00:00:08 ◼ ► From Relay FM, this is Upgrade, episode 218. My name is Myke Hurley, I'm joined by Jason Snell.
00:00:14 ◼ ► Today's show is brought to you by Squarespace, Freshbooks and Luna Display. Hello, Jason Snell.
00:00:21 ◼ ► Hello, Myke Hurley, how are you? I am fine and dandy, my friend, but we have an action-packed
00:00:26 ◼ ► show today, so let's jump straight in to our #SnellTalk question. This question comes from
00:00:31 ◼ ► Reid. It is November, which means it is NaNoWriMo time. Jason, Reid wants to know, are you doing
00:00:38 ◼ ► NaNoWriMo? Are you involved in NaNoWriMo this year? And also, what genres have you written
00:00:43 ◼ ► in past years for NaNoWriMo projects? Well, I am, so I'm not on the board anymore. I spent a
00:00:50 ◼ ► lot of years doing that and finally have termed out of that. I have thought about doing it,
00:00:57 ◼ ► but it's been a busy November so far, as we're about to dive into, thanks to Apple, and so I
00:01:04 ◼ ► haven't. What I'd like to do is devote time to editing the novel that I'm trying to edit and
00:01:10 ◼ ► finish. So more like NaNoEdMo? Yeah, that's right, which is something that people have tried to
00:01:15 ◼ ► make a thing in the past. The genres, I've written three complete novel manuscripts. The first one is
00:01:21 ◼ ► a basically young adult action adventure with superheroes. The second one is a science fiction,
00:01:31 ◼ ► and the third one is a tech industry satire/techno thriller. So different genres for all three.
00:01:39 ◼ ► Oh, wow. Yeah, it sounds great. Unfortunately, they're all first drafts and haven't been
00:01:44 ◼ ► rewritten and aren't ready to be read by a human being. Does it not frustrate you that you have
00:01:49 ◼ ► these kind of like three novels just sitting there? It does. I would have liked my plan when
00:01:56 ◼ ► I was leaving IDG. I was like, "Oh, man, I'm going to finish that novel." But the fact is,
00:02:00 ◼ ► as a freelancer, as an independent, you have to prioritize the paying work. It's very hard to...
00:02:04 ◼ ► I admire Dan Morin, who has just walled off part of his time for his novel stuff, and he has
00:02:10 ◼ ► published novels and has more novels on the way that are being published. And he was able to
00:02:18 ◼ ► commit to use that time. And that's something that it's very hard for me to partition off that time
00:02:24 ◼ ► and not use it for, "Well, I've got this other thing I could do instead for "Six Colors" or this
00:02:28 ◼ ► other thing I could do for "The Uncomparable," and then it ends up not happening. So that's been a
00:02:31 ◼ ► frustration. There's a good cartoon from a webcomic name, which is maybe my favorite webcomic, where
00:02:38 ◼ ► it's the little blob who's in every episode, disappears from this brick building that is
00:02:43 ◼ ► employment and says, "Yes, hooray, I'm out of here," and then it begins throwing bricks around
00:02:49 ◼ ► and saying, "Now I can do anything I want." And the last panel, it's in a new brick building called
00:02:54 ◼ ► "Freelance," and it says, "Oh, no." So that's a little bit like it. So yeah, I would love to
00:03:06 ◼ ► And it just is hard with all the other stuff going on. Ironically, when I had a regular job,
00:03:24 ◼ ► - Yeah, I have rewrites stuff on my calendar all the time, and sometimes... But yeah, this is a
00:03:31 ◼ ► terrible time of year because there are new Apple products. I still have some revisions to make on
00:03:35 ◼ ► my photos book and publish the new version of that. I've got a lot of things stacked up. So
00:03:40 ◼ ► basically, I've been unable to even touch my novel for the last two months. So it's not a great time.
00:03:45 ◼ ► But I'm hoping with what we're gonna talk about today and what we're gonna talk about next week,
00:03:51 ◼ ► that I will have reached the end of the peak Apple cycle, and then we'll be on a little
00:04:02 ◼ ► this quarter has shown to be surprising. So we are gonna be talking about reviews of the MacBook Air,
00:04:10 ◼ ► the Mac Mini, and the iPhone XR today. So we've got a lot of stuff. But of course, the iPad Pro
00:04:17 ◼ ► embargo lifted yesterday. So there are lots of reviews out now. And I know that, Jason,
00:04:24 ◼ ► you have an iPad Pro, but we're not gonna talk about that today. We're gonna talk about this
00:04:31 ◼ ► next week because you haven't had enough time to fill out your kind of feelings about the product
00:04:53 ◼ ► - Yeah, if it sounds like we're being cruel at withholding it, the reality is that I just got
00:04:58 ◼ ► mine. As we release this, I will have had an iPad Pro for all of a few hours. And so there's not
00:05:08 ◼ ► much more I would be able to say than what I said in New York. So better to spend time with it. It's
00:05:16 ◼ ► very much the conundrum of anybody who gets a review unit after the reviews have come out,
00:05:21 ◼ ► which is I could write about it now, but I'm competing with people who've spent a week with it
00:05:26 ◼ ► and I haven't. So that's pointless. And so instead we will wait and then you will get a chance.
00:05:32 ◼ ► - Exactly. I mean, we would have done it and would have like tried to talk about it in a little bit
00:05:37 ◼ ► more detail if we didn't already have three very interesting products to review on this episode.
00:05:46 ◼ ► - So that's what we're gonna devote today's show to. But as I said, we will be talking about the
00:05:51 ◼ ► new iPad Pros. I'm gonna get both as well. So I'm gonna have as much information as I possibly can.
00:05:59 ◼ ► - So if you have questions about the iPad Pro, send in with the hashtag #AskUpgrade next week,
00:06:08 ◼ ► - Yeah. I think that's gonna be an iPad Pro blowout episode where it's just about that.
00:06:22 ◼ ► - Well, also on Connected, hopefully mine will have arrived, but I would have had it for, again,
00:06:28 ◼ ► like an hour maybe. So we'll see. So that's why we're gonna have a bunch of time. I'll be spending
00:06:34 ◼ ► as much time as possible using those devices so we can talk about them on next week's show. But
00:06:41 ◼ ► - Maybe the most interesting of the three for a variety of reasons, we'll see, is the MacBook Air.
00:06:49 ◼ ► So your review started off with something that I really enjoyed, which was looking at the MacBook
00:06:56 ◼ ► Air's history. And it has had a very interesting history. So it was like a marvel when it announced.
00:07:03 ◼ ► They even evoked back to that in the event last week of the manila envelope, the machine being
00:07:09 ◼ ► pulled out of an envelope. It was then realized that it was full of technical issues and downsides.
00:07:16 ◼ ► My brother had one of those things and it overheated to a state that they had to replace
00:07:24 ◼ ► it twice. It overheated so bad, something just went wrong in the machine, like the logic board,
00:07:31 ◼ ► something went pop basically. He got an actual burn from it at one point. That was a very
00:07:39 ◼ ► interesting but technically flawed machine in a variety of ways. It was then reborn as arguably
00:07:46 ◼ ► the best laptop Apple has ever made to where we are today, where it is a machine that is lovingly
00:07:54 ◼ ► welcomed but then was later on questioned. - Yes, at the beginning of... At the fall of 2010,
00:08:00 ◼ ► beginning of this decade, that new design came out, the 13 and 11-inch models with the wedge
00:08:07 ◼ ► shape. It was the... Unlike that first one with the flip down port door and all of that, which
00:08:12 ◼ ► was super weird. It was a super weird product and it was expensive. The new ones were priced
00:08:24 ◼ ► could debate it. It's fun to debate things, but I think it's arguable. It's possible that you could
00:08:29 ◼ ► say that the definitive Mac, especially since most Mac users use laptops, the definitive Mac of this
00:08:35 ◼ ► decade is the MacBook Air, is that MacBook Air design. And yet the last few years, it's been
00:08:42 ◼ ► just abandoned in favor of... In 2015, when the 12-inch MacBook came out and began this whole
00:08:50 ◼ ► new cycle of design language, new keyboards, new screens, new all sorts of stuff. You could argue
00:08:58 ◼ ► back to the retina MacBook Pros, but those felt right that they were ahead of the Air. But when
00:09:02 ◼ ► the MacBook came out, it felt like, "Okay, what's up with the MacBook Air? It hasn't been left
00:09:06 ◼ ► behind. Is it about to get sent to the cornfield for the last time?" And the answer is probably
00:09:14 ◼ ► that Apple intended that, but that didn't happen. And so in 2018, in late 2018, eight years after
00:09:19 ◼ ► that first or that introduction of the thing we think of as the MacBook Air, Apple has finally
00:09:29 ◼ ► - So here's a recap of some of the new features. There is a new keyboard, a Retina display. It has
00:09:35 ◼ ► a Force Touch trackpad, an Apple-designed T2 processor. It has two USB-C/Funderbolt 3 ports.
00:09:42 ◼ ► It features the Ahoy telephone functionality that comes along with the T2. It has Touch ID,
00:09:47 ◼ ► but no touch bar, and new processors, and they have higher maximum capacities for storage and
00:09:52 ◼ ► RAM than the previous version. So they're kind of like, "Headline, that's what's in this thing."
00:10:04 ◼ ► like at the beginning of a Netflix show where it's new to the MacBook Air, but I'm not sure
00:10:10 ◼ ► there's anybody out there who's like, "Well, I just used the MacBook Air. I don't know what
00:10:13 ◼ ► you're talking about." I mean, I guess they're out there. I guess there are probably a lot of people
00:10:16 ◼ ► out there still using the MacBook Air from previous years and are wondering what's in this
00:10:20 ◼ ► new one. And that's the beauty of it because what Apple's done is just stack on like eight features
00:10:25 ◼ ► that they've added to the MacBook Pro and the MacBook over the last few years that have not
00:10:30 ◼ ► yet come to the MacBook Air. And they just kind of like put them all in and like, "Look, they're new.
00:10:35 ◼ ► They're new to this one model, these things we've been doing for the last five years on the rest of
00:10:39 ◼ ► our laptops." - And I think something that we were expecting was a new design and we didn't exactly
00:10:47 ◼ ► get that. So what do you think of the hardware design? - I love it, but that's because I love
00:10:52 ◼ ► the MacBook Air. And that's the thing about it is Apple could have, in fact, some might say Apple has
00:10:59 ◼ ► done a rethink and redesign of the MacBook Air and it's the MacBook, right? Like you could argue
00:11:04 ◼ ► that the MacBook is Apple's modern take on what the MacBook Air should be, even thinner,
00:11:09 ◼ ► even lighter. - I think it was the point of it. - Even more minimal, right? - That was the point
00:11:13 ◼ ► of that machine. - But it was maybe too extreme. And with this, for whatever reason, you know,
00:11:20 ◼ ► the MacBook Air kept selling. With this, they said, "All right, what if we give people what
00:11:25 ◼ ► they want? What if we give them something that is recognizably a MacBook Air?" And the fact is,
00:11:29 ◼ ► that's what they've done. If you are somebody who loves the MacBook Air, either is currently
00:11:38 ◼ ► I gotta say, and that's me, that describes me, I've had every MacBook Air over the years. It's
00:11:44 ◼ ► always been, for a long stretch from 2010 until I left IDG, the MacBook Air was, for most of that,
00:11:52 ◼ ► my primary computer. I would plug it into a monitor and use it at work and then I would
00:11:57 ◼ ► carry it in my backpack home at the end of the day. I lived on the MacBook Air. That was my
00:12:03 ◼ ► computer. Even though it was, yes, it was underpowered and not pro and all those things,
00:12:06 ◼ ► I didn't care. I loved it. I carry it back and forth. And so when I pick this thing up,
00:12:11 ◼ ► when I look at this thing, it is undeniably the MacBook Air. It is recognizable. All the design
00:12:16 ◼ ► beats are MacBook Air. The wedge shape, yes, but also like the way that the top and bottom aluminum,
00:12:24 ◼ ► it's got the curved edges, it bends down over to the edges the same way that the Air does. It's got
00:12:32 ◼ ► those four little flat rounded feet. It's got even all of those little screws that are on the bottom
00:12:40 ◼ ► that you know that Apple doesn't love but are very much like, that's what the MacBook Air is. It's
00:12:46 ◼ ► got all the screws on the bottom. They're all there. So it is the way the hinge works, the way
00:12:53 ◼ ► the hinge works and the look of the hinge, it's all MacBook Air. Now on the inside, on the outside,
00:13:00 ◼ ► in fact, I would say if you don't look at the ports and if it's not space gray or gold, you would
00:13:04 ◼ ► be hard pressed at a glance to say that it's, what it is, whether it's a new or an old MacBook Air,
00:13:12 ◼ ► at a glance. - But it is smaller though, right? But you don't necessarily see that. - Right, right.
