if you're getting into it, you probably have heard that one of the most widely recognized beginner certs is the compt A plus certification.
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Jason Snell (01:51:40):
Alright, my pick of the week is these three guys giving their picks, cuz I can do that cuz I'm the host. Why don't we start with our guest. Our guest, Dan Moron. Do you have a special Dan Mor Mac Break weekly pick for us?
Dan Moren (01:51:56):
Yes. Very, very special. I have I mean I, I do more and more of these shows now that I feel like are on video. And of course we all know the key to good videos, good lighting. I don't know how good my lighting is, but I will say my, my room lighting as it was not very good. So I, I picked up the Logitech Litre Glow for 60 bucks, which is a little light that sits on top of your monitor if you happen to have one. I've got an Apple Studio display here and it plugs in via u sb and you can turn on a head, does a bunch of different color temperatures, a bunch of different brightnesses. And it's really convenient. I like it a lot. My one quibble with it is that Logitech software, which you can use to control it via your computer, is kind of garbagey. There are some workarounds. I I wrote about one over on six colors about how you can sort of set up shortcuts to do some of the control there, which is nice. But
Jason Snell (01:52:44):
It, I do wish Logitech would open that up and have an API available. But what I would say is, you know, it's, it's cheap which is not a small thing if you're looking to set up like a little video set up on the without spending too much money. And it's pretty well designed for all things. It's got a nice little tilt and adjustment and it sits pretty well on top of my monitor. So I, I give that a thumbs up. I'm sure I could do better for lighting, but for 60 bucks it's hard to argue the case. We can see you, so that's good. I'm visible and a lit and a lot of us have lots of Zoom meetings and things. So being in a, you know, most people, not us, not us, but most people don't work in a place where they, they set it up and they go, okay, how's my lighting? Like for like a video? And then you get on a video call and it looks like you're in a horror movie and you think something has to change. So lighting is important for all of us now. Alex, what do you have for us?
Alex Lindsay (01:53:39):
Yeah, yesterday on Office Hours, we had descript come on and they, they kind of walked us through it and Wow. <Laugh>, yeah, it just blew my mind. Like my mind just kind of wrapped open, you know, and, and you know, people in in office hours have been using Descript and talking about it. And I had someone working on the podcast that I do with, with we do with Michael Krasney gray Matter show. We do we, we were using it for some of the post stuff, not some of the production in it cuz I was all like, I'm just gonna bring this into logic. I don't need descript and you can use that for the little cutouts and so on and so forth. But watching you know, we, you know, watching Descript show what, what it was, I I just kind of, it kind of popped my mind open.
So basically you can take your podcast, you, you get your records, you can have multi-track, you can put them all in there. It'll identify all the words for you. You can go through and just edit. I wanna take this out, this out. Oh, I wanna get rid of all the ums, which I still say too many of, I want to get rid of the silences that are longer than half a second. I want to get rid, you know, I wanna do this stuff. And, and you can do all those edits and it's doing it all. You're doing it all to the text and then it just pulls it all together, you know? And it will, if you, oh, do you want lower you? Do you want some do you want captions or do you want the captions to be full screen? Do you want them just to automatically be generated and go along with them?
Do you want, all those things are just kind of built into the thing. And what we really started uncovering talking to them is you can turn it into a full production. You can be adding B-roll and, and you can add, you know, all these other video clips. And when you do that, like in Final Cut, like the magnetic timeline, you start, you still cut things out and it just pulls everything along with it to keep it to, to allow you to assemble this. And from an assembly perspective, I, I think that we're about, after seeing what I saw yesterday on, on Office hours, I, I think that we're gonna start our podcast by putting it into des into descript, you know, cut it all down and then export it. There's still some filtering and other things that I wanna do in Logic and I'll still do all of those things.