00:13:18 ◼ ► I mean, you can tell it's actually residing in a funny in-between space. And this is one of the
00:13:24 ◼ ► things that I actually got out. I got out Lauren's 13-inch MacBook Air and I got out my 11-inch
00:13:30 ◼ ► MacBook Air. And there's some images of that in the story. And it's in between the two. It is
00:13:41 ◼ ► because of the bezel shrinking, what they did was they shrunk the bezel so that old Air has the
00:13:51 ◼ ► Before they said, "No, we're gonna put a sheet of glass over everything and then the screen will be
00:13:57 ◼ ► behind." And there'll be bezels, but they won't be visible bezels in terms of materials. They'll
00:14:02 ◼ ► just be bezels behind the glass, but the glass will be a single sheet of glass. So they finally
00:14:07 ◼ ► did that with this MacBook Air. But also the actual bezel size is so much less. So the width
00:14:13 ◼ ► of the whole computer is less. And so what they've done is they pushed the whole computer in along
00:14:19 ◼ ► with that bezel size savings. And so you end up with a 13.3-inch screen. It's the same physical
00:14:24 ◼ ► size as the 13-inch MacBook Air. But the computer itself is, in terms of width, it's only slightly
00:14:35 ◼ ► wider than the 11. It's about half an inch deeper than the 11. So it's in between, but it's closer
00:14:45 ◼ ► to the size of the 11-inch Air than you might expect. But of course, full-size keyboard,
00:14:50 ◼ ► the speakers, there's enough room so that they can have a full-size keyboard and speakers on the
00:14:55 ◼ ► sides of the keyboard, which means that the sound is more direct instead of what they had to do with
00:15:00 ◼ ► the Air in the past, which is put the speakers in the hinge and fire them back off the screen
00:15:06 ◼ ► and bounce them to you. Now they actually just come straight at you. And as a result, they do
00:15:11 ◼ ► sound more full. And Apple's doing its same kind of stereo field-widening effect processing stuff
00:15:20 ◼ ► that they do with the iPhones, the modern iPhones, and with the iPad Pro. So they're doing some of
00:15:34 ◼ ► Exactly. Exactly right. So it's... But my point is it's still undeniably a MacBook Air,
00:15:39 ◼ ► which is why I like the look of it. Yeah, it's got the two Thunderbolt 3 ports on the one side
00:15:43 ◼ ► and a headphone jack on the other. That means that it doesn't have a display port. Like the old one
00:15:47 ◼ ► had a separate display and Thunderbolt port, and it doesn't have MagSafe. So when we say it's got
00:15:52 ◼ ► two USB ports, just like the last one does, I'll just point out that they are still literally doing
00:15:57 ◼ ► double duty because on the old system you could plug in a monitor, plug in power, and still have
00:16:04 ◼ ► two USB ports. And on this, if you plug in a monitor and power, you're out. So it's different.
00:16:10 ◼ ► One of the big losses for people will be MagSafe. The keyboard is different if you don't like the
00:16:18 ◼ ► new keyboard, which I think is fine. Issues of... I had never really spent a lot of time with the
00:16:24 ◼ ► third generation butterfly. I used the first and the second. I think the third generation
00:16:29 ◼ ► butterfly is fine. I think it's less crunchy sounding than the second, so I actually like
00:16:33 ◼ ► the sound of it better. It feels okay. I got used to typing on it. I wrote a whole review on it.
00:16:39 ◼ ► I got used to typing on it. The reliability issues are a worry, but it's out there. Are they reliable?
00:16:46 ◼ ► Are they not? But the MagSafe thing, I think, is gonna be the thing that existing MacBook Air users
00:16:50 ◼ ► miss the most because it is really weird to have a MacBook Air and then realize I need to...
00:16:54 ◼ ► I need to plug it in and then I need to remove the plug. And of course, it's taking up a USB-C
00:17:00 ◼ ► port when you do that. Yeah, you see, because that's the frustrating part about this, right?
00:17:04 ◼ ► Like if you're coming from the old 13, where you could also plug in other stuff, even if you had
00:17:12 ◼ ► a mouse and a monitor plugged in, you could still plug in probably something else via USB,
00:17:16 ◼ ► because you could use HDMI, or you could then use your SD card, right? SD card slot, right?
00:17:22 ◼ ► So the 11 inch never got, so I never really had that. But yes, it's absolutely there in the 13.
00:17:27 ◼ ► Right, because that's the one it's going up against, right? Like it's going up against the 13,
00:17:32 ◼ ► because that's the only size that they've made available for this, because effectively the 12
00:17:38 ◼ ► inch fills the 11 spot, I guess is what I was thinking. I feel like if somebody told me today
00:17:44 ◼ ► I'm coming from the 11 inch MacBook Air, what should I get? I'd be like, "Well, the MacBook
00:17:48 ◼ ► is small, but I'm telling you the MacBook Air is almost as small as the 11 inch MacBook Air,
00:17:55 ◼ ► even though it's got 13 inch screen." And you get effectively the same I/O constraints coming from
00:18:00 ◼ ► the 11 inch to the old 11 inch to the 13. It's still not though, because you're still losing
00:18:06 ◼ ► MagSafe and Mini DisplayPort. Oh, I forgot about Mini DisplayPort. Yeah, yeah, oh yeah,
00:18:12 ◼ ► because that was the Thunderbolt port. Now the Thunderbolt port is doubled up on the USB-C,
00:18:16 ◼ ► but there used to be a separate DisplayPort. And now there's just, so you really, if you
00:18:21 ◼ ► put in display and power or think of that as Thunderbolt and power, you are going from four
00:18:26 ◼ ► to two. There's no denying it. Two is better than one. Two is one and one is none. We already know
00:18:30 ◼ ► that lesson. John Syracuse taught us that. But it's way better than the MacBook. And I should
00:18:36 ◼ ► point out again, these are Thunderbolt 3 ports. So they're far more capable than the MacBook,
00:18:42 ◼ ► which has a single USB-C port. There's a lot going for them. They can drive a 4K monitor.
00:18:47 ◼ ► One of them can drive it. You can, well, either one, but you can drive a 4K external display
00:18:53 ◼ ► with them. But it's still not. So if you've got any complex kind of port needs, if you've got a
00:19:01 ◼ ► bunch of external things, like I often would have an external hard drive and ethernet and a monitor
00:19:10 ◼ ► attached to my, and power of course, attached to my laptop when I was at work. And in the end,
00:19:15 ◼ ► they were going through the Thunderbolt display. So it was doing all of that. And all I needed to
00:19:19 ◼ ► do was plug it in, which was good. I imagine that when Apple releases its own monitor, and I would
00:19:25 ◼ ► actually imagine that existing USB-C monitors probably supply power. I'm going to say I've never
00:19:31 ◼ ► used one, but I think they do. So that reduces the amount of pain because you're just plugging in one
00:19:37 ◼ ► thing, whereas with the old MacBook Air, you had to plug in two because your USB couldn't double
00:19:42 ◼ ► or you plug in Thunderbolt and you plug in your power. So there are ways, but I'm just saying
00:19:48 ◼ ► it is more complicated. And for those of you who are inveterate MacBook Air users who are
00:20:04 ◼ ► - Or orientation begins at the town hall. - That's right. They're welcoming new visitors
00:20:08 ◼ ► all the time. They're really excited that the MacBook Air people are coming in now. That's a
00:20:12 ◼ ► whole new subdivision they can build at the edge of town. But then again, and I think Apple really
00:20:18 ◼ ► believes this, if you're in the vast majority of people who don't plug stuff in, then it doesn't
00:20:23 ◼ ► matter. So yeah. - The keyboard. You mentioned that you found it okay. So it seems like you are
00:20:33 ◼ ► warming to it because you were one of the most outspoken people. I mean, when they initially
00:20:39 ◼ ► changed to this new butterfly mechanism, you were very, very vocal about it. And I said,
00:20:46 ◼ ► - I don't like it. - We could roll back the tape, but I'm pretty sure the word hate was
00:20:50 ◼ ► thrown out at one point. - Oh yeah. Well, everybody gets to have their own opinion about it,
00:20:59 ◼ ► I don't understand. I kind of mocked them last week about when they made this announcement,
00:21:06 ◼ ► they talked again about the key stability, how, you know, oh, heaven forbid that if your finger
00:21:10 ◼ ► touches the edge of a key, it slightly bends down, you know, while you're pushing it down.
00:21:15 ◼ ► Like who cares? - It fixed a problem people didn't really have. - Were I Ant-Man and I shrunk down
00:21:20 ◼ ► to very small size and was trying to stand on a key on the keyboard and not want it to be wiggly,
00:21:27 ◼ ► I would be very grateful for the new keyboard. But as I am not, I don't care about key stability.
00:21:32 ◼ ► I just don't. Key travel is way more important than key stability. So no, I don't love the decision
00:21:37 ◼ ► they made to go to this keyboard. And I guess what I would say is I can see that they made progress
00:21:43 ◼ ► from the first generation and the second generation. It sounds better. It feels better.
00:21:49 ◼ ► I'm never gonna like it. The other part of it is this really does kind of close the door on
00:22:06 ◼ ► And if you don't like that keyboard and you wanna use an Apple laptop, you're basically out of luck.
00:22:11 ◼ ► This is where we are. You can either use it or not. Is it usable? Yes, it is. I wrote a,
00:22:18 ◼ ► you know, 2500 plus word review on it yesterday and it was fine. Although then I came back to my
00:22:24 ◼ ► mechanical keyboard and I was like, "Whoa, these keys go down so far." Because I had spent all day
00:22:29 ◼ ► just kind of like batting at these very small travel keys. But, you know, so a lot of things
00:22:36 ◼ ► I don't like about the keyboard, but they've gotten better. It does provide audible feedback
00:22:41 ◼ ► without it being super loud and crunchy like on the second generation. That is helpful. It's okay.
00:22:47 ◼ ► You can use it, but I'm never gonna like it. I'm never gonna love it, but it's fine, right?
00:22:53 ◼ ► You can type on it and it's not, you can type on it unless it breaks. And I can't speak to that
00:22:59 ◼ ► issue 'cause I never used one of these things long enough to have to deal with potentially
00:23:03 ◼ ► issues of blowing compressed air into it or taking it to an Apple store to fix it because a piece of
00:23:15 ◼ ► ramifications of the current version, right? Yeah, it seems like there are still issues,
00:23:21 ◼ ► but it's unclear whether those issues have been reduced to a rarity. Yeah. Yeah. We don't know yet.
00:23:29 ◼ ► How much of a difference is the Retina display on this machine? I mean, it's a Retina. It is,
00:23:36 ◼ ► it is, you go from not Retina, I mean, let me put it this way. I would open up my 11-inch air
00:23:44 ◼ ► from time to time because I'm primarily using my iPad Pro now, but I'd open up my 11-inch air every
00:23:48 ◼ ► now and then. And I would immediately go, "Whoa." Like, "Oh, oh." Like, I mean, every time I'd look
00:23:57 ◼ ► at it and be like, "Wow, non-Retina display, where have you been?" Like, it is, yeah, Retina Macs are
00:24:04 ◼ ► great. Like, Retina displays have ruined us on our iPads and our Macs and our iPhones have ruined us
00:24:10 ◼ ► now. And it is, it is rough. I know for some people they don't care and that's fine, but like,
00:24:15 ◼ ► it's so much nicer to have just the crisp text. I love it on web pages when I'm writing, just to
00:24:22 ◼ ► have that clear crisp text. It's beautiful. It's an IPS display, so it's a better quality display.
00:24:28 ◼ ► It doesn't have the 4K color gamut. I mean, one of the reasons they're saving money here, it doesn't
00:24:32 ◼ ► have the fabulous color gamut. It doesn't have a true tone sensor or anything like that, but like,
00:24:43 ◼ ► It's not quite, Apple, Apple said at one point that it was twice the resolution or something,
00:24:49 ◼ ► and that is, I believe, that's not true. It's not. It's like 1.7 times the number horizontally
00:24:56 ◼ ► and then again vertically. - Right, but that's just the magic of rounding up in Market Tank.
00:25:00 ◼ ► - Yeah, exactly. But in practice, it does not matter. Like, it is a high resolution display
00:25:06 ◼ ► and it looks great and it's nice that there's a MacBook Air, a retina MacBook Air at last.
00:25:12 ◼ ► We've been talking about, Myke, we've been talking about the retina MacBook Air since this show has
00:25:17 ◼ ► existed as this mythical beast, like a unicorn. Like, the unicorns use a retina MacBook Air.
00:25:27 ◼ ► - It happening. Because I remember at some point we had a long conversation about the laptop that
00:25:34 ◼ ► Adina wanted to buy because she hates the MacBook Air design because she doesn't like the big
00:25:41 ◼ ► silver bezel that went around it. So she ended up getting a MacBook Pro mostly because of that,
00:25:47 ◼ ► because she just didn't like what she thought was an old-looking computer because of it,
00:25:56 ◼ ► I guess what you're saying really is this screen is good because you don't notice it anymore.
00:26:10 ◼ ► Yeah. And part of that is just the context of every other Apple product that's been designed
00:26:14 ◼ ► over the last five years. Right? Like, literally this now looks like every other Apple product. And
00:26:19 ◼ ► there was a time when we would have looked at this and said, "Whoa, this is a very different MacBook
00:26:35 ◼ ► Yeah. That's the big new feature. I mean, this is a product that is largely just playing catch-up
00:26:40 ◼ ► with every other product in Apple's lineup. And although the Touch ID on the Mac is not new,
00:26:45 ◼ ► because it has been in the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar all this time, this is the first iteration
00:26:50 ◼ ► where they've just put the Touch ID key in. There's no Touch Bar. There's just to the right
00:26:55 ◼ ► of the F12 key. There's this narrow key, just like the one that's on the Touch Bar next to
00:27:00 ◼ ► the Touch Bar, but it's harder to see there. There's narrow key, basically the power key.
00:27:05 ◼ ► But what it's really for, especially since now if you open up a laptop, it boots, like,
00:27:09 ◼ ► you don't need to press the power key at all. What it's really for, other than holding it down
00:27:15 ◼ ► when you're doing a reset, is Touch ID. You lay your finger on it and it unlocks. And it's fast,
00:27:20 ◼ ► and it works just like the one on the Touch Bar MacBook Pro. And it's super convenient. Like,
00:27:31 ◼ ► like, when I was writing the review yesterday, I was going back and forth and doing a bunch
00:27:35 ◼ ► of other stuff. And then I would open, you know, flip the laptop back open, it would be locked.
00:27:44 ◼ ► boop, it's unlocked. No typing. You know, one password works great with Touch ID, where
00:27:50 ◼ ► you open a one password and you don't have to type in your password, just like on your iPhone or your
00:27:55 ◼ ► iPad. You can biometrically authenticate and then you just move on. It's instantaneous.
00:28:00 ◼ ► It's a very nice feature. At this point, I feel like it's probably coming to every Apple laptop
00:28:07 ◼ ► in the next iteration. I would be surprised if the MacBook escape and the MacBook, when they get
00:28:11 ◼ ► updated next, if they get updated next, that they will both get this same thing where there's just
00:28:15 ◼ ► a Touch ID button to the right of the function row, and in the function row, but at the far
00:28:20 ◼ ► right, because it makes a lot of sense. And I know there are a lot of people who are saying, well,
00:28:24 ◼ ► why wouldn't they just jump to Face ID? But the reality is that, although we think of the Mac as
00:28:30 ◼ ► a Mac is thicker than an iPhone, the half of the laptop that's got the display in it is very,
00:28:40 ◼ ► very thin. And there is a general sense that perhaps it will be a while before a Face ID
00:28:56 ◼ ► maybe they don't ever put it in the top. Maybe they do something where it goes in the bottom
00:29:09 ◼ ► maybe. We'll see. But for now, that I think is the reason why Touch ID makes sense on Mac laptops.
00:29:16 ◼ ► I think Face ID makes sense on Mac, on iMacs, and on, if they do an external display, having Face ID
00:29:24 ◼ ► camera in there so you can authenticate that way. Because you've got an external keyboard and it's
00:29:30 ◼ ► kind of a mess to do it some other way. But on the laptops, I think Touch ID works great. And I
00:29:34 ◼ ► suspect that we'll see that for a while. Let's talk about power. There's been a lot of discussion
00:29:40 ◼ ► about what processor is in these machines. What is the situation here? What is going on with the
00:29:48 ◼ ► MacBook Air when it comes to power? Yeah, so it's the same class of processor that's in the MacBook,
00:29:56 ◼ ► not the one that's in the MacBook escape. So it's the, what, 5 watt processor instead of the 15 watt
00:30:01 ◼ ► processor. It's the low power. It's not the processor class that was in the old MacBook Air.
00:30:10 ◼ ► You have options with MacBook Air. It's very iPad-like in that sense, where this is the
00:30:16 ◼ ► processor that comes with this computer. I suspect that in the future, especially when Apple is making
00:30:22 ◼ ► processors for its Macs itself, that this is how it's going to be. The iPhone doesn't let you build
00:30:28 ◼ ► to order a version with a faster processor. You just get an iPhone. And some other model might
00:30:33 ◼ ► have a different processor, but that's it. I suspect that may happen across the Mac line
00:30:38 ◼ ► in the future, but especially in the consumer line where Apple would rather, if you want a
00:30:42 ◼ ► faster processor, get the MacBook escape, which is $100 more and has a more powerful processor.
00:30:48 ◼ ► I will say it is a newer processor. And the MacBook Air has a fan, has a whole cooling system
00:30:57 ◼ ► that the MacBook doesn't have. And so I think in practice, the MacBook Air is going to be faster
00:31:03 ◼ ► than the MacBook, if only because it can throttle up and blow the fans and keep things cool on the
00:31:10 ◼ ► inside in a way that the MacBook can't. So if the MacBook gets too hot, I believe it has to
00:31:15 ◼ ► throttle down. And the MacBook Air gets too hot, I believe it gets to just... I heard the fans when
00:31:21 ◼ ► I was setting up Dropbox. It spent about an hour just blowing the fans on the MacBook Air. It was a
00:31:27 ◼ ► very familiar sound. I know what MacBook Air fans sound like. It still can do that. So in terms of
00:31:33 ◼ ► the speed of it, it's fine, I think, for lots of uses. You cannot do the thing where you try to
00:31:43 ◼ ► turn it into a pro system by upgrading it to an i7, which is what we used to be able to do back
00:31:48 ◼ ► in the day. I think they went with a lower power part, maybe for cost in part, also for battery
00:31:55 ◼ ► life concerns. But the thing is, in the modern... That MacBook escape, for as long as it lasts,
00:32:03 ◼ ► like, it's $100 more and it's not much heavier, and it's got the higher rated processor. So if
00:32:14 ◼ ► you are the kind of person who specs up a MacBook Air in order to make it like super pro powerful,
00:32:20 ◼ ► even though it's just an Air, I think Apple has sort of drawn a line and said, "Beyond a certain
00:32:25 ◼ ► point, this thing is just not gonna go, and we make the MacBook Pro for you, and you should use
00:32:31 ◼ ► that instead." - Just a super quick correction. It is a Core i5 processor, which is what we've seen
00:32:38 ◼ ► before, but it is running at seven watts, not five watts, which is the difference. - Oh, okay. Well,
00:32:42 ◼ ► look at that. Watts, wattage. - But that's why it can get a little bit more power than the MacBook
00:32:48 ◼ ► can. And again, it's because, as you said, they have fans in it, so they can eke out a bit more
00:32:53 ◼ ► power than they could in the MacBook. - This is the first computer that's used this part,
00:33:01 ◼ ► Intel worked with Apple to supply a part that nobody else had used before, and it created a
00:33:07 ◼ ► whole category that everybody used that part afterwards. So anyway, it's a low-power processor,
00:33:14 ◼ ► and I know there's been some disappointment out there, because the fact is there are a bunch of
00:33:18 ◼ ► people who are kind of wanting to do pro-level tasks and could get away with the MacBook Air in
00:33:22 ◼ ► the past. And like I said, I think Apple has basically said, "Look, we're not gonna do that
00:33:27 ◼ ► on this one. We have not designed this as a pro. We make three different MacBook Pros. Please use
00:33:33 ◼ ► those if you need more power than the MacBook Air can give you." And I'm okay with that. Even as
00:33:39 ◼ ► somebody who used to get the i7 version of the MacBook Air, I get why they're doing it. I'm okay
00:33:45 ◼ ► with it. It makes this a more power-efficient device, which is good in terms of battery and
00:33:51 ◼ ► stuff like that. And it's still gonna give you more power than something like the MacBook, because
00:33:55 ◼ ► it's got a modern, slightly more powerful processor, but more importantly, it's also got
00:34:00 ◼ ► the thermal stuff, so it can blow that fan if it needs to cool things off and let things still run
00:34:07 ◼ ► at the higher turbo boost kind of speeds. Do you have a sense for like... The MacBook really
00:34:13 ◼ ► struggled with the pro apps, right? Like Logic and Final Cut. Do you have a sense for if the
00:34:19 ◼ ► MacBook Air can handle those any better? You know, my MacBook Air never struggled with Logic. I never
00:34:25 ◼ ► had a problem with it. The MacBook Air was fine. The MacBook. The MacBook. Oh, the MacBook. Yeah.
00:34:29 ◼ ► Oh yeah. I think my guess is that the MacBook Air will probably handle something like Logic fine.
00:34:35 ◼ ► I'm gonna guess that Final Cut is gonna be a harder thing, because video, there's a lot of...
00:34:43 ◼ ► I mean, the disc is fast. The processor is not super fast, although the T2 does HEVC. So if
00:34:52 ◼ ► you're doing HEVC encoding, you get that for free. And it's fast, which is great. But if you're doing
00:34:58 ◼ ► like H.264 encode or something like that... I always thought the video encodes on the MacBook
00:35:04 ◼ ► Air were a disaster. I could edit simple-ish projects on the MacBook Air, and then you get
00:35:11 ◼ ► to the video encoding. It was just like walk away for days and the fan blows really loud,
00:35:25 ◼ ► bad idea, right? So that's my gut feeling is that it's gonna be... You're gonna be pushing it,
00:35:32 ◼ ► because it's not a pro laptop. It is not pro in the name, and it is not intended to be.
00:35:38 ◼ ► It is intended to be... And this was one of the questions I had for Apple. It was one of the
00:35:43 ◼ ► questions I was really thinking when I was flying home after the event, which is, "Where does this
00:35:48 ◼ ► product fit in Apple's product line?" There are six Mac laptops currently for sale from Apple.
00:35:52 ◼ ► And I really do believe that this is the default. I think this is the place you start when you're
00:35:59 ◼ ► shopping for a Mac laptop. I think even though there's more complexity in the Mac laptop line
00:36:04 ◼ ► than there was before, and that there are more question marks about what's going on because the
00:36:08 ◼ ► MacBook and the MacBook Escape are still kind of hanging out there and haven't been updated yet,
00:36:11 ◼ ► I think in one way the MacBook Air has simplified what you do when you're looking for a Mac laptop,
00:36:18 ◼ ► because I think it gives you a starting point. I think you start with the Air and you say,
00:36:22 ◼ ► "This is the lowest priced other than the 999 Retina. This is the lowest priced Retina MacBook,
00:36:28 ◼ ► and it's got a pretty good feature set. And does it fit your needs?" And then from there,
00:36:38 ◼ ► and I know I'm losing a port, and I know I'm losing Thunderbolt, and I'm going to spend $100 more,
00:36:44 ◼ ► but it's so nice and light and thin, and that matters more to me," which is a classic MacBook
00:36:49 ◼ ► Air argument too, "then you can go and get the MacBook instead. You'll give up some stuff,
00:36:53 ◼ ► but you'll get some stuff." Or you'll say, "I am going to use Final Cut. I need a little bit more.