But, but as far as getting it to where we want it it's so much faster to do it in descript than it would be, than it was ever. You know, every time someone has a bunch of edits, like we have an edit on a podcast and there's like, oh, take this little part out and I shouldn't have said this. And, and then that doesn't even count the fact that like, if someone says a word, a lot of times what happens is they got garbled somehow, or they didn't say the right name. And you wanna change that name. You can take, take this and just go, just type in like, you didn't say center you said, you know, or, or something. And you can just have that person's voice, say that word. Yep. And I don't know if I do the whole podcast that way, but it will rebuild it. You know, to, to put that voice back in and, and to be able to pull those, all those pieces back together is unbelievable.
Jason Snell (01:56:16):
It's miraculous. I used it for a podcast project back in 2020 where I was doing a lot of different interviews and then trying to intersperse them together. And the idea that you could basically, it's like you edit a podcast like you're just editing a Word doc or a Google Doc. Yeah. And that part is remarkable. And then you made an important point, cuz I've talked to people who've been really skeptical about this. I was really skeptical about this for a long time. But for certain projects, if you're just doing cleanup of like, you know, put in the theme song, then don't worry about it. But if you're doing substantive content edits to a podcast to be able to see the words and move them around or pull them out or do whatever is amazing. And then if you are very exacting in terms of production, you know what, I exported all of those, that series that I did in 2020 to Logic, and then I put 'em in logic where I had control over the compressor and, and the output. And I could do little tiny again. It's not, they, they, they Descript has done an amazing job building a non-linear audio editor in what is essentially web technology. But there's stuff you could do in Logic or audition or something to just fine tune everything at the end. That's fine. Like, but yeah, this huge amount of work at the beginning, you could just do it in descript and not worry about it. It's, it's really like magic. It is magical. Yeah.
Alex Lindsay (01:57:26):
And, and, and it's, you know, there's a lot of things, like one of the things we do is we do all of our, a lot of our podcasts over Zoom. And the problem you get into is ac at a certain distance, there is this long gap and long gaps don't make people feel smarter. <Laugh>, you know, like they, you know, like it feels like there's this long ga you ask them a question and then there's this long gap and the idea of being able to tell descript, just shorten all those gaps. Yep. Like anything that they, they took too long on, you know, just shorten those all up, really tightens the whole show, but might only make it a minute or two minutes shorter than, than it was overall. But it makes it feel much snappier, you know, and, and gives it a lot more energy. It's, it's, I I, I was, again, I, people have been trying to persuade I'm, I can be very slow about things and people can sit there and they've been trying to persuade me to use it for like a year, you know, and, and I was just like, oh, I got, I have logic. I can just do this thing. And now I'm like, as soon as I went through that hour, I was like, okay, I'm done. I'm,
Jason Snell (01:58:17):
Yeah, yeah. There's a, that control freaky nature, right? Which is like, I know how to do this, I'll edit it myself. And then I, I, for me it was, oh, I need to intersperse 15 different interviews sentence by sentence with different voices. And I thought, oh, what am I gonna do? And I, and then I thought, well, I'll make transcripts and then I'll edit the transcripts and then I'll hand it to an editor and say, here's the, here's the edits with the time code. Go edit this in logic for me. And then I thought, or I could literally just use descript where I copy and paste different sentences and the audio goes along with, and it's amazing. So. Well, yeah, it's amazing.
Alex Lindsay (01:58:49):
And, and the idea that like a lot of times someone, you have to cut something and the way that they said it, they slurred into that next word. And now you can just take that word out, put it on the
Jason Snell (01:58:57):
One they've got new, the yeah. Voice generation back in tech that they can do. It's also good for my understanding is like if you're doing a documentary or an NPR something where the host is not available and you need a word, right? Exactly. Like you can just generate the word and you, yeah, you could use that for evil, but that's not what it's for. It's, it's being used for good. It's, it's great. Thank you. That's descript.com and you can try it out for free and then you, you pay, but you try it out for free and you'll be amazed. You will be amazed. Andy, what do you have for us?