00:36:58 ◼ ► And it's like, "Okay, well, you can go up to the MacBook escape or the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar.
00:37:02 ◼ ► MacBook escape's $100 more, so that's not even a huge leap, and you can get a little more power,
00:37:08 ◼ ► and maybe you'll feel... And then you can spec up that processor, pay a little more money,
00:37:11 ◼ ► and maybe you'll feel a lot better. And it's not that much heavier. It's kind of like a mega
00:37:16 ◼ ► MacBook Air. Or you can go way, way up to the MacBook Pro if you're a Pro user and you just
00:37:26 ◼ ► So there are still trade-offs at the different computers. It will be much simpler when the
00:37:30 ◼ ► MacBook and MacBook escape presumably get updated with the Touch ID and modern processors,
00:37:36 ◼ ► new generation of processors at some point. Or they go away. That would make it super simple.
00:37:40 ◼ ► I don't think the MacBook's going to go away. I wouldn't... I like the escape. It's actually
00:37:48 ◼ ► a good computer. It's just weirdly marketed, but I'm not as convinced about its long-term
00:37:55 ◼ ► life. But I hope it might stick around. Anyway, but I think the best way to think about the Air is
00:38:00 ◼ ► it's the default, which means that as with the MacBook Air in its decade as the representative
00:38:05 ◼ ► product of the entire Mac product line, I think it's broad appeal. It is a broadly appealing
00:38:12 ◼ ► laptop for somebody who wants to buy a Mac laptop. You can point people at that. And then if they
00:38:16 ◼ ► want to shop around, if they want to make some changes, they can do it. I know that it stinks
00:38:20 ◼ ► that it's $11.99 instead of $9.99. Apple is ratcheting up all the prices everywhere, and this
00:38:26 ◼ ► is another case where they're doing it. It is still the lowest-priced Retina MacBook, and I
00:38:30 ◼ ► think that counts for something. I wish it was $9.99. It's not. At least not yet. Maybe it'll be
00:38:35 ◼ ► $10.99 next year. But I do think functionally it is where you start. And that's where the MacBook
00:38:43 ◼ ► Air belongs, honestly. Not to get all sentimental on you, but we are still in the 2010s, and this
00:38:49 ◼ ► is the decade of the MacBook Air, and the MacBook Air should be the starting point in the conversation.
00:38:53 ◼ ► And then you go from there and say, "No, I have more, you know, I have need for more base and more
00:39:00 ◼ ► power or a smaller device or a lighter device," and then you can go from there. But start with
00:39:06 ◼ ► the MacBook Air. I think that's the right thing to do. Today's episode is brought to you by our
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00:39:50 ◼ ► FreshBooks every week. It's super easy for me to fill out the invoices that I want to send,
00:39:54 ◼ ► and it makes it way easier once they've been sent too, because I can see when somebody's seen an
00:39:59 ◼ ► invoice. One of my very favorite features is you can go into each kind of individual client that
00:40:03 ◼ ► you work with, and you can see how long it takes on average to pay you, so you know what you can
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00:40:32 ◼ ► you, "How did you hear about FreshBooks?" you tell them, "I heard about it on upgrade." Our thanks to
00:40:37 ◼ ► FreshBooks for their support of this show and Relay FM. So it's not the only Mac. Let's talk about the
00:40:43 ◼ ► Mac Mini. So, yes, the Mac Mini. Is it a pro machine in more than just color? What kind of power
00:40:53 ◼ ► are we really talking about here with the Mac Mini? So it's obviously it's in space gray because
00:40:58 ◼ ► that's Apple's code for it's different, I guess. Um, it is, so I only got to test the, the baseline
00:41:06 ◼ ► configuration, which is the 1.6 gigahertz i3. That's what I got. They didn't hand out. It's funny,
00:41:11 ◼ ► yes. Sometimes what Apple will do is give you a, a high level configuration. So it looks better than
00:41:18 ◼ ► it is. And that's very interesting. That's peculiar, I think. Exactly. But in this one,
00:41:22 ◼ ► they're like, man, yeah, okay. Uh, you get the, you get the, uh, you get the i3, but you can,
00:41:28 ◼ ► you can, uh, spend more money on a higher end model, which is a three gigahertz, uh, six core
00:41:34 ◼ ► i5. You can max it out to an i7, uh, if you really want to. Uh, so I think it, you know, we will have
00:41:43 ◼ ► to look at the scores and all of that, but I think it can be really, really impressively fast. If you
00:41:54 ◼ ► I think for a lot of people, I mean, it fits, it fills this niche that's slightly different than the
00:42:01 ◼ ► well, it's, it's how it was being used. Maybe not how it was originally intended back in the day.
00:42:06 ◼ ► And that is for all of these uses where you need a screenless Mac and a Mac pro is overkill.
00:42:21 ◼ ► as I think I mentioned last week, where we recorded, I recorded, uh, in Manhattan at the
00:42:25 ◼ ► stitcher studios last week in an edit bay that was powered by a Mac mini. Like there are lots
00:42:30 ◼ ► of places where the Mac mini fits and this thing, you know, 3.2 gigahertz, six core I seven, like,
00:42:36 ◼ ► that's a lot of power. It's not a Mac pro, you know, and there will be a Mac pro at some point,
00:42:41 ◼ ► but it's still, you've got a lot of, of, uh, of options here. And I think, so I was listening to,
00:42:48 ◼ ► uh, Steven Hackett last week on a couple of podcasts, talk about the base configuration
00:42:52 ◼ ► and how he was like, you don't want that. Like it's not, it's the seven 99. It's like, it's an
00:42:57 ◼ ► I three, uh, it's, it's just a, you know, it's not good enough. You need to, you need to bump that up.
00:43:02 ◼ ► He is very much down on the, on the seven 99 configuration. And I got to say like, again,
00:43:09 ◼ ► I I'll grant you, I'm coming from like a 2011 Mac mini that I was still using as my server, but,
00:43:24 ◼ ► having the fastest SD and having the Ram where you can start at eight and then go up from there.
00:43:28 ◼ ► Um, my old server, I upgraded it to have eight and it was, uh, it was amazing, but it was also
00:43:33 ◼ ► kind of like all I felt like I needed. So for my needs running a server in my house, I feel like
00:43:38 ◼ ► the base model is fine. In fact, the one feature, fortunately, everything is configurable in this
00:43:41 ◼ ► thing. I can get in the base model, I believe, um, I can spend an extra a hundred dollars when
00:43:47 ◼ ► I buy it and I can get the 10 gig ethernet, um, which I'm actually tempted to do. I've got one
00:43:53 ◼ ► coming that's the base model, but I think I may return it and get one that is, uh, built to order
00:43:58 ◼ ► with the 10 gig ethernet only because I had this vision of being able just cause I have an iMac pro,
00:44:07 ◼ ► a 10 gig ethernet switch and having like my storage on my server be at full speed, like,
00:44:20 ◼ ► but you could do that. You know, you can, there's, there's a lot you can, you can max this thing out
00:44:25 ◼ ► and spend a lot of money on it, but you will get a lot of Mac for it. It's not, uh, unreasonable at
00:44:30 ◼ ► all. Like 64 gigs of Ram and a two terabyte SSD. And that's super expensive because two terabytes
00:44:35 ◼ ► of flash storage is super expensive no matter, uh, no matter what. But, uh, you know, yeah, it's,
00:44:42 ◼ ► it's, and what's funny about it is like the MacBook air, even more so than the MacBook air,
00:44:45 ◼ ► it's a Mac mini, like other than the space gray, you would not know unless you looked at the ports
00:44:50 ◼ ► that it was a different computer. It is the exact same computer. So you mentioned the Ram,
00:44:54 ◼ ► you get 64 gigabytes of Ram and the same, can you clear up the question of is the Ram user
00:44:59 ◼ ► replaceable? This has been a big question. So it's replaceable, but not user replaceable is the
00:45:04 ◼ ► answer. And that is accurate. In fact, um, so the, the Mac mini has a little, the little, um, foot
00:45:10 ◼ ► that it sits on, which is this little plastic thing that, um, on the old Mac mini models,
00:45:16 ◼ ► there are like two little, um, divots that were like the finger holes. They're not holes,
00:45:21 ◼ ► but the finger, you can put your fingers in them and push and rotate it and it would pop off.
00:45:25 ◼ ► You're like unscrewing it. Well, the message Apple sending with this one is different in that those
00:45:30 ◼ ► little, those little divots are gone. Like there are no finger holes. Don't, don't open this. Don't
00:45:34 ◼ ► push this open. Now I'm sure it does open. It's still that thing. I mean, maybe you need a suction
00:45:39 ◼ ► cup or something. I don't know, but I'm pretty sure you can get in and that iFixit will get it
00:45:44 ◼ ► and tear it apart. But what's under there is the new cooling system because what they've done is
00:45:49 ◼ ► they've taken the space that the hard drives used to be in and they, they've, I mean, they redesigned
00:45:54 ◼ ► the whole interior, but they got a lot of space back in saying, we're not going to have hard
00:45:58 ◼ ► drives, just SSDs, which is a great call. A modern computer shouldn't have spinning hard drives.
00:46:03 ◼ ► They're bad. Um, and, uh, at least as internal, like if you want to have a raid on the outside,
00:46:08 ◼ ► fine, but like internal, it should be flash storage. So, uh, they've used that space to
00:46:13 ◼ ► build in a cooling system that is capable of, uh, relatively quietly cooling, um, even the 3.2
00:46:19 ◼ ► gigahertz, six core I seven. Right. And, and so it's, it's like a small version of the story of
00:46:25 ◼ ► the iMac pro where they use the extra space to do better cooling and quieter cooling. Um, that is on
00:46:32 ◼ ► the bottom there. So if you open it up, what you're going to have to do is you'll find the,
00:46:37 ◼ ► the ventilation stuff, and then you'll have to do the thing that you used to have to do. If you
00:46:42 ◼ ► wanted to upgrade the hard drive in a Mac mini, which is basically take it apart piece by piece,
00:46:48 ◼ ► removing items out of the hole in the bottom one by one until you get to where the Ram is,
00:46:54 ◼ ► and then you could pop out the S O dims. So, so is it, can you upgrade the Ram after the fact?
00:47:00 ◼ ► Absolutely. It's not soldered on. You can do it. Do you want to do it personally? Well,
00:47:05 ◼ ► the way it was described to me, it's like, well, ideally you'd have somebody at the Apple store do
00:47:10 ◼ ► it, or you'd have an authorized Apple repair person do it. But I, you know, I even got somebody
00:47:18 ◼ ► at Apple as I was, as I was, uh, I think walking out to say, you know, we all know that iFixit is
00:47:25 ◼ ► going to post instructions about how to do this and you could do it. Um, as somebody who has
00:47:34 ◼ ► upgraded the hard drive in a Mac mini before, I don't recommend it unless you're super confident
00:47:40 ◼ ► because it was Dan Morin and I both did this and, uh, it was super stressful. It took a long time
00:47:52 ◼ ► couldn't make sound anymore. And it did, it was an older model with the infrared port and the
00:47:57 ◼ ► infrared was also broken at that point. I snapped those cables or whatever I did. I did something
00:48:02 ◼ ► very bad. It still worked, but it was not what it used to be. So what I'm saying is, um, the good
00:48:08 ◼ ► news is that the RAM is upgradable after the fact, but I don't really recommend that somebody who
00:48:14 ◼ ► isn't super confident and technical attempt to do it. You can get a, get the pros to do it for you.
00:48:20 ◼ ► If you need that down the road, um, you know, if you start with, start with eight and decide to go
00:48:24 ◼ ► to 32 in four years, you will be able to get somebody to do that for you. I think one of the
00:48:29 ◼ ► biggest things to compare the Mac mini to the new Mac book air is the ports. This thing has all the
00:48:35 ◼ ► great ports, right? It does. It's got, um, let's see, four Thunderbolt three and two USB-A along
00:48:44 ◼ ► with ethernet. That's a lot already. That's six ports. Yeah, it is. Yeah. And then, and then,
00:48:50 ◼ ► yeah, it's got ethernet and a headphone jack and, and HDMI. Um, but, uh, so yeah, it's, it's got,
00:48:57 ◼ ► it's got all of them, all the great ports. So you can, you can, um, stick some of your old USB-A
00:49:02 ◼ ► stuff on there. If you need more, you can use a hub or you can use an adapter, uh, from USB-C to
00:49:07 ◼ ► USB-A. I have, my rate is Thunderbolt two. And so I have a, uh, Apple sells a Thunderbolt three to
00:49:15 ◼ ► Thunderbolt two adapter, which I had, I had a while ago. And, um, and that's how my rate is
00:49:22 ◼ ► attached to the new Mac mini is using that adapter and it works just fine. So, uh, you know, you've
00:49:28 ◼ ► got, you got, and I've got ports open, you know, I've got three Thunderbolt three ports back there,
00:49:34 ◼ ► just hanging out that I haven't added anything to yet. And, uh, so it's super flexible on that
00:49:44 ◼ ► same decisions they made with the iMac pro, right. Which is this is, or the iMac really it's, it's,
00:49:49 ◼ ► this is complicated enough. Um, and we've got enough space and we let's add the flexibility.
00:49:55 ◼ ► It's not a laptop. Why not give them some of the old USB ports and some of the new USB ports and
00:50:00 ◼ ► let them choose. And I guess for a lot of the purposes that you would use it off, a lot of the
00:50:06 ◼ ► purposes that Apple kind of calling out when talking about this machine ports are key. I
00:50:12 ◼ ► feel like they couldn't have told the story that they wanted to tell without having a bunch of IO
00:50:23 ◼ ► If all it had on it was maybe just the four USB C ports, like that's not, that's not the story that
00:50:29 ◼ ► they're telling. Right. I think versatility is an important feature and they wanted it to be,
00:50:34 ◼ ► uh, as versatile as possible. And it doesn't have, um, it just uses onboard Intel graphics.
00:50:41 ◼ ► And I've heard some grousing about that, but, uh, the beauty of it is, uh, Thunderbolt three,
00:50:47 ◼ ► you can just, you can attach an eGPU and have an external GPU if you want it. And you could do that.
00:50:53 ◼ ► Those aren't cheap, but you can do it. So there's a lot of flexibility in this little thing. It is,
00:50:58 ◼ ► I kind of wanted to say, you know, I hear people, uh, and know people who for years have been
00:51:03 ◼ ► complaining that they wanted a, uh, a mid range, uh, Mac mini tower, the idea of something that's,
00:51:08 ◼ ► uh, more than a Mac mini, but less than a Mac pro. And I think the truth is that at least from
00:51:15 ◼ ► Apple's perspective, this is that, and what you should do is spec this up and then use those many,
00:51:21 ◼ ► many ports on the back, including some very fast Thunderbolt three ports to attach fast external
00:51:28 ◼ ► devices. If you want more. And there's, that is, I know not what they want. Um, but cause they want
00:51:35 ◼ ► like a, an old PC and Apple's not going to give them an old, big PC chassis with a bunch of slots
00:51:41 ◼ ► or something in it. But this is effectively that in the sense that those Thunderbolt three ports
00:51:45 ◼ ► are so capable that you should just be able to hang fast, whatever off of it on the outside
00:51:51 ◼ ► using Thunderbolt three. And that's, that's the closest you're ever going to get. I would say to
00:51:55 ◼ ► that, um, that desire to have a powerful computer. That's not a Mac pro, but still has a lot of
00:52:02 ◼ ► expansion. It's just external expansion via Thunderbolt three. Do you think that this Mac
00:52:07 ◼ ► mini says anything about the Mac pro like what it's going to be? Um, I mean, I think it does in
00:52:13 ◼ ► the sense that you can see how we now know the range of the Mac mini, the dynamic range of the
00:52:19 ◼ ► Mac mini, which is a, a high dynamic range. It is that it goes from a, not super low, but from low
00:52:26 ◼ ► to, uh, to pretty high. And so you would have to imagine that a Mac pro is going to start
00:52:34 ◼ ► somewhere up by where this ends and then go up from there. Um, I don't know exactly what form
00:52:43 ◼ ► that will take, but it does feel like this is what they're, um, you know, this is what they're doing.
00:52:49 ◼ ► I, I, I still think that they're going to have internal, some internal space on the Mac pro,
00:52:54 ◼ ► but you know, I think it's not a given. Um, and I think it'll be more swappable than this is.
00:53:03 ◼ ► Maybe it will be actually use a replaceable stuff as opposed to just replaceable stuff.
00:53:08 ◼ ► I would think that that would be an important part of something like a Mac pro. Cause you're paying,
00:53:12 ◼ ► you're paying for not only the premium for the power of it and that'll have undoubtedly have like
00:53:28 ◼ ► I think Apple will continue to sell Mac minis like they've been selling Mac minis. I think
00:53:32 ◼ ► they'll sell a lot in the first, uh, first quarter. Um, I've also heard from people who are like,
00:53:42 ◼ ► I feel like the Mac mini will now do what it's been doing, which is continue to bubble along
00:53:47 ◼ ► and people will buy them when they need them. And it's not a very exciting, like, it's not a,
00:53:51 ◼ ► it's not a got to have it product. It's just a product that needs to exist. And so I understand
00:53:56 ◼ ► Apple's, um, reluctance to update it very often because it's never going to be one of those
00:54:01 ◼ ► things that everybody's like beating down the doors. Say like, Oh boy, everybody loves the Mac
00:54:05 ◼ ► mini. We need another Mac mini right now. And everybody goes like, Oh, it's, it's the Mac mini,
00:54:10 ◼ ► it's everywhere. We're, we're so excited. Like it doesn't, it just, it's not that product. It is
00:54:15 ◼ ► more boring than that, but it does need to exist and it does have its followers and it will continue
00:54:21 ◼ ► to sell. But you know, I don't, I don't think it's ever going to be a huge seller because that's not
00:54:25 ◼ ► what it's for. It's really, it's really to fill these, all these different little niches where,
00:54:31 ◼ ► um, where, uh, you need a headless Mac and you don't want to buy a Mac pro. So, and there are
00:54:39 ◼ ► a lot of them and Apple acknowledges that there are a lot of them. And so, you know, it'll just
00:54:44 ◼ ► kind of continue on. And now that it's a modern Mac, it's also possible that they will every
00:54:47 ◼ ► couple of years update the processor inside of it and do that. I would, I would be shocked if
00:54:54 ◼ ► this Mac mini was not designed so that they don't ever have to do a major, you know, engineering
00:55:00 ◼ ► redesign on it for years, but they can fairly easily upgrade the processors or whatever they
00:55:06 ◼ ► need to do. Um, as we go, we'll see. I saw a fun theory online. Uh, I don't know if I subscribed
00:55:14 ◼ ► to it, but, but I kind of want to, cause it's fun. Uh, I saw a few people talking about this,
00:55:19 ◼ ► that one of the reasons they may have kept the Mac mini's size and shape the same is because
00:55:24 ◼ ► Mac stadium have a lot of custom racking hardware and you would expect Mac stadium one of the
00:55:30 ◼ ► biggest purchases of biggest customers. Yep. And that maybe if they were talking to them,
00:55:35 ◼ ► maybe Mac stadium would have said it would be really, really useful for us. If you didn't
00:55:39 ◼ ► change the size of this thing. Yeah. I think that that is part of it. I also think, I think that
00:55:44 ◼ ► would have been a piece of data that they took. Yeah. I don't think it's a reason, but I reckon
00:55:49 ◼ ► it was a reason, but, but you put that on the list and then you say, what do we need to do? Like,
00:55:54 ◼ ► cause obviously they were reluctant to update this product because they didn't for very, very,
00:55:58 ◼ ► very, very many years. Right. They didn't update it at all. And it's got the same enclosure that
00:56:03 ◼ ► it's had for a decade, basically too. So, um, I think they looked at it and it's like, well,
00:56:10 ◼ ► geez, if we don't have to change the outside and there are people saying, please don't change the
00:56:14 ◼ ► outside. Why don't we just not change the outside? Like we already, I mean, literally we have the
00:56:19 ◼ ► molds, we know the shape. Why, why put work into that part of this thing when we're trying to
00:56:26 ◼ ► minimize the amount of work we do. So we sure we'll do a different anodization on it. We'll
00:56:31 ◼ ► change its color, but like it is a lot less work if you don't have to change the enclosure. And so
00:56:37 ◼ ► they didn't like, I think, right. Like, like people will be happy if you don't change the enclosure
00:56:43 ◼ ► and it saves us time. So let's do that. Yeah. And money one time is money, but yeah, I mean,
00:56:49 ◼ ► somebody, so if they, if they made it slightly different, like now they have to do all sorts
00:56:53 ◼ ► of materials testing, like here, they just, it's the same. It's literally the same. I put them,
00:56:58 ◼ ► I put them in a stack. They are exactly the same in terms of the footprint. They're exactly the
00:57:04 ◼ ► same. The Mac mini is a low key machine, but this is a great update. That's going to serve a lot of
00:57:09 ◼ ► people very well. And I applaud Apple for doing it. Finally. This is exactly what Apple should
00:57:14 ◼ ► have done with the Mac mini. And I know there are people out there who are mad because it's, it,
00:57:18 ◼ ► they viewed it as being the low cost entryway into the Mac. And at a time when Apple is raising
00:57:23 ◼ ► prices in a lot of different areas, this is another frustration, but, um, I think the 799
00:57:29 ◼ ► Mac mini is a very capable machine. And I think we don't live in the era of Apple trying to get
00:57:36 ◼ ► desktop switchers in at a low price. I think, uh, we, that was a very different era and today's era.
00:57:43 ◼ ► First off, most people use laptops and not desktops and Apple designed this mini for what it feels is
00:57:49 ◼ ► essentially the market. The mini was already selling into and making it better for that market.
00:57:54 ◼ ► And that market is not families with a PC on a desk that they're unplugging and putting in a 499
00:58:01 ◼ ► model. That's not that that's what it was. And it went when Steve jobs introduced the Mac mini
00:58:07 ◼ ► at the beginning, but it's not, which was before the Intel transition. It was a long time ago now,
00:58:12 ◼ ► but that's not what it is now. So I think it's a pretty good value for what it is. And, uh, that
00:58:16 ◼ ► flexibility is huge for anybody who relies on a Mac mini to do, uh, some aspect of what they do for
00:58:22 ◼ ► a living, which is a lot of people. You mentioned about the, uh, the, the raising prices. Um,
00:58:29 ◼ ► I want to talk about a little bit about why that might be happening. And this is a segue into Apple
00:58:37 ◼ ► results. So we just had some quarterly results come out. Um, let me give you the real quick
00:58:42 ◼ ► headlines and we'll talk about the one big interesting thing that happened, uh, this time.
00:58:46 ◼ ► So headline numbers, $62.9 billion in revenue for this is the, uh, this is the fourth quarter,
00:58:54 ◼ ► right? This is fourth quarter revenue or is it? Yeah, it's the end. It's the end of their fiscal
00:58:57 ◼ ► year. It's the last fiscal quarter of 2018. So $62.9 billion in revenue up from 52.6 billion year
00:59:05 ◼ ► on year, 46.9 million iPhone sold, which is up from 46.7 million. So not a lot more iPhones at
00:59:14 ◼ ► all, really. It's effectively flat, effectively flat, but way up in revenue, but 20 plus percent
00:59:20 ◼ ► up in revenue. Yep. Which we would have expected. And again, we'll get to that 9.7 million iPad
00:59:26 ◼ ► sold down from 10.3 million. It makes perfect sense considering there were new iPads on the way.
00:59:30 ◼ ► I don't think it's funny that the iPads went down for the first time in like six quarters and I
00:59:36 ◼ ► don't care because I know what's happening. Yep. You know, it's perfectly timed 5.3 million max
00:59:43 ◼ ► sold down from 5.4 million. Same deal as the iPads. Everyone knew to a new max on the way.
00:59:48 ◼ ► Yeah. And it's basically flat and services revenue is $9.9, $8 billion up from $8.5 billion.