Andy Ihnatko (01:59:24):
Well, our conversation about losing CarPlay and and Android Auto made me think of one of my evergreen recommendations. Car mounts for phones and tablets, they get a really bad rap because most of them are absolutely terrible. They're like suction cups that don't hold, or if by some or it just jams into your like a, a a a car vent or in a really, really weird way. And either way, like if, unless you're gone, unless you're on a pool table, smooth, smooth road, like there's vibration that makes it hard to like actually take a look at the screen and get really quick information. But forget, forget about that though. There's a company called Ram Mounts that makes an entire industry out of just mounting technology inside cars and planes and boats. And they are the real deal for sure. They're all the components are really like heavy cast metal.
When you lock when you lock a screen in place, it absolutely stays there. It's a modular system. So I I have a a hard mount. It, it is worth, it was worth putting a couple screws in my dashboard to have like the mounting post for for, for my phone right there in the dashboard exactly where I wanted to be. But when I travel and I know that I'm gonna be renting a car, I can take everything off of that post except for leaving the post behind snap that onto onto a really industrial suction cup or some other sort of amount. And now I can use that in the rental car just as easily. And it's all modular. So if you're worried about like, gee, I, the, the, the arm isn't long enough or I can't twist, I can't put this into landscape mode, or hey, I, I just switched from to to a larger phone or now I've, I've been using the phone for a long time and now I actually wanna buy an iPad mini specifically for the car.
You don't have to buy everything all over again. You just buy the thing that makes the arm longer or you just buy the thing that connects, that holds up your phone or your tablet, even their systems for like kind of soft mounting of your phone and your tablet. If you're not gonna leave it there permanently, if you just really wanna dock it when you come in, take it off when you leave. The systems they have are so easy to put the two click this into place and then so easy to remove it. And they're, they're not expensive at all. Like if a really bad like amazon.com bargain cost $22 and doesn't really work. You could put together a system that's specific to your needs for about 35 to $40. And once again, I, I've got, at this point, I've got a ev every time that I need something to do something new, over the past 10 or 15 years, I've bought like another accessory or another component to make that, that solution.
And now I have this box of Ram Mount components. And every time that I'm in a new situation, like like when I was testing a whole bunch of different like bike software a bike phone app. So I have, like, I need now, I need to have like three phones mounted on the handlebars of my bike, plus I want a camera mounted on another place. It was just simply take all this stuff that I bought with no intention of ever putting it on a bike. And all I had to do was like, buy like a $12 component to put this on the handlebars highest recommendation. And if I, it's, it's, it's the reason why I don't particularly care what the in dash entertainment system is, cuz I really much prefer having my iPad mini or my phone up there on the dash.
Again, not, I, I don't get the idea of driving like this than having to go like that every time you need to see what the turn is. I always have my phone set up so that it's at the exact, it's always to my left at the exact same height as my rear view mirror on the outside, so that as I'm scanning the mirrors while I'm driving my, my eyes will also naturally track across that phone screen so I can see, okay, I don't have to worry about a turn front of the 5.2 miles or whatever like that. So definitely take a look at it. It's, it is the real deal. You've been, you've had your heart broken by the stuff before. This will mend it for you very, very easily. Again, if there's any reas, if you have, you'll not doubt the, the, the value of drilling holes in your dash to permanently mount some of this stuff inside your car because you'll know that. Great. I'm gonna be five this car for another eight years. I'm gonna be using this stuff for eight years
Jason Snell (02:03:34):
Ram mount.com. Thank you Andy. That brings us to the end of back break, wiggly only time left to thank my guest, Dan Mor, thanks for replacing me. Who's replacing Leo this week? I appreciate it. Hey you have a site where you write about technology and stuff?
Dan Moren (02:03:50):
Oh yeah, I do have one of those sites. It's called tip of My Tongue. Ah, six Colors you can find. Oh, more over sounds great colors.com. It's got all six colors. Tire rainbow. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>.