00:59:55 ◼ ► And the guidance for the next revenue, so for Q1 revenue, the holiday quarter is between $89 and
01:00:09 ◼ ► before they hit a hundred, right? Yeah. And this is the, um, this is holiday quarters, always their
01:00:15 ◼ ► big quarter. Um, this is, uh, this will be their guidance as a record. The stock fell initially
01:00:23 ◼ ► because the Wall Street was hoping to see 92, I think as guidance and they gave this range that's
01:00:28 ◼ ► up to 93. So there's some part of their range that doesn't hit the guidance. And of course,
01:00:32 ◼ ► Wall Street's all about expectations. But, um, what Apple's saying here is yes, next quarter will be
01:00:42 ◼ ► But the big thing that happened is changes to future reporting. So from now on, so from,
01:00:51 ◼ ► from Q1 onwards, we will no longer get sales numbers of products, just revenue numbers.
01:00:59 ◼ ► So Luca Maestri kind of gave the main reason for this, which is from Apple's perspective,
01:01:05 ◼ ► that the reporting of 90 day unit sales no longer presents an accurate picture of Apple's performance.
01:01:10 ◼ ► It is worth noting just for the record that Google and Samsung, they report in this way. Apple was
01:01:17 ◼ ► kind of the only big company as phone manufacturer that reported unit sales instead of just revenue.
01:01:24 ◼ ► Why have they done this? So I want to give a quote from Shannon Cross, who works for Cross Research.
01:01:31 ◼ ► I found this in a Bloomberg article, which kind of, I think, gives the most synced reason for
01:01:36 ◼ ► why they've done this. Apple is trying to shift the discussion to services and recurring revenue,
01:01:41 ◼ ► because the more recurring revenue, the higher your valuation becomes. It is as simple as that.
01:01:46 ◼ ► Unit sales no longer are good for Apple. And the reason unit sales are no longer good for Apple
01:01:51 ◼ ► is Apple are not selling as many more iPhones as they used to. Yeah, the sales, sales are flat or
01:01:59 ◼ ► just slightly up. And what happens is when, when people see that, their stock falls. And they're
01:02:04 ◼ ► oh no, Apple is doomed. Well, so this is, this is the thing. So there's a bunch of things going on
01:02:08 ◼ ► here. Shannon Cross is great. She is on the call every time she always asks a question. So she's,
01:02:14 ◼ ► she, she is in the, this is Tim club. So this is partly because Apple is not required legally to
01:02:27 ◼ ► do it, right? Like it's kind of funny that Apple discloses what they do, because there are legal
01:02:31 ◼ ► restrictions on a public company where there are things you have to, you have to break out in your
01:02:36 ◼ ► results. But this was good for them when it was good for them, which is why they did it, right?
01:02:42 ◼ ► Like they continue talking about unit sales for as long as they did, probably because it was a good
01:02:46 ◼ ► thing to keep talking about unit sales. Probably there was, and there was a legacy there because
01:02:51 ◼ ► they always did it. They used to break out desktop and laptop Macs too. And they pulled that out
01:02:55 ◼ ► at one point and just went back to a main, a main number. But they don't have to do this and it
01:03:01 ◼ ► doesn't benefit them. And I think if Apple had its druthers, it would, it would, you know, disclose
01:03:05 ◼ ► as little as possible. It's kind of amazing. They went as long as they did, but you're right. There
01:03:09 ◼ ► was not a really real reason. And, and what both Tim and Luca Maestri said on the call is that
01:03:16 ◼ ► they're, the fact is their disclosures are meant for investors and investors, as far as they're
01:03:25 ◼ ► concerned, should only be caring about revenue growth and sweating the sales numbers in a product
01:03:31 ◼ ► roll-up category is not worth it. If you're looking at Apple, they say, what you really
01:03:36 ◼ ► need to do is look at our revenue. And if our iPhone revenue goes up, it doesn't matter what
01:03:40 ◼ ► the sales composition was. He also said, which I thought was a really funny one that he said,
01:03:45 ◼ ► you know, for example, our, our brand new units, our brand new stuff did really well this quarter.
01:03:50 ◼ ► But you, you have, you don't see that because we only give you the total number. To which I
01:03:58 ◼ ► thought, well, you could break it out. But you do that. You make that happen. This isn't a natural
01:04:04 ◼ ► thing that occurs in the world. Like you have the data. So, yeah, so, so that, that I thought
01:04:09 ◼ ► that was really funny, like, well, you know, it's, it's not a great number and we're not going to
01:04:13 ◼ ► supply you with a better number. And so we're just going to give you no number. And so we'll,
01:04:17 ◼ ► we're going to be left with, as with other phone makers and other computer makers, we're going to
01:04:23 ◼ ► be left with IDC and other places guessing about numbers and we'll see how accurate or not accurate
01:04:29 ◼ ► they are and tidbits that get dropped in various Apple events and other appearances by Apple execs,
01:04:35 ◼ ► where they'll mention that they hit some sort of milestone. They will only talk about this now when
01:04:39 ◼ ► there is a benefit to them to do when it serves them. Exactly. Right. Exactly. Right. So if they
01:04:43 ◼ ► have great sales, they'll say much like with the Apple watch up to this point, right. They'll say,
01:04:46 ◼ ► this was really great. We, we had big Apple watch growth 20% year over year, 50% year over year,
01:04:51 ◼ ► whatever. They'll say that. And then the next quarter, they won't mention it. Like they didn't
01:04:54 ◼ ► mention the Apple watch sales at all this time. And there, there had been several quarters in a
01:05:00 ◼ ► row where they had mentioned Apple watch sales and they just did, they didn't even mention it. And
01:05:04 ◼ ► that's probably because the beginning of the quarter, they, it hadn't come out yet and the
01:05:08 ◼ ► sales had stopped. And then they sold them toward the end of the quarter when the new ones came out.
01:05:12 ◼ ► But regardless of it, that like they, they, they didn't characterize it at all. And when they don't,
01:05:16 ◼ ► you just don't get the data point. So that's, that's what they've done. They've changed here
01:05:20 ◼ ► because the fact is the smartphone market is maturing and Apple is cranking up prices. That's
01:05:27 ◼ ► one thing that's happening. They're increasing the services revenue. They're definitely focused on
01:05:34 ◼ ► showing revenue growth because that's what the investors want. That's what the stock market is
01:05:38 ◼ ► want. It's, it's looking for growth and it is looking for revenue growth. And so Apple is going
01:05:44 ◼ ► to show its revenue growth and it's not going to talk about unit sales anymore. And if that, if,
01:05:51 ◼ ► if you want to view that in the context of the fact that every single product that they release
01:06:01 ◼ ► This is why, like, uh, I know this is a very hot button topic right now. Like if you mentioned
01:06:07 ◼ ► anything currently about any of the new products about why you like them, people want your opinion
01:06:12 ◼ ► on why it's more expensive. The fact, the reason it's more expensive, I mean, Apple are doing more,
01:06:17 ◼ ► they're putting more in this stuff. They're trying their best to show some reasons why things are
01:06:22 ◼ ► more expensive. But the reason more things are more expensive is because Apple needs to grow
01:06:26 ◼ ► their revenue now. And if you don't like that, and I understand why you wouldn't like that. I mean,
01:06:31 ◼ ► nobody loves it, but like if you have a real problem with it, like I hate to say it, but you're
01:06:35 ◼ ► going to have to get used to it because this is going to keep happening now because Apple's growth
01:06:41 ◼ ► now is money. They need to make more money, believe it or not, even though they make so much money,
01:06:47 ◼ ► they have to continue because they are bound by their investors to do so to make their stock price
01:06:55 ◼ ► go up. And the way they make their stock price go up now is by showing more and more increases
01:06:59 ◼ ► in revenues. Why products are more expensive. It's why the iPad line has all these expensive
01:07:04 ◼ ► accessories. It's why there's stainless steel on the iPhones. They need to make products more
01:07:12 ◼ ► expensive. They try and justify it by making them look and feel more expensive. And it's all just to
01:07:18 ◼ ► drive the revenue numbers and they're going to keep doing this. And there's a thought that when
01:07:22 ◼ ► the sales are flat, that means that the buying cycle has lengthened out. And we've talked about
01:07:28 ◼ ► that here before that if you're buying an iPhone every two years, you can charge X. But if
01:07:34 ◼ ► suddenly people are buying it every three years, well, what you can do is charge X and a half
01:07:40 ◼ ► and make it a nicer phone that will last those three years. But also you'll still get your money
01:07:47 ◼ ► over the course of those three years. It's just a larger price paid less often. And that's a
01:07:52 ◼ ► game that they're playing now. I also want to say, I don't, I mean, there's, we'll talk more
01:07:58 ◼ ► about this in another show, undoubtedly, this is going to keep happening. But I don't believe that
01:08:03 ◼ ► Apple has completely abandoned lower price points. One of the things that they do is they still like
01:08:09 ◼ ► the iPhone 8 is still available and is a really good phone and is cheaper than it's than it's ever
01:08:14 ◼ ► been. They will continue to do that. But what we are seeing is Apple saying, if you want the latest
01:08:21 ◼ ► and greatest, you're going to pay for it. That's what they're saying. And I know that that bothers
01:08:26 ◼ ► people because there are, I've seen it in, in talk about lots of Apple products where, where people
01:08:34 ◼ ► are bothered by the fact that this event, especially this most recent event, because everything got
01:08:38 ◼ ► more expensive, you know, we've had stuff where like, okay, the phone's more expensive, but there's
01:08:42 ◼ ► still other phones like, okay, fine, whatever. Like we'll go. But this event, it was like,
01:08:46 ◼ ► here's a bunch of new products. They all cost significantly more than they did before. And
01:08:57 ◼ ► which is we all want great stuff for as low a price as possible. Right. And I want the best
01:09:05 ◼ ► thing ever for nothing, for no money, but that's not the way the world works. And, and it is beyond
01:09:11 ◼ ► the scope of this podcast to discuss capitalism. Sorry, people who would like this to be the
01:09:17 ◼ ► capitalism podcast and I've heard from them, it ain't going to happen. But, but what I will say is
01:09:24 ◼ ► I would point to, yes, the iPhones where they're selling older models, but I would point to the
01:09:28 ◼ ► iPad as like, I would love for Apple to in the end, reach a place where something like what
01:09:34 ◼ ► they're doing with the iPad happens to the other products, which is a stronger differentiation
01:09:39 ◼ ► between pro and consumer, because the fact is that iPad for $350, it is great. It is a really
01:09:47 ◼ ► good product. It's got Apple pencil one support it, right. It is a 9.7 inch screen. It's a good
01:09:56 ◼ ► product and it's $350. And the existence of the iPad allows the iPad pro to cost more money
01:10:02 ◼ ► because those iPad pros, although they're way more expensive than they used to be. And I saw
01:10:06 ◼ ► somebody the other day say, well, I was hoping to get the new iPad pro at the same price,
01:10:10 ◼ ► but now it's $150 more. And that's, that's a bummer. I'm like, I get that at the same time,
01:10:22 ◼ ► why don't we make these more expensive and put more stuff into them? I really believe that that
01:10:29 ◼ ► was the charter here was Apple saying, let's go all the way to the wall with the hardware.
01:10:34 ◼ ► Let's make these laptop class products probably because that's the direction they want to take
01:10:39 ◼ ► the iPad pro over the longterm and with the software and all of that. And viewed as laptops,
01:10:46 ◼ ► they're not unreasonable. Right. But I think that was their intent was why don't we design a more
01:10:51 ◼ ► expensive product? Not why don't we take our same old design and raise the price on it. And I know
01:10:56 ◼ ► that's a little, in the end, it doesn't matter if you are just disappointed in the price, but
01:11:00 ◼ ► I do think it's a difference in what Apple's doing and they can do that more because they've got the
01:11:04 ◼ ► iPad. My frustration with them is that the MacBook that we talked about earlier in this episode is
01:11:10 ◼ ► $1,199 because if there was a good solid fine for most uses retina MacBook at $999 and then
01:11:19 ◼ ► everything else, all the other versions you wanted and you want to get more pro like even with the
01:11:23 ◼ ► one processor. Right. So you said, well, it's $999. So you need to spend $300 more to get the
01:11:28 ◼ ► MacBook escape, but that's a pro system. And this is not like that is for me. That's the ideal kind
01:11:34 ◼ ► of setup where they've got a really good general purpose thing that costs a reasonable price. It's
01:11:40 ◼ ► not ever going to be the low price leader because that's not Apple, but a reasonable price. And the
01:11:44 ◼ ► fact is on the iPhone front, they do it with old models and on the Mac front, they haven't gotten
01:11:49 ◼ ► there. And but the iPad on the iPad front they have. And I hope that that's the model in the end
01:11:56 ◼ ► because they do need to make Apple products available for people who can't afford the pro
01:12:02 ◼ ► products to still have Apple products and get into the funnel where they start spending money
01:12:08 ◼ ► on services and all of those things. They can't just turn their back on people who are outside
01:12:13 ◼ ► the Apple ecosystem and not let them in. And for more on this, you can tune into my new podcast
01:12:19 ◼ ► about capitalism. Nope, which does not exist. Today's show is brought to you by our friends at
01:12:26 ◼ ► Luna Display. Luna Display is the only hardware solution that turns your iPad into a wireless
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01:12:53 ◼ ► just the port with this lovely little red end on the end of it so you can pull it in and out again.
01:12:57 ◼ ► And it's incredible that such wonderful technology is housed in such a small little dongle. If you
01:13:04 ◼ ► don't have access to a Wi-Fi connection, you can also connect via USB. Super simple. Luna Display
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01:13:19 ◼ ► as well as there being a second screen for that Macintosh. If you think about the fact that there's
01:13:24 ◼ ► always new hardware coming, new iPads, new Macs, what a beautiful way to connect them together to
01:13:29 ◼ ► Luna Display and you can be even more productive than ever before. I was honestly astounded at how
01:13:33 ◼ ► simple it was. You just download the app on your Mac, you download the app on your iPad, you plug
01:13:38 ◼ ► in the Luna Display into your Mac. Done. It was fascinating. Absolutely wonderful. Really easy to
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01:14:07 ◼ ► Our thanks to Luna Display for their support of this show and Relay FM. iPhone XR. Now this one,
01:14:26 ◼ ► Yeah, sure. Let's talk about it really quickly. Let's start with the price because this is the
01:14:33 ◼ ► big headline everywhere is cheapest iPhone, budget iPhone, right? It's not cheap. No, it's priced
01:14:40 ◼ ► like the old Plus phones were priced when they were the, you know, which was the step up the
01:14:45 ◼ ► more expensive iPhone. This less expensive iPhone two years ago was the most expensive iPhone.
01:14:50 ◼ ► That is wild. Is it budget? No, it's not budget. Is it worth it? I think yes. And I don't think I
01:14:59 ◼ ► told you this. I have one. Did I tell you this? When I was in Canada, I bought a XR and I bought
01:15:07 ◼ ► it for two reasons. One, I really wanted to try it because I'm fascinated by it. And two, I'm going
01:15:14 ◼ ► to give it to a family member for Christmas. So I got the coral too because I, like you, believe
01:15:21 ◼ ► that it is the ultimate color. I'm a little bit in love with this phone. It's really good. Because
01:15:29 ◼ ► every time I use it, I forget about all of its downsides, except a couple, which I'll get to.
01:15:35 ◼ ► And I kind of feel like I really love the way this thing looks and I kind of wish I could use it as my
01:15:42 ◼ ► phone every day. Because here are the things about it, right? And I know you agree. The bezels are
01:15:48 ◼ ► bigger and it is thicker, but you lose kind of sense of that very quickly. Like it is heavier,
01:16:02 ◼ ► Oh yeah, no, it's a, you forget very quickly. And it does, you know, it's in sort of in between the
01:16:08 ◼ ► XS and the XS Max. It's a big phone. Having used the X for a while, I'm so adapted to having a
01:16:13 ◼ ► slightly larger phone that it's less of a jump to the XR than it used to be. I, you know, I still
01:16:19 ◼ ► prefer the X size, but the XR size is nice. And it is, again, is $749 a budget price? It is not.
01:16:31 ◼ ► However, I will say if you max this thing out, it's still $100 cheaper than the base model XS.
01:16:38 ◼ ► Like, so, so my conversation is with people who are thinking about buying one of these for the
01:16:45 ◼ ► holidays is very much sort of like, um, start with a XR, like go to the store and hold the XR
01:16:52 ◼ ► in your hand and see if you like it because it is not necessarily cheap, but is it the best
01:17:00 ◼ ► deal? Is it the best value of the three new iPhones? And undeniably yes is the answer there.
01:17:09 ◼ ► It is really good. It is a really good phone. It is not. Remember a year ago when we were,
01:17:15 ◼ ► there were these rumors about like the cheap LCD, um, iPhone 10 knockoff thing. It is not that
01:17:22 ◼ ► phone. It is, it is. This is not a cheap plastic iPhone 10 knockoff. This is a really nice phone
01:17:33 ◼ ► that would have, this would have melted people's brains if this had been the iPhone 10 last year.
01:17:38 ◼ ► Yeah. I, this is the iPhone nine, right? Like it really is because this is the iPhone nine.
01:17:51 ◼ ► the screen is the only thing that is holding this back if you would call it that, right?
01:18:01 ◼ ► and it was removed 3d touch, right? Which they obviously couldn't get to work with the liquid
01:18:05 ◼ ► retina display for whatever reason. Yeah. There's a lot of work that goes into getting it as close
01:18:09 ◼ ► to the edge as possible because that close to the edge look with the curved edges, that's an
01:18:13 ◼ ► OLED thing. They did it on the 10 because OLED can be done that way. And then they're like, well,
01:18:18 ◼ ► could we do it with an LCD screen? And the answer is yeah, but it's, it's complicated, right? And
01:18:24 ◼ ► one of the things they seem to have given up is the 3d touch because of the added complexity of
01:18:28 ◼ ► getting that as close to the edge as possible with the curved edges and the cutout and all of that
01:18:32 ◼ ► stuff, which is harder to do on an LCD screen than an OLED. And I would say that, I mean, really,
01:18:39 ◼ ► is it, can I see a huge difference between this LCD and the OLED? I will tell you honestly, no.
01:18:47 ◼ ► I'm using apps that have the true black, right? So I use tweetbot in true black. And I will tell
01:18:52 ◼ ► you right now, it is very, very hard. I have to be really, really looking to find a difference.
01:18:59 ◼ ► I mean, you can see if once you know what you're looking for, when you're looking for that shimmer
01:19:04 ◼ ► of a LED backlight on a black background, you can see it. But I would say you have to be educated
01:19:14 ◼ ► enough to look for it and you have to be paying attention. It's a great screen. I didn't, I had
01:19:20 ◼ ► no point and it's a lower resolution screen than the, than the plus was even because remember the
01:19:24 ◼ ► plus was at like a 3x scale and then it was scaled down in hardware because it didn't have that many
01:19:29 ◼ ► pixels. This one is a 2x screen exactly, which I would argue actually makes it a better screen
01:19:35 ◼ ► because it's not scaling. It's, it's native at 2x. I would also argue that since it's an RGB screen
01:19:41 ◼ ► because it's LCD, it is arguably as good a screen as the OLED because the OLED has the pen tile
01:19:48 ◼ ► pixels, which are different. I mean, and you get into a lot of details about how displays are
01:19:54 ◼ ► created, but what I'm saying in the end is this is a really good screen and you're not going to pick
01:19:59 ◼ ► it up and go, "Oh, this is crap." Like it's not going to happen. It is the best. And in fact,
01:20:03 ◼ ► again, if it was released last year and there was no iPhone 10, this was the iPhone 9, it would have
01:20:08 ◼ ► melted people's brains because it would, it is better than any iPhone screen made other than the
01:20:16 ◼ ► 10s. And you can see it, like it really is. It's wonderful. Like it is wonderful. The fact that it
01:20:22 ◼ ► can sometimes make me forget that it's not an OLED shows how good of an LCD screen this is.
01:20:28 ◼ ► And it really is. And I'm super excited for the iPad screen, right? Like, because I wonder how
01:20:33 ◼ ► great that's going to look too. I know that the liquid retina isn't necessarily screen technology,
01:20:37 ◼ ► but the, I think the iPad screen is probably better. Well, it is better, right? So like,
01:20:42 ◼ ► I'm super excited for that. So we all know, right? It has most of the same technology as the 10s,
01:20:48 ◼ ► right? The A12 face ID, the primary camera is the same, has smart HDR, wireless charging,
01:20:53 ◼ ► all that sort of stuff. We know that the screen is different. The other things that are different,
01:20:57 ◼ ► we know that it doesn't have a telephoto lens. So I will say I would miss it. I use the 2X lens a
01:21:03 ◼ ► lot. Do you? I do too. Yeah. So I will miss that. Um, it does software portrait mode only on the
01:21:09 ◼ ► main camera. It's mostly fine. Um, it actually has some, some benefits, right? It has better
01:21:19 ◼ ► environment in portrait mode because it doesn't have to use the 2X camera. But honestly, I think
01:21:24 ◼ ► I may be, I may be pretty alone in this. I don't think that there are many people like me, but I
01:21:30 ◼ ► would tell you right now, one of the main reasons I could not use this phone is the lack of 3D touch.
01:21:35 ◼ ► I use 3D touch a lot, Jason, and I miss it a lot. And you miss it because the only things I use 3D
01:21:41 ◼ ► touch for, they put the haptic touch stuff in for. So it's like, I only really use 3D touch for
01:21:46 ◼ ► things like, um, turning on the flashlight from the lock screen and the camera from the lock screen.
01:21:51 ◼ ► And those all work with haptic touch. So you're doing things on your iPhone normally using 3D
01:21:56 ◼ ► touch that are not mimicked by haptic touch. Yep. So no notification previews. I use previewing
01:22:02 ◼ ► the notifications with 3D touch that doesn't exist here. You have to do a swiping and then,
01:22:11 ◼ ► peak and pop a lot on messages on tweets to see threads. Like I use it all the time. And even the,
01:22:17 ◼ ► the, you know, like the, the long press on the space bar for the text cursor, whilst it exists,
01:22:21 ◼ ► it doesn't work as reliably for me and it doesn't feel right. You know, like I'm used to pressing
01:22:28 ◼ ► into a screen of feeling something. And on this phone, a lot of the time I'm reminded that I'm
01:22:33 ◼ ► just pressing into glass that doesn't move. And that is a, it's a big frustration for me. And,
01:22:37 ◼ ► and I believe honestly, that you should know if this would bother you, you shouldn't not get this
01:22:44 ◼ ► phone just because it doesn't have it. I am somebody who uses 3D touch a lot every single day
01:22:50 ◼ ► when I'm using my iPhone. So, you know, cause it's funny because the iPad has a lot of these
01:22:56 ◼ ► features. So like the notification previews, the iPad does this and I can't understand why Apple
01:23:02 ◼ ► did not put that on the XR as well. Um, I find that very peculiar. Like if you long press a
01:23:07 ◼ ► notification on the iPad, you get a preview for it. You don't on the XR. And I find that weird.
01:23:11 ◼ ► Eric Meyer My understanding is that there's some sort of like what they were able to do
01:23:16 ◼ ► that isn't, um, that there isn't already a long press for, but there are also some missing pieces
01:23:22 ◼ ► where I wonder if some of that will get added later. I, my gut feeling is that, um, they're
01:23:28 ◼ ► trying to unify, um, the idea of non 3D touch devices having haptic touch. I'm a little surprised
01:23:37 ◼ ► honestly, that it isn't on the iPad pro because why not? Like just, just every other device can
01:23:47 ◼ ► David Tingman Maybe they didn't want to regress yet because as I say, right, there are things
01:23:51 ◼ ► that the iPad does that the XR doesn't. Maybe they'll wait until they can make a phone screen
01:23:56 ◼ ► that can do it all or their software does it all. And then they'll maybe we'll just brand it as
01:24:00 ◼ ► haptic touch everywhere. Maybe that's why, I guess we'll see. So the big question right now is who is
01:24:08 ◼ ► this phone for? And I really believe that unless you have a super compelling reason to go for a
01:24:15 ◼ ► XS, this is the phone you should get. It looks great. It comes in wonderful colors. This is a
01:24:21 ◼ ► really cool phone. Like the XS stuff, it's like, oh, it's real luxury. These are really cool. I
01:24:28 ◼ ► think. Yeah, I think this is a, uh, like the MacBook Air, I would say this is a place to start.
01:24:37 ◼ ► And if it's too big, then you say, well, okay, you can go get the 8 or you can get the XS.