Jason Snell (02:04:02):
It's great. It's nice. And also you write books. What's your latest
Dan Moren (02:04:05):
Book? I write books. My latest book is the Nova Incident, which came out last July. I've written a whole bunch of books in the Galactic Cold War series. You can find out more about email@example.com and they're available and find bookstores everywhere. I always recommend you check out your local independent bookstore because they're great.
Jason Snell (02:04:22):
Some of them are available in terrible bookstores, but they're all available.
Dan Moren (02:04:25):
Don't fine bookstore. Don't go to those isn't They're fine. They're the fine bookstores.
Jason Snell (02:04:28):
The fine bookstores are the best fine Corinthian bookstores. It's excellent. Mm-Hmm. <laugh> Andy Ihnatko, if I, I would be remiss if I didn't ask when you are going to be on the airwaves at W G B H Boston, which of course I remember fondly from watching Zoom when I was a kid on pb s the radio side where I've seen you live, by the way, I love when you talked to Leo about being at the, at the Boston Public Library, where I have seen you perform live as a tech expert on W G B H.
Andy Ihnatko (02:04:56):
Excellent on the word perform. Thank you very much. Yeah, I'm off this week, but I'm actually at the bpl on next Thursday at 1230. You can be there, live by yourself, cup of coffee and a cookie, eat a sandwich from the sandwiches, eat a sandwich. It's quite lovely. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Last week, last week we had a full house, which was like, and there were like active, like applauding things. So it was like, oh, they, they like that. Oh. And then you're like, gee, they didn't have a reaction to that, that that's line that I said, gee, maybe I, maybe they, maybe I should change my, it gets in your head, but it's a lot of fun. But if you don't want to be, if you don't wanna be there at the bpl check out go to WGBH news.org. You can stream the audio live or later. The ones that are on video, like when we do stream from the studios at the bpl, they're on YouTube. So we can go to W G B H News Channel on YouTube and watch that later.
Jason Snell (02:05:46):
Very nice. Very nice. And Alex Lindsay, last but not least, office hours.global 0 9 0 media. What do what do you have going on?
Alex Lindsay (02:05:57):
Well, we, I would highly recommend checking out the, the script the descript that we did yesterday. It, it, it's probably like I didn't, the reason I would say that is I didn't get it until I really watched that hour. And the, the real advantage of our second hours is that it's not based on one person. If I had interviewed them by myself, I probably wouldn't have gotten the same value. It's the fact that there's so many people asking questions <laugh> about it all, you know, at, at the same time you get this power of a whole, the kind of the hive mind asking questions from a lot of different directions. People that are using it, people aren't using it, people are looking at it from different angles. So I would definitely check that out. And, you know, a lot of our second hours are a lot of fun. We're getting ready for N a b two weeks away from now. And we've got 50 people <laugh> descending on N na B about 15 to 20 onsite and about another 25 to 30 off offsite. And so it should be a really busy, busy week.
Jason Snell (02:06:50):
All right, awesome. And we will all be back next week, of course, except for Dan, who is just a guest. But I will be back in that square where Dan is now, and believe Mike Sergeant will be sitting in this chair or an alternate chair depending on how he feels about sitting in Leo's chair. But regardless thank you all for being here and being kind to your guest host for filling in for Leo. But I, I have to be a little cranky here and say, Hey, you get back to work. You break, time is over.
Jonathan Bennett (02:07:21):
Hey, we should talk Linox. It's the operating system that runs the internet, bunch of game consoles, cell phones, and maybe even the machine on your desk. But you already knew all that. What you may not know is that TWiT now is a show dedicated to it, the Untitled Linox Show. Whether you're a Lennox Pro, a burgeoning SISed man, or just curious what the big deal is, you should join us on the Club TWiT Discord every Saturday afternoon for news analysis and tips to sharpen your Lennox skills. And then make sure you subscribe to the Club TWiT exclusive Untitled Linux Show. Wait, you're not a Club TWiT member yet. We'll go to twit.tv/clubtwit and sign up. Hope to see you there.