01:24:49 ◼ ► Or if you feel like for whatever reason you want luxury or you want the biggest screen,
01:24:55 ◼ ► Or you prefer the look of those and all that. But, but yes, I agree. This is, this does not feel,
01:24:59 ◼ ► it's funny. And again, the Air is kind of like this too. This does not feel like a compromise.
01:25:05 ◼ ► This is, this is why one of the reasons why, um, Apple's products are not cheaper than they are.
01:25:17 ◼ ► which is this does not, this XS and the Air is like this too. This is not a cheap product. This
01:25:23 ◼ ► does not like going back to that rumor. This is not the cheap phone. This is a really, really good,
01:25:30 ◼ ► I would say premium quality phone that happens to be way cheaper than the other phones that Apple's
01:25:37 ◼ ► making that are, that are, uh, the, in the thousand dollar and up range. And that's why I keep saying
01:25:44 ◼ ► my standard line for the XR is go to an Apple store and hold it in your hand. You'll, you'll
01:25:48 ◼ ► understand the size. You'll understand the weight. You'll, you'll, um, you'll know if it is
01:25:53 ◼ ► comfortable in your hand. You get to see those colors in person. You need to see the colors in
01:25:57 ◼ ► person to decide what you want to do there. It's hard to choose about seeing them because
01:26:01 ◼ ► there's some weird mismatches. You got to see them. Yeah. Um, because the anodized aluminum
01:26:05 ◼ ► doesn't do the same thing that the glass back does. But, uh, I, I really recommend that if
01:26:11 ◼ ► people are thinking about getting a new iPhone, that they go to the Apple store and they spend
01:26:14 ◼ ► some time there because the 10 AR may not be for you, but I feel like the 10 R is a good,
01:26:25 ◼ ► you can get at 128 of a, of storage for a hundred dollars less than the 10 S is to start
01:26:32 ◼ ► with minimum storage. So like, if, if you're at all price sensitive, but you want a brand new phone,
01:26:40 ◼ ► you're going to use it for awhile, you know, try it, pick it up. And you may also go like,
01:26:44 ◼ ► Oh, some 49, this is nice, but I'd really rather get this other one. That's cheaper. That's,
01:26:48 ◼ ► that's good too. That's fine too. But, um, I think I feel like it's the starting point and,
01:26:54 ◼ ► um, I wasn't quite expecting that, but as much as I like the 10 S models, I think they're very nice.
01:26:59 ◼ ► The 10 R is really good and it's way, way, way cheaper than they are. And, um, so it's got the
01:27:07 ◼ ► value. It's got the best value for sure. Bringing all those, not all, but almost all of those 10
01:27:12 ◼ ► features down to a lot less than a 10 phone, $250 less. All right. Let's round out this action
01:27:19 ◼ ► packed episode of some hashtag ask upgrade questions before we do, let's thank Squarespace
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01:28:44 ◼ ► this show. Squarespace, make your next move, make your next website. Our first #AskUpgrade
01:28:50 ◼ ► question comes from Tim and Tim wants to know, Jason, with the release of the new Mac Minis,
01:28:56 ◼ ► which desktop Mac would you recommend to a MacBook Pro owner who doesn't already have a monitor,
01:29:07 ◼ ► - You should get an iMac, right? If you're coming from the MacBook Pro and you would need to buy a
01:29:12 ◼ ► monitor anyway, you've got to get an iMac. I mean, it's difficult because the iMacs should have an
01:29:18 ◼ ► update, but I will say as an owner and daily user of a 2015, late 2015, Retina 5K 27-inch iMac,
01:29:28 ◼ ► this thing is more than powerful enough currently. - Yeah, I would do that rather than, I mean,
01:29:33 ◼ ► because the idea is what desktop Mac. You could get an external monitor and a Mac Mini and then
01:29:38 ◼ ► plug the MacBook Pro into it when you wanted to do that. But I think I'm assuming that since you
01:29:42 ◼ ► want a desktop Mac, you want a desktop Mac. So don't worry about an external monitor or
01:29:46 ◼ ► anything like that. Get an iMac. The iMacs are powerful. You can choose your power that you want.
01:29:52 ◼ ► You can get the 4K, you can get the 5K, you can get the iMac Pro if you really want to, but
01:29:56 ◼ ► that's the best value. That's the best value in buying a desktop Mac because you get the computer
01:30:05 ◼ ► and the monitor all in one. Whereas the Mac Mini is not as good a value. It gives you flexibility.
01:30:14 ◼ ► the Retina Apple displays on the iMacs are fantastic. They are very, very high quality.
01:30:20 ◼ ► So that's the best monitor you're going to get. And it comes with a computer that's really fast.
01:30:36 ◼ ► keyboard for the new iPad Pros?" Not soon enough is my answer. Not soon enough. I'm interested to
01:30:43 ◼ ► see what they're going to do with this, assuming that Bridge tries to make one, because I think
01:30:47 ◼ ► there is still a hole in this market, as Federico talked about on Connected last week, a hole in the
01:30:52 ◼ ► market for a laptop keyboard instead of what Apple is doing, which is still a little bit,
01:31:00 ◼ ► you know, it's not this, it's still a smart keyboard and it's not quite the same as having
01:31:05 ◼ ► that laptop with the infinite adjustability. I imagine that the first thing that the Bridge
01:31:12 ◼ ► people are going to do on November 7th is get one of these and look at the magnets and see how
01:31:17 ◼ ► strong the magnetic hold is, because one thought I had is they could make a shell with magnets,
01:31:33 ◼ ► and the question is how strong would that hold be? Could that be enough to hold the iPad to the
01:31:38 ◼ ► Bridge keyboard? The problem with the Bridge is it's currently constructed, they've got those clips,
01:31:47 ◼ ► so the other way they could redesign it is by creating something that is very narrow and that
01:31:51 ◼ ► maybe clings to the sides a little bit, but I think it would be hard for them to do that,
01:31:56 ◼ ► so, but I hope they are on it on Wednesday and are immediately, you know, going to figure out
01:32:02 ◼ ► how they could build something, because I think there's still a market for something that turns
01:32:15 ◼ ► Mickey wants to know, with the 12.9 inch iPad getting a smaller size instead of a bigger screen,
01:32:21 ◼ ► what do you guys think is the upper limit of screen size for an iOS device? Do you think
01:32:25 ◼ ► it will always be 12.9 or is it someday going to get bigger? On an infinite time scale?
01:32:44 ◼ ► does this need to be on a table, does this need to be on a desk? It's not something you're
01:32:47 ◼ ► necessarily putting in your bag at that point. Although, you know, they make the bezel smaller,
01:32:54 ◼ ► you could argue that the other thing they could do is make a bigger one like the size of the old
01:32:58 ◼ ► 12.9. They chose to go the other direction, but I had this wild theory, which I don't think is
01:33:03 ◼ ► accurate, but I'm going to just throw it out there, which is what if Apple made an external display
01:33:09 ◼ ► that was beautiful in retina for the Mac Mini and the Mac Pro, and what if one of the features of it
01:33:21 ◼ ► then Apple can make an external display and you just attach it by USB-C to the iPad Pro,
01:33:26 ◼ ► and then you've got an external iPad monitor with UI and multi-touch. Wouldn't that be great?
01:33:33 ◼ ► I don't think we're there. I don't think we're there, but it would not surprise me if the
01:33:37 ◼ ► in the end result is not a Surface Studio, but is a multi-touch display external to an iPad.
01:33:48 ◼ ► Also, I had another wacky thought, which I'll share now because this is Ask Upgrade and it's
01:33:53 ◼ ► the place for wackiness, which is what if you... You've been having a lot of thoughts recently.
01:34:00 ◼ ► I know I got a lot of thoughts, and I share them here on a podcast. I had a vision when I was
01:34:06 ◼ ► waking up from sleep and it was WWDC and they were announcing that they were going to do ARM Macs
01:34:12 ◼ ► and they were going to release them later in the year, but the developers could get access to the
01:34:21 ◼ ► Mac OS version for ARM today. And what they would do is... And you can install it on your iPad Pro.
01:34:29 ◼ ► And everybody's like, "Well, how would that work?" And it's like, what you do is you attach an
01:34:33 ◼ ► external monitor to it and then you lay the iPad Pro down and it turns into a keyboard and trackpad.
01:34:39 ◼ ► So the screen is the screen and then the iPad becomes like a virtual keyboard and trackpad.
01:34:46 ◼ ► And I thought that is a terrible idea and would be hilarious if that happened. I don't think any of
01:34:51 ◼ ► these things are going to happen. The weird thing is we live in a world where they could happen if
01:34:58 ◼ ► Peter wants to know how he could share a monitor, wireless keyboard and mouse between a new Mac Mini
01:35:03 ◼ ► and a MacBook Pro so they can toggle between them. Is there a software equivalent of the old KVM
01:35:07 ◼ ► switch? I have used a product many years ago, but to some success called Synergy, which is a product
01:35:14 ◼ ► that says it will do just this. I mean, I know it used to. I don't know how good it is today,
01:35:19 ◼ ► but this is something you install it on a couple of machines and you can use your mouse and keyboard
01:35:23 ◼ ► between them all. I don't know anything about KVM switches at all. I think they still make KVM
01:35:30 ◼ ► switches too, but I don't know anything about this. Sorry. I used that product a long time ago.
01:35:37 ◼ ► I cannot vouch for it in 2018, but in like 2012 it was brilliant. Gareth finally wants to know,
01:35:44 ◼ ► not finally as if like Gareth's been trying a lot, but like this is the last question today.
01:35:48 ◼ ► Do you think it's strange that Apple specifically called out the iPad Mini on stage despite
01:35:53 ◼ ► it not having an update since 2015? Do you think it's more likely that Apple will now update the
01:35:59 ◼ ► Mini or does it mean it's more likely it's going to die? I did think it was weird that they on more
01:36:04 ◼ ► than one occasion spoke about the iPad Mini last week. So the bummer about having Ming-Chi Kuo,
01:36:10 ◼ ► or as we like to call him on this show, Roger Kuo, our friend Roger, codename Roger, Ming-Chi Kuo,
01:36:16 ◼ ► like the week before the event said Apple is working in addition to AirPods and other stuff
01:36:23 ◼ ► that was not at this event. Apple is working on an update to the iPad Mini and everybody went,
01:36:28 ◼ ► "What?" But we live in a world where there's a new MacBook Air, so anything is possible,
01:36:33 ◼ ► and a new Mac Mini, anything is possible. The sad thing about that report is if he hadn't done that,
01:36:39 ◼ ► and suddenly the iPad Mini is mentioned in all the product line shots and they mentioned it on
01:36:43 ◼ ► stage a couple of times, we would all be like deep into the theories about like, what does it mean?
01:36:49 ◼ ► Does it mean it's coming back? I think maybe it means it's coming back. Why would they mention it
01:36:53 ◼ ► if they were just intending to have it disappear? All of which I think is accurate. I think
01:36:57 ◼ ► absolutely they mentioned it because it's not going away. I think it would have vanished from
01:37:09 ◼ ► Ming-Chi Kuo has already spoiled the fun by saying, yes, they are absolutely going to do an
01:37:13 ◼ ► iPad Mini and release it. And I would imagine it will be like the small counterpart to the existing
01:37:23 ◼ ► iPad and that it'll do like crayon and pencil support and stuff like that and be like down there
01:37:30 ◼ ► next to the iPad and the low end of the product line. So if you would like to send in a question
01:37:37 ◼ ► for us to answer on the show, you can send in a tweet with the hashtag #askupgrade. Remember,
01:37:44 ◼ ► products by then. Fingers crossed for delivery companies is all I'm going to say on the matter.
01:37:58 ◼ ► you can go to SixColors.com. That's where you can find all of Jason's reviews that we've been
01:38:02 ◼ ► talking about today, including more. I'm sure there's going to be even more wonderful stuff
01:38:06 ◼ ► over at SixColors.com. Jason is @JSnell on Twitter. I am @IMyke, I-M-Y-K-E on Twitter and Instagram.
01:38:14 ◼ ► You can find this show at Relay.fm/shows where you can find many more. Thanks again to Fresh
01:38:20 ◼ ► Books and Luna Display and Squarespace for their support of this show. And we'll be back next time